Synopsis

 Howard & Norma, Credit Boaz Wachtel

Howard & Norma, Credit Boaz Wachtel

 

Millions of people around the world are currently struggling with drug addiction. A small minority have turned to a relatively unheard of medicine – ibogaine - and many of them have now successfully treated their condition. Given the global addiction pandemic, including the growing crisis of opioid addiction in both the US and elsewhere, now is the time to tell The Ibogaine Stories.

Our film examines the very personal and sometimes shocking experiences of those who have used and advocated for this central African plant extract and who share their stories of the power it holds. These testimonies provide the basis for our film, showing how this elusive and misunderstood treatment could transform how we view harm reduction, addiction and detox therapy.

We will explore the origins of this ancient plant medicine and its journey from the Bwiti tradition in the jungles of Gabon to the west, where it remains on the margins of clinical research and practice. From the initial research conducted by Harris Isbell at the Addiction Research Centre in Kentucky in the 1950's and the transfigurative experience of the young heroin addict Howard Lotsof, we will trace the development of ibogaine to the present day.

Combining archive footage and present day interviews, we will speak to some of the original ibogaine activists who describe how ibogaine helped them, and will see how they have tirelessly fought to see this treatment recognised. In a world of Big Pharma and powerful vested interests in the opioid-based status quo, The Ibogaine Stories seeks to challenge misconceptions about alternative therapy and recognise and validate the personal, lived experiences of those who have been liberated from their addiction.

We show the depth of faith and belief that has been generated by this treatment and how these brave men and women around the world are fighting to free others from substance abuse.

We will also explore the dark side of ibogaine – the unscrupulous treatment providers, dodgy clinics and ibogaine-related deaths which give weight to the argument that ibogaine is too “dirty” a drug to ever become mainstream. What would it take to prove mainstream medicine wrong and show that ibogaine is the most effective treatment to interrupt addiction?