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Ibogaine Treatment for Opioid Dependence in New Zealand

This presentation reports on outcomes from a 12-month, post-treatment observational study of opioid dependent subjects, who have received ibogaine therapy. Outcome measures include the Addictions Severity Index (ASI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II). The background to ibogaine treatment in New Zealand is discussed, including its initial use as an ‘underground’ therapy prior to the gazetting of ibogaine as a prescribable non-approved medicine in 2010. This latter event, unique in the world, has created the possibility of researching outcomes from legitimate treatments, of which the present research is the first. Although small in scale, the study’s subjects (n=14) appear to be responding favourably to treatment, with 50% being opioid-free at the time of writing. Outcome comparisons with a Mexican sister study and implications for future treatments, including treatment best practise, are discussed.

Bio:
Dr Geoff Noller has a background in social science and qualitative research. He commenced his PhD at Otago University’s Anthropology Department, Dunedin, Aotearoa / New Zealand, completing his thesis (Cannabis in New Zealand) with the Otago University Medical School’s Department of Psychological Medicine in 2007. Geoff is a self-employed consultant specialising in substance use research, contracting to universities, government and the private sector. He has undertaken ethnographic fieldwork in New Zealand, Australia and the Caribbean, presenting his work at international conferences and symposia (Australia, Europe and the Caribbean) and national fora. He is currently involved in several projects including: Principal Investigator in the Observational study of the long-term efficacy of ibogaine-assisted therapy in participants with opioid addiction; and Coordinating Investigator / Project Manager into the Prevalence of HIV, and Hepatitis B and C among New Zealand needle exchange attendees. Geoff has recently developed an interest in synthetic cannabinoids. In November 2013 he was engaged to produce a report on harms associated with these New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) for the New Zealand industry, on behalf of that sector’s representative body.

Projects under development include New Zealand’s first research examining the use of medicinal cannabis. Titled An Anthropological Study Observing the Impact of Medicinal Cannabis in Recipients That Have Been Assessed with Having a Medical Need, this project is in the planning stage and currently seeking funding. Geoff also works as an expert witness in court cases involving drug use, particularly cannabis. He lives in Dunedin, Aotearoa / New Zealand, with his two children.

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