Friday, May 23, 2008

Portlander establishes a new Mexican connection for ibogaine, a controverisal drug that some say can help addicts.

From comes a great human interest story about a man who opened an ibogaine treatment facility in Mexico as a result of his own experience with the drug:

Rocky Caravelli worked as a flooring contractor for 23 years installing hardwoods, linoleum and carpeting in Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area. But three years ago, he became something else: an evangelist. Not for God, but for ibogaine, an illegal substance that is finding popularity in Portland.

Ibogaine is used to treat drug addiction, and Caravelli has plenty of experience with that. For 15 years, he abused methamphetamines, heroin and even methadone.

After visiting four different rehab clinics and spending time in and out of Narcotics Anonymous, Caravelli went to Mexico to learn about ibogaine, an alkaloid from the root bark of the iboga plant, which grows in West Central Africa. In 2003, Caravelli visited a Mexican ibogaine clinic, where he could legally buy the drug. He spent $3,000 to take two doses in three days. On the third day, he awoke in Tijuana and realized his teeth had stopped hurting and that all he wanted to do was lie naked in the sun.

"It was like I was returned to my natural state overnight," says Caravelli, 42.

Since then, Caravelli says, he's been clean. He returned to Portland, sought out other drug addicts and preached to them the gospel of ibogaine.

For the complete story, click here.

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