Public Release: 

Conference convenes on ibogaine, a controversial drug to treat heroin addiction

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

In November, the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine will host a conference on ibogaine, a controversial drug hailed by some researchers as a potentially powerful treatment for heroin addiction. The conference, to be held on November 5 and 6, will bring together leading ibogaine experts in the fields of neuroscience, ethnography and sociology.

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive compound that is used in central West Africa in Bwiti religious ceremonies. Over the last 30 years, there have been anecdotal reports of drug addicts who obtained relief from their addiction, without suffering withdrawal symptoms, by using ibogaine. Ibogaine is interesting because it appears to have a novel mechanism of action. This conference will explore ibogaine's possible mechanism of action and focus on the clinical, cultural and political issues concerning its use.

The conference was organized by Kenneth Alper MD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Alper has recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature on a series of ibogaine-treatment cases.

The conference program, a list of participants, and a review of the literature on ibogaine is available at: http://www.med.nyu.edu/Psych/ibogaineconf

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Reporters who wish to attend the conference should call: 212-263-6287.

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