I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie McAlpin at the Global Ibogaine Therapy Conference in 2016, and I was touched by her genuine passion for healing and helping. Not only is she a skilled medical professional, she also has incredible nutritional wisdom and spiritual awareness in relation to iboga & ibogaine, known in some circles as one of the world's most powerful psychedelic medicines for addiction recovery, psychotherapy, and spiritual healing.
Jamie McAlpin is co-founder of IbogaSafe, a medical training service for iboga & ibogaine medicine providers aimed at reducing the amount of adverse events during Ibogaine treatment through safety advocacy, empowering providers, and improving the client’s experience. Jamie graduated with honors in 2000 with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from East Carolina University, in North Carolina. Her specialties include Coronary Care Unit, Cardiovascular/Open Heart Intensive Care, Code Blue Team, Cardiac Catheterization Lab (adult/pediatric), and Electrophysiology Lab (adult/pediatric). In 2014, she began working with Iboga and researching Ibogaine safety and best practices. She also began volunteering with the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) to co-author the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification, which led her to deepen her research into the medical considerations and risks related to Iboga/Ibogaine. In 2015 she completed training to become an American Heart Association BLS and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) instructor and continued working with GITA to develop the first ACLS for Ibogaine, and Heartsaver CPR & AED pre-conference training courses offered at the 2016 Global Ibogaine Conference in Tepoztlan, Mexico. She also presented on the Ibogaine Therapy Ethics & Safety panel discussion at the conference.
CHECK OUT JAMIE'S IBOGA SAFETY WEBINAR
STARTING FEBRUARY 19TH
What inspired you to start IbogaSafe?
IbogaSafe was inspired organically through our many conversations over the last few years involving our various experiences in widely varying settings, and through our work on the Clinical Guidelines project with GITA. The common theme that kept resurfacing in our conversations was the provider community's need for safety advocacy, education and training in order to prevent and respond to potential adverse events during ibogaine treatment. We aim tackle that issue through an inclusive harm reduction approach.
What makes iboga different from other visionary medicines, in terms of safety?
The biggest safety issue surrounding Iboga is it's potential for cardiotoxicity. Iboga is the only visionary medicine that carries the risk of lethal cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest. My clinical background working with similar QT prolonging drugs, arrhythmias, responding to respiratory/cardiac arrests and witnessing hundreds of sudden cardiac deaths in a hospital setting has given me a profound awareness and respect for the heart that most people outside of emergency care settings cannot grasp. Lethal cardiac arrhythmias can cause a person to become unresponsive and completely lose their pulse and blood pressure within 5-10 seconds. A cardiac arrest needs to be recognized and responded to appropriately within 3-6 minutes in order to prevent permanent brain injury/death. Therefore I strongly feel that everyone working directly with this medicine should be CPR certified and have an appropriate AED onsite as a bare minimum standard of care. Heart health exists on a wide continuum that runs from total absence of symptoms to sudden death, in a matter of seconds and often without warning.
Why is qualified medical supervision necessary for iboga/ibogaine treatments?
Detoxing patients off various substances in a medical setting can be extremely complicated and unpredictable even without Ibogaine factored into the equation. The screening, preparation, and intake process for this medicine is not simple and requires keen assessment skills. Recognizing and responding to adverse events appropriately and in a timely manner is even more complicated and requires a certain amount of medical knowledge, experience, skill and training. ACLS certified medical professionals are preferred when dealing with this plant.
Do facilitators need medical training just for psychospiritual journeys (vs. addiction detox)?
There have been documented fatalities involving psychospiritual clients and at lower doses. One prime example of a preventable psychospiritual death in Dr. Alper's 2012 Ibogaine Fatality study was a 44 year old female who became unresponsive 4 hours after ingesting 300 mg of Ibogaine HCL. Toxicology negative, history of hypertension (change to high blood pressure), and her autopsy showed an old heart attack and significant 3 vessel coronary artery disease. An EKG 3 months prior to her death showed inverted T waves, which is an indication of heart damage/heart attack that should’ve been further investigated by a cardiologist who would've ordered more testing. A thorough screening process for Ibogaine could've detected her heart disease BEFORE an acute heart attack when it would've been treatable and survivable. Proper medical supervision during screening could've prevented her inevitable death. I think that ALL potential patients deserve the same screening and supervision regardless of intent. Heart disease accounts for 17 million deaths per year worldwide. It's the # 1 killer of men and women, killing twice as many people as all cancers combined. The odds are never in our favor when dealing with heart disease.
Why is it necessary for experienced traditional providers to take IbogaSafe courses?
I think of this webinar course as step one to truly understanding Ibogaine's effect on the heart. One needs to understand how the heart works normally to fully understand how Ibogaine can adversely affect even a healthy heart under certain circumstances. Ibogaine's effects work specifically on the electrical system of the heart, which is the( most complicated facet of learning the heart, but this course introduces all those concepts via learning to interpret ECG's. (remove because and separate the run on sentence) ECG's are essentially a live real time reading of the electrical system that drives the heart. My secondary hope for this course is that it encourages providers to start the process of improving their own safety measures as they are able, like getting CPR certified and getting basic equipment starting with an appropriate AED. Some models of AED's have displays and monitoring cables available so they could also be used to do continuous cardiac monitoring. One way to motivate more cardiac monitoring is to simply teach people what the squiggly lines on the monitor mean. It's our most valuable assessment tool, especially for a client who is lying down in a dark room. All of the above steps could drastically improve the survival rate for a potential cardiac arrest during treatment and as a cardiac nurse and ACLS/CPR instructor my goal is naturally to increase survival rates associated w/ ibogaine related cardiac events.
What is wrong with mail ordering medicine for underground treatments?
Due to demand outpacing supply currently, we are seeing a worldwide problem of counterfeit/tainted product available over the internet and there have already been deaths documented in medical journals due to this. One article involved 30 year old woman with a history of drug abuse and methadone treatment was found dead. A bag at the scene labeled "Top quality Tabernanthe Iboga 50 g Gabon, Africa" was analyzed and shown to contain no Iboga, but a similar looking root substance from a more common plant which has an alkaloid that produces "toxicity effects including hypotension, bradycardia, gastric hypersecretion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin flushes, nasal congestion, sedation, and coma. Another case study involved a 40 year old man w/ heroin addiction who ordered Ibogaine online for self-administration. He ingested 4 g of ibogaine and 2 g of an uncharacterized “booster.” He was found 8 hours later, unresponsive, covered in emesis, in an asystole (flatline) rhythm. He had suffered an acute cardiac arrest leading to cerebral edema and brain death, presentation consistent w/ ibogaine induced cardiotoxicity/cardiac arrest.” I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to deaths and near misses due to black market Iboga/Ibogaine and the dangerous practice of self administration or treatment with untrained underground providers.
Why would a nurse or a doctor need the IbogaSafe training in order to supervise iboga/ibogaine treatments?
Medical professionals are not on equal ground when it comes to attaining the knowledge and skills to safely screen and monitor Ibogaine clients or respond to emergencies. I personally did not learn ECG interpretation in nursing school and nursing/medical school generally only teaches students how to pass the licensing board testing. Like most medical professionals I learned on the job and via continuing education courses provided to me AFTER I graduated, passed (my boards, and specialized in working with cardiac patients right away. Hospitals spend a lot of time and money on staff education to make sure that they have qualified eyes on high risk patients. Also, while most medical professionals are certified in Basic Life Support, much fewer professionals are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Prerequisites required to pass an ACLS course are BLS certification and the ability to quickly interpret ECG rhythms on the heart monitor so they can be treated without delays. The minimum standard of care in the USA for professionals working directly with all cardiac monitored patients is that they obtain ACLS certification within the first year and I think that standard of care should also apply to medical professionals working with Ibogaine. Additionally, the medical community at large isn't educated on specific pharmacology and case studies involving Ibogaine ingestion and how ACLS protocols need to be altered when dealing with an Ibogaine emergency, which is why Jonathan Dickinson and I developed the ACLS for Ibogaine course for last year's Global Ibogaine Conference.
VISIT THE IBOGASAFE WEBSITE