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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***
Heroin: if you try it once, you’ll get addicted. It will then instantly turn you into a junkie, a scourge on society, a criminal, a loser.
Of course, heroin can and does ruin lives as a consequence of addiction mixing with trauma in a market made dangerous by prohibition. Eventually, this adds up, and we get the horrors of opioid epidemics, such as with heroin in the 70s and diverse opioids in the modern day. But myths like the one above are intricately intermingled with the stigmas and stereotypes against heroin use that ongoingly perpetuate a culture of shame. And that shame, in and of itself, is a contributing factor to the adverse outcomes of heroin use.
One dose is not likely to get you addicted, nor does doing heroin result in the immediate destruction of your life. These claims are simply untrue. Many people from many walks of life can live decades with functional heroin habits, even providing them with some positive benefit to their lives!
That said, what is true is that when heroin addiction takes a turn towards the dark, it gets vicious. The spiral of suffering that can occur from that turn only worsens the urge to use, and the ability to get clean gets increasingly difficult as the use grows. The cycle deepens.
The physical withdrawal symptoms alone are devastating, but add that into the complex social and psychological context of heroin use in a culture of prohibition that criminalises drug users and jeopardises the quality of supply while underprioritizing investments into avenues for help and you get a perfect storm, a storm that has ended the lives of thousands of people.
Of course, this is just a general run down, and the nuances of what brings a person into the underworld of heroin addiction are as complex as what makes people who they are. Furthermore, not all stories are tragedies in the end. Some people make it out alive. People like today’s guest, Patrick Kroupa, who found their way back from the edge of the abyss.
Patrick Kroupa (also known as Lord Digital, born January 20, 1969) is an American writer, hacker and activist. Kroupa was a member of the legendary Legion of Doom and Cult of the Dead Cow hacker groups and co-founded MindVox in 1991, with Bruce Fancher. He was a heroin addict from age 14 to 30 and got clean through the use of the hallucinogenic drug ibogaine. [wiki]
For Kroupa, his way out of heroin addiction was with the chemical ibogaine, an active alkaloid present in the root bark of the highly-psychedelic tabernanthe iboga.
Kroupa joins us to talk about what it was like for him in the 90s, in New York City, as a part of the heroin culture. He also openly shares with us his journey from addiction to recovery through the use of ibogaine, as well as his role in bringing ibogaine treatment for heroin addiction to the worldwide scene.
There is something else, though, that is important to state about this episode, and this podcast in general.
Patrick is not coming onto Adventures Through The Mind to tell a horror story or perpetuate the fear-mongering and rampant ignorance that often surrounds the topic of heroin use. He shares his troubles while leaning into cautionary advice, but also shares what he learned and gained from heroin, “the left-hand path of tantra”. Adventures Through The Mind is #drugpostive (a term coined by Emanuel Sferios in his new podcast), which is to say its intent is to minimize risk but also enhance benefit and to, in general, destigmatize drug use as a whole, with an obvious bias towards psychedelics and psychedelic culture. Patrick is a great representative of this approach and it’s a pleasure to share this episode with you.
At about the 1 hour mark I describe the situation in Canada regarding iboga. I explain that Health Canada blocks importation with a special exception to some treatment providers. This is not the case. Iboga/ibogaine in Canada is a scheduled prescription drug unable to be prescribed until it goes through official medical trials. There is, perhaps, a possibility available through the Special Access Drug Program, but that has yet to trial successfully. *fingers crossed*
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- Pre+ Internet Computer hacking and phone phreaking in 1980s New York City
- Patrick’s first heroin dose at 14 years old
- The gradual path to addiction
- Heroin’s teaching about detachment
- The left-hand path of tantra
- When heroin was cool
- What took Patrick from controlled use to deep addiction to ibogaine
- What heroin detox feels like
- Why ibogaine?
- What an ibogaine detox feels like
- The genesis of microdosing ibogaine
- Risk profile of microdosing ibogaine
- What to do after using ibogaine for resolving addiction
- The origins of the modern opioid epidemic
- Any regrets?
- The medicalization of ibogaine
This is the ibogaine treatment centre where Patrick Kroupa is a consultant.
This is Patrick Kroupa’s home page. You will find his writing, videos, and art regarding not just ibogaine but also neruoshamanism, technology, and computer hacking.
This is an archived web forum that holds a huge part of the 1990s Ibogaine scene. An excellent resource for anyone interested in the foundations of ibogaine use for opioid dependence.