The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission is considering the psychedelic ibogaine as a treatment for opioid addiction, National Public Radio affiliate WKU reports. The commission heard from more than a dozen people about their personal and professional experiences with the substance and its role in treating opioid addiction during its recent meeting.
Ibogaine has gained recognition recently for its potential to treat severe PTSD and opioid addiction while minimizing withdrawal symptoms. But it is still classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law and is not approved for distribution by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Joseph Peter Barsublia, a psychologist who runs a psychedelic treatment center in Mexico, told the panel that from what he has “repeatedly witnessed firsthand” the psychedelic “is a revolutionary and paradigm-changing treatment” but he warned that “it is by no means a cure-all or a panacea.”
In 2022, 2,135 people died from drug overdoses in Kentucky and while the state saw a decrease of about 5% in overdose deaths compared to 2021, the deaths remained higher than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since 2018, nearly 9,000 people have died from overdoses, according to state data.
The commission will decide in the next few months where to invest $42 million of Kentucky’s nearly $900 million in opioid lawsuit settlement funds. If the commission votes to allocate the money, Kentucky would become the first state to research ibogaine for its potential uses in opioid addiction recovery.
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