Copyright © 1995-1996, Paul De Rienzo, Dana Beal
and Members of the Project
All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER 9: Jon Parker
Later that afternoon, June 22, 1990, Dhoruba bin Wahad experienced the crowning moment (at least ’til that point) of his life. Black radicals in Harlem had demanded Dhoruba–not Charles Rangel, David Dinkins or Jesse Jackson–must give the welcoming ad-dress at 125th Street. Only an ex-political prisoner unjustly imprisoned for nineteen years for a crime he didn’t commit was qualified to greet Mandela, they insisted.
The politicians, he said, “do not want me to give you this address, because they do not want our South African brothers to know there are Black political prisoners held in the United States!
” There is a common thread and a common humanity that we all share. My Brother, I have spent 19 years in prison in the United States for my political beliefs, and you, sir, you were the symbol that helped sustain me and other African American politi cal prisoners!” And they shook hands, and were seen embracing all over the world.
Dhoruba Moore, now bin Wahad, had been released on February 19, 1990–his conviction overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct–and that very day Dana had given him the news about Ibogaine also. Once, when Dhoruba was still in prison and Tanaquil Jon es was being evicted, Alan Thompson stopped it by parking the soundstage in front of her building; so in the next few months, Dhoruba began to work together with RAR.
February 1990 was also the month Dana met the pioneer of needle exchange in the United States, Jon Parker. Parker had already been driving down from Boston every week for more than a year to exchange clean needles for dirties with his “regulars” at th e corner of Delancey and Essex. Now he was pulling together survi-vors of the small city program cancelled by David Dinkins, John Morgan’s group and ACT UP for a test case. A month earlier, he’d just won the first test case in the country in Boston, and he was on a roll. He was determined to overthrow needle prohibition wherever it existed.
Parker created a situation where the i.v.. drug users committee of ACT UP had to play catch up: In March, 1990, Dana accompanied Richard Elovitch up to the front of the ACT UP meeting for the only time. Together they moved the floor to endorse a prot est at Delancey and Essex, where eight activists including Parker would court arrest for needle exchange. But the minute Beal started talking civil rights for drug users, Elovitch ruled him out of order.
The protest went as planned; the case of the Needle Exchange 8 began wending its way through the courts. In June, Dana gave copies of the VOICE article to Parker and everyone else doing needle exchange at the new site, Rivington and Attorney, a few b locks from the original site. But most of the others weren’t as pioneering as Jon. And Ibogaine didn’t have the endorsement of Ernie Drucker and the experts favored by Elovitch and ACT UP honcho Larry Kramer. They just didn’t get it.
One evening in August, when Parker was in Thailand setting up needle exchange for the Thai government, he had a flash: If needle exchange is only 35 percent effective in stopping the spread of AIDS, and Ibogaine is 70 percent effective for interruptin g addiction and injection for three to eighteen months or longer, then Ibogaine is a breakthrough technology. Any medical breakthrough against the AIDS pandemic must be used, the sooner the better. When he got back to the U.S. and informed Dana, Beal aske d him to speak at the November 10th Stop the Drug Wars March in Washington.
By August America was gripped by the worst pot drought in history, as Bush interdiction efforts–which only seemed to proliferate the more compact hard drugs–virtually eliminated bulky, smelly marijuana from the market. An ounce of moldy pot became m ore expensive than an ounce of coke, and even THE NEW YORK TIMES noticed. There were back-to-back famines in ’90 and ‘ 91, with only a few months break during the winter.
On August 4th, 1990 Dana flew in and spoke at a rally for his best friend in San Francisco, Dennis Peron, who’d been busted for pot in January. The pot belonged to Beal’s second-best friend in S.F., Jonathan West, who was using it to fight off his AIDS. The stress of the case was killing him. In nine months the most beautiful man Dana knew had turned into a concentration camp survivor with KS lesions on one eye. And with the famine, because the only pot Jonathan could get was moldy, his lungs were trashed. He lived just long enough to plead guilty in September to possessing the four ounces of pot in January, which saved his best friend, Dennis Peron, from five years imprisonment as a predicate felon. Ten days later Jonathan West died.
Nonetheless, outside of San Fransisco the marijuana movement still wasn’t ready to deal with”safe drugs” AIDS. When Dana was heckled by a group of rednecks and off-duty cops at the annual Woodstock Reunion concert two weeks later, hemp activists present decided the thing to do was to have him do a lot less speaking.
Two weeks after that he was banned in Boston from a “marijuana freedom fighter” rally, to keep him from bringing up Ibogaine instead of hemp. So he joined the Hemp Tour and talked Ibogaine from Philadel-phia to Madison, Wisconsin. The hempsters hit back by spreading the phony factoid about him owning “hundreds of thousands in Ibogaine stock” everywhere he went.
But the lowest blow came when “freedom fighters” put Baumann’s phony Ibogaine death story into HIGH TIMES without checking out the ultimate source: a German supermarket tabloid.
We now know, based on Glick’s work, that one possible way to boost the effect of 400 mgs. of Ibogaine to get an overdose is to give it with amphetamine. In fact according to Goutarel, Claudio Naranjo submitted a patent application in 1969 for a drug composed of the total alkaloids of Tabernanthe iboga roots combined with amphetamine. MDMA is an amphetamine. After the controversial Baumann session, it was determined that 6 doses of MDMA were unaccounted for. Baumann’s prefered drug for his intrusive brand of therapy is MDMA–which makes the patient putty in the therapist’s hands. Ibogaine subjects just want to be left alone.
Justifiable suspicions that MDMA had been administered with or after the 400 mgs. of Ibogaine were not dispelled, and if anything increased, when the Swiss Psychelytic Association agreed to stop working with Ibogaine in order to preserve research access to other psychedelics in Switzerland. “The treatment of addiction,” Baumann pronounced, “is beyond the competence of the psychiatrist.”
To say the least, the move by Baumann to clear MDMA by blaming everything on Ibogaine, and the rush by Rick Doblin (America’s foremost MDMA proponent) to reprint a story from a supermarket tabloid, should have set off alarm bells at HIGH TIMES. Especially when the approval for MDMA had just been withdrawn by the FDA over safety concerns.
John Spacely, a consistent Ibogaine booster who tried to mediate between his friends at High Times and Beal, asked them to lighten up with their coverage. But he was closer to the problem. It was around that time he informed Dana that Stiv Bators, who’d wandered out of his place drunk a few nights earlier and been hit by a car at 9th Street, had walked away unaware of serious internal injuries because of the methadone analgesia — and died a day later. Happens frequently. Nasty combination, methadone and alcohol. Three out of 623 subjects in the LAMM (longer-acting methadone) trials diad — two from impairment of their body’s ability to process other shit they took while they were on LAMM.
Advocates of environmental hemp were not alone in suspecting Ibogaine, if it worked, would disrupt any agenda they might have. Jon Parker had agreed to speak at the November 10th Stop the Drug Wars March even though he would have to drive all the way down from Boston to Washington two weekends in a row. On November 3rd he had to be at the annual Drug Policy Foundation awards dinner to collect a $50,000 check for his victories on behalf of needle exchange.
The foundation’s deputy director, Kevin Zeese, had specified that doing a Stop the Drug Wars March the day after his conference would be considered a “hostile act”; so six months earlier Dana reluctantly rescheduled it from the 4th to the November 10 th, even though it meant the DPF crowd would not be able to attend. And the one thing Zeese, his boss Arnold Trebach and their big-bux backer Richard Dennis all asked Parker not to mention his speech was Ibogaine. The minute it was not a drug to be lega lized but a treatment to be approved, they were all for ten years of painstaking tests and bureaucratic footdragging. Or else they bought the Baumann story, and were willing to sacrifice a potential addiction interrupter on the altar of Ecstasy.
At the awards dinner Jon and his mother shared a table with Howard, Norma, Sisko, Dana and Boaz Wachtel. Jon’s mother, a poor Irishwoman from South Boston, saw her son tell a roomful of doctors, lawyers, scientists and even a sprinkling of U.S. judg es how–after spending his adolescence in juvenile detention and much of his adulthood dealing drugs or in prison–one day he was sitting in a shooting gallery in New Haven watching dozens of addicts clean their needles in the same glass of bloody water. The year was 1987, and Parker was a pre-med sudent at Yale, where they were teaching him AIDS could be spread through shared water89and cottons, and not just needles.
Jon Parker got so mad about that glass of bloody water that he started the first U.S. needle exchange, because he knew giving them a sharp new needle was the only way to get the addicts in where you could get the information out. And now his mom was seeing him honored before a roomful of experts with a $50,000 award.
The next day, the day Dana had moved the demonstration from–Sunday, November 4– turned out to be unseasonably warm, a beautiful 65-degree day. November 10th was cold and wet. The third speaker at the Capitol was Dhoruba bin Wahad.
“The War on Drugs that’s being waged in the Black Community is a racist excuse for the militarization of the police and the eradication of Black people in this country. The CIA, the FBI and other government agencies have been the major importers of h ard drugs into the Black Community ever since the end of World War II. As the head of the CIA, George Bush helped import drugs into this country, and he continues to collaborate with tyrants and dictators who profit off of hard drugs and the the exportat ion of hard drugs.
“In the Black Community, the term for the importation of drugs and the murder of our youth is genocide. I think that, if you are steadfast in your struggle to decriminalize certain aspects of drugs, if you are steadfast in your position that there should be an emphasis on treatment and not on criminalization, you can begin to make a difference in the war on the Oppressors who import drugs.
“Finally, I want to say to you, that the struggle to free poltical prisoners in the United States is a struggle against racist and arbitrary repression– that if you do not stand up for the freedom, and dignity, of political prisoners who went to pri son and sacrificed their lives for the liberation and empowerment of their people, then one day you might be a political prisoner, and there’ll be no movement to support you!
“So you must make a stand. You must take a position. You must take a position to free all political prisoners in the United States and you should take a position that opposes the War on Drugs in the Black Community. Finally, I’d like to say, stay str ong, be strong, and fight the Power!”
Halfway through the next speaker, word came that the Capitol Police were busting Dhoruba and his bodyguards just out of sight 300 yards away. The entire crowd–600 people–went running over to surround the cops, chanting “Let them go! Let them go!” Th e cops, outnumbered, backed down. Jon Parker was part of the action that freed Dhoruba. Later he confided to Dana that twenty years earlier, like many working-class white kids, he’d thought the Black Panthers were incredibly cool. That militancy was part of the reason he chose a name for his organization likethe National AIDS Brigade.90
On Thanksgiving Dana had dinner with Marty Robinson. Marty, whose AIDS had progressed, was wheezing. But he was very proud he’d brought his own pot; the drought was still on. Dana took one look at the pot and said: “This is really moldy. It would giv e me bronchitis, and I’m healthy. Throw that away. Let me give you something good.” But the drought wouldn’t ease for another month, so of course he accepted Dana’s gift, but kept his own, and got sicker. That grey mold causes aspergillosis in peo ple with AIDS.
Ten days later Parker came to the ACT UP floor with info that a rule mandating nonjury trials for misdemeanors in NYC had expired. He wanted to clog the courts with new needle exchange protests. The rest of the Needle Exchange 8 prefered to wait for t heir trial in the spring. Parker won the vote, but on the day of the action, December 12, no one showed up but Sisko, Howard and some other Lower East Side denizens including Pope Michael. The cops broke Parker’s wrist.
Dana went straight from the protest to a speaking date in Providence, Rhode Island, and then to Boston, to try to repair relations with the legalization move-ment that had cancelled his speaking gig a few months earlier. But the Boston “freedom fight ers” still wouldn’t parlay, so he stayed with Jon and Andrew Hoffman. By the end of January he’d been up and back three times talking to everyone. And then he learned Parker was in trouble.
On January 24, 1991 with part of his $50,000 award, Jon opened a needle exchange office in Roxbury just down the block from the dope spot where he’d been doing street needle exchange. Neighbors already uptight about the dope spot flipped out. They were joi ned in daily pickets of the AIDS Brigade office by the Rev. Ellis-Hagler, who’d been feuding with Jon ever since he’d kicked Jon’s nascent needle exchange group out of his church three years earlier.
After two days of picketing under the banner of Treatment on Demand, in the midst of a screaming match (where inflamatory things were said about Jon’s mo-ther, who was dying), Ellis-Hagler decked Jon on television. Once the daily pickets took on the coloration of black/white violence, the majority of the needle exchange decided to dump Jon, keep his money and discontinue needle distribution out of the office.
Mind you, in principal all factions involved were in favor of treatment on demand. Dana decided to broker a truce by getting all sides to stifle the needle exchange dispute in favor of a broad front to get Boston addicts Ibogaine as soon as possible. Because Ibogaine was the only affordable effective treatment available in the pipeline “on demand.” But there was one fly in the ointment: The Clean Coalition (the storefront minus Jon) overlapped with some of the people who’d banned Dana from speaking in September. And if the lie that Dana owned “hundreds of thousands of dollars in Ibogaine stock” started getting pushed around Treatment on Demand, the whole initiative could be torpedoed before it got off the water.
The pot famine in Boston was still going strong, though, and as Dana circulated among AIDS activists promoting an Ibogaine coalition, he kept getting inquiries about good pot, because all the PWAs could get was moldy. As a matter of fact, cheap ($75 an ounce, versus $200 in Boston) non-moldy stuff was now available on the Lower East Side. Hoping to cement relations with people who’d just learned about Ibogaine, from him, Dana agreed to make inquiries.
When he got back to New York, Howard called and told him to look at the New York Post. Charles Kinsky was dead. He had been down on his bed. Charles, whose rock’n’roll fashion business was struggling, had turned to tge last resort of many a countercultureal businessman in the City, and tried to make ends meet by finding a buyer for a large amount of fronted hashish. It wasn’t any good, and way too expensive. His buyers turned out to be junkies — the very people Charles was trying to help. Junkies with guns. They ultimately went to prison for decades. But the Ibogaine project had lost a vital activist with unique celebrity contacts.
Dana was in shock, yet he still thought to call Dhoruba, to ask if he knew anybody put in a good word with Treatment on Demand. “You mean the folks picketing the needle exchange?” asked Dhoruba, “Hey, man, I just got back from Boston, and I spent the weekend with them!”
As a movement of Black accupuncturists, Treatment on Demand was chockful of ex-Black Panthers, and the biggest star–top of the line–they could bring in from outside to rally their troops was none other than Dhoruba bin Wahad. He’d been arriving in Boston just as Dana was leaving.
Dhoruba’s main focus, though, superseding his original mission of stopping hard drugs, was to free the 250 political prisoners in the U.S. To do that, he had to stay out of jail himself. Three months earlier Dana’s people–led by Dennis Peron, Ben M asel, Jack Herer, Aron Kay and, yes, Jon Parker, had kept the cops in D.C. from snarfing him up.
Besides, you don’t take on a Panzer division with rocks and bottles, or even a machine gun. Not when you have the atomic bomb. Ibogaine, not picketing, is the way to stop hard drugs. What Dana needed was for someone to vouch for Ibogaine, plus an intr o to Treatment on Demand–and not through the Needle Exchange side, but by someone with impeccable credentials on the other side. Dana asked Dhoruba to propose a freeze on a protests outside the needle exchange, and a broad coalition around Ibogaine.
Dhoruba came down to East Third Street, where they sat around Sisko’s kitchen table as Howard told him about their journey to meet Omar Bongo, and “Gabon’s gift to the world.” The next weekend, February 17, Howard, Sisko and Boaz drove up to Boston wi th a very prestigious introduction to Treatment on Demand and Ellis-Hagler from Dhoruba, who vouched for them but said they’d have to convince people about Ibogaine on their own. Dana traveled up separately on the train and brought Andrew Hoffman to the m eeting.
Actually, they were a bit overwhelming. Dhoruba suggested Dana go back the next week alone. Meanwhile, the AIDS activists wanted to know, where’s the pot? Parker, who’d just had his own people roll over on him and stop needle distribu-tion from the of fice, was paranoid about driving pot back from NYC, even though he drove the thousands of needles down from Boston every week.
On Saturday, February 23, the morning of the ground invasion of Kuwait, Dana got up and headed out to La Guardia with two and a half pounds of pot strapped to his back. (The night before the source, who’d lost numerous friends to AIDS, upped the shipm ent from a pound so he wouldn’t have to do it again soon: “I’d been holding this for two weeks already,” he complained. “Tell them they can take as long as they want to pay.”) Dana was flying because he felt he had not been sharp enough the week before, a fter spending the whole night on the train. His main mission was to get to Roxbury by 11 A.M., in time to meet with Black treatment professionals from all over New England. He wasn’t even thinking about the pot as he went through the metal detector at the Pan Am Shuttle. The airline, after Lockerbie, with the tightest security in the business. Traveling under his own name, which is on the ADEX list of people to be picked up in the event of a national emergency (See composite of FBI files, page right). On the morning of a full national security alert. Dana was pat-searched and busted.
He didn’t get to show the Nico tape to Treatment on Demand for three more weeks. It wasn’t until April 23, 1991, that Moses Saunders, the executive director of Treatment on Demand, wrote Lotsof a letter, placing Treatment on Demand foursquare behind t he project: “We are very pleased to participate in the research initiative around the drug Ibogaine.”
Dana would have loved to have gone public and fought the pot charges, like Dennis and Jonathan. But that would blow his nascent Ibogaine coalition. So he decided to delay, because with Bill Kunstler always on a murder trial, cases usually took more than a year anyway. The best the Queens ADA (a certain Karen Rankin) would offer was one-and-a-half to three years in an upstate prison. So Dana finished his last Safe Drugs demonstration May 18, and used it to springboard a July 10th protest called S TORM NIDA FOR IBOGAINE.
The pot bust forced him to work full-time, to get Ibogaine fast-tracked before the eighteen-month sentence came due. Oddly, the timing was perfect. His probation officer, infuriated that he fucked up three weeks before she was set to terminate his p robation from the ’87 bust, forbade him to travel. That kept him from attending Lotsof’s initial April 12 meeting with NIDA Medications Development, where they basically told Howard Ibogaine wasn’t ready yet to go on the list of medications being develope d for treatment of drug dependency: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” And Bill Kunstler got a judge to reverse the P.O. so Dana could travel as long as he informed Probation first.
Then at the end of June at the annual meeting of the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependency (CPDD) in Florida, three papers were presented showing the Ibogaine effect is real. Patricia Broderick said that hundreds of neuroscientists came to rapt attention, straining to hear her findings that Ibogaine did indeed show efficacy against cocaine addiction: “You could hear a pin drop in that room.” It was a good omen.
On July 1, Dana trekked up to the Rainbow Gathering in Vermont, trying to drum up participants for the July 10 NIDA zap. But as soon as he left, two New York squatters, Lori Rizzo and Barbara Lee, got up and denounced Ibogaine to the full Council, claiming it doesn’t work. Barbara Lee’d moved in with Seth Tobocman, a roommate of John Penley, who owned Ibogaine stock — so she knew better. But in two years since Dana decided to make an issue out of Ibogaine, it had become a litmus test of loyalty for their in-group to say it didn’t work, as a way of attacking the new harm-reduction-oriented strategy.
From Vermont Dana travelled to the July 4 White House Smoke-In, where he spoke four times encouraging people to get out to Rockville the following Wednesday at 8 AM, to picket NIDA at the Parklawn Building. He even gave copies of the Storm NIDA leaftlet to Park Police in Lafayette Park, who furnished it to NIDA Medications Development the next morning.
NIDA-crats had no idea how many people were coming, but they did know ACT UP brought almost a thousand people a year earlier to Storm the N.I.H., in the same building at 5600 Fisher’s Lane. On Friday, July 5, the first call came in at 2:30 PM from NID A counsel Lee Cummings to the phone number on the leaflet, at #9 Bleecker. On July 9 Charlie Grudzinskas, head of the MDD, faxed Howard a letter stating that they had reconsidered and were placing Ibogaine on the official list of drugs to be evaluated fo r treatment of drug dependency. And they agreed to meet delegations from the ad hoc Harm Reduction Coalition representing ICASH, the AIDS Brigade and others, at 11 AM after the demo.
The action was small, a leaflet zap with banners, really. But every secretary or researcher in the FDA, the NIH, NIMH and NIDA could take a copy of the PharmAnalytica, which began
Daily Brief. Executive Summary. Nov. 12, 1990
International: Drug Addiction
Event: A rainforest Alkaloid, Ibogaine, has been report- ed to act as an addiction interrupter across a wide spec- trum of abused substances including heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, nicotine and alcohol. Significance: There is a large potential market for pha r- maceutical products for use in addict detoxification. Analysis: The use of pharmaceuticals in combatting ad- diction is well established, though often of limited success. The claimed effect of Ibogaine is qualitatively dif- ferent from that of establi shed treatments.
Two thousand leaflets went out. No longer could some little group in the building bottle up the information. The entire bureaucracy knew. On thegovernment side at the 11 AM meeting were Lee Cummings, Charles Grudzinskas, his deputy Frank Vocci and Mon a Brown for NIDA public relations; for the coalition, Bob Sisko and Dana Beal, and Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.
The main government demand was for rigorous follow-up data, since they wouldn’t look at it in humans at all without an FDA green light; but they were skeptical because they hadn’t seen it work on humans. “What if there was a secret ingredient?,” Vocci asked. Grudzinskas also held up a story from a German supermarket tabloid on the Baumann death. “It might have been a drug interaction,” Sisko responded as he asked for a xerox. “But in Gabon, out of thousands who take it, every year there are one or two deaths, usually women or physically slight males. With the root they can’t really control the dose.”
The NIDA side confirmed Ibogaine was now on their list for evaluation, but refused to issue a statement, although Mona Brown confirmed it to NEWHOUSE NEWS the next day. When they were walking out, though, Lee Cumings did say that if it worked, Ibogaine would be like polio vaccine replacing the iron lung.
With some concrete progress to show for his efforts at last, Dana began really going to every committee of ACT UP looking for a sponsor. He became the Ibogaine man. He stopped putting medical marijuana stuff on the literature table of the Monday night meeting for eight months. He had a new Ibogaine re-print every other week. Finally, he joined the Treatment and Data Committee–the oldest and biggest in ACT UP–just when T&D was looking to open up relations with NIDA.
On October 20th, Max Cantor was found in his apartment, dead of a heroin overdose. He’d been sucked into the scene he was investigating — junkies and anarchists around Tompkins Square Park cannibal Danny Rakowitz.
Before his arrest in August, ’91, Rakowitz definitely sided with Jerry the Peddler and the anti-Ibogaine faction from Tompkins Park, so it made a weird kind of sense for Max (who never quit looking for Charlie Manson) to fish around Rakowitz for a larger Satanic conspiracy — except that the only Satanists on the scene were a few Aleister Crowleyites sadistically feeding his paranoia. And they were the ones into heroin mystique, so that Max should have known better. But he was always a garbage head–that was why he gravitated to Pope Mickey. He was scheduled to be flown to Holland f or Ibogainization. Howard begged him to throw away his needles, because he recognized Max was out of control, but Max was one of those yuppies who think reality doesn’t apply to them.
Dana phoned Grudzinskas and told him the writer of the VOICE article had OD’ed, and asked him how many more have to die. He got a new meeting for October 29th. Treatment and Data was in the midst of a big split after getting ddI and ddC approved. They voted to send a representative to the meeting, and much to the surprise of most present, one of the real luminaries of ACT UP, Dr. Iris Long, jumped at the opportunity.
Iris Long is one of the early heroines of the AIDS crisis. She’s in the book Best of Intentions.. You could tell they were impressed when Frank Vocci asked her to autograph his copy. Their response was to pre-empt ACT UP’s entrance by walking into the room with a time-line already set, for clinical trials (Phase I human toxicology) in one year. It included:96
A) Radiolabeling Ibogaine for autoradiography studies to locate and quantify Ibogaine receptors, followed by displacement studies to identify agonists and antagonists and determine binding characteristics;
B) Toxicology studies to determine neurotoxicity and to determine if Ibogaine is cumulatively toxic;
C) Pharmacological and metabolic studies; D) By March or April, stability testing, dose ranging and dosage form development;
E) Cognitive studies;
And by August 1992, the filing of their own Investigative New Drug (IND) application with the FDA, leading to clinical studies by late fall, 1992.
Besides Iris Long and the harm reduction reps from the July meeting, the coalition side included John Morgan of CUNY and David Goldstein. The government had the same reps as before. They did confirm Ibogaine psychoactivity would not be an impediment t o tests in humans, and agreed to include HIV-positive addicts. And they were warned that the competitive bid regulations they were invoking against dealing through Howard Lotsof with OMNICHEM of Belgium (the only source in the world with 99.7 percent pure synthetic Ibogaine HCI in stock) might be a real stumbling block. They said it would be easier to go through SIGMA, their regular supplier, which turned out not to be able to get Tabernanthe iboga out of Gabon. That set everything back five mont hs.
Still, Iris Long said this time-line was about on par with current AIDS drug development times. Bringing ACT UP had turned the trick. Ibogaine was fast-tracked.
As for Jon Parker, he’s re-established the AIDS Brigade in a storefront in South Boston. In June, 1992, he turned his thesis on Needle Exchange to get his degree from Yale Medical School. In it he said the one innovative treatment modality the AIDS B rigade had come across addicts using in the field–the single new discovery in drug treatment he thought could make a difference against AIDS–was Ibogaine. Jon still drives down from every week to do AIDS Brigade needle exchange at the corner of Essex a nd Delancey, just after noon on Saturdays.
Of late he’s been working with Jennifer, who was treated with Ibogaine for heroin addiction in Holland in August, 1991, on the trip when Bob Sisko got his retreatment. With the sense of purpose she derives from the AIDS Brigade, Jennifer’s treatment is succeeding.