It was 2015, and David Brownstein and Grace Shohet were desperate. Their son, who had used drugs for years, had cycled through every treatment option they knew of. He’d been to wilderness programs, boarding schools, outpatient programs, inpatient programs, had tried psychiatry and therapy, as well as addiction drugs methadone and suboxone. When he told them about ibogaine, a psychedelic drug derived from the root of the shrub found in Africa that can help people battling with substance use disorders, they were skeptical. Research on the benefits of the drug was limited. But they didn’t know what else to do.
“It was basically: He’s not going to make it unless we find something that helps him,” Brownstein said. “He was at the end of his rope. We were at the end of our rope. And so, we tried it.”