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An Australian man died after traveling to Koh Phangan for a controversial treatment for drug addiction.
Brodie Smith, 33, reportedly died in late October after traveling to the island with his girlfriend to take Ibogaine, an African hallucinogenic believed by some to be a radical cure for chronic addiction, according to a Monday report in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper reports Smith arrived to the island on Oct. 20 with high hopes of turning his life around with the $5,300 treatment, but was dead the next day on what was to be the first session.
His girlfriend, Kara Spark, was quoted in the Herald laying the blame squarely on Ibogaine Thailand, which provides the service. Ibogaine Thailand was featured in a Coconuts TV report about the treatment.
Spark said they were given ibogaine capsules in the morning followed by two pills believed to be Valium just before noon. About 20 minutes later, she said, Smith stopped breathing.
Ibogaine Thailand director Mike Picone refuted that Smith ever ingested Ibogaine and blamed the deceased for overdosing on narcotics.
Coconuts contacted Picone for comment, and he forwarded the same response provided to the Herald.
“Brodie was coming to fight a methamphetamine addiction and was required to be off all drugs for at least five days prior to doing ibogaine,” Picone wrote. “Brodie Smith actually died in his hotel room. He overdosed from injecting illegal narcotics that he smuggled into Thailand from Australia before his scheduled ibogaine session could take place,” he says.
Spark reportedly denies that is what happened and Smith’s death certificate indicates he died of a heart attack after taking drugs.
Ibogaine is illegal to import into Australia and is banned in the United States for side effects including “hallucinations, seizures, fatal heart arrhythmia and brain damage in patients with prior health problems,” according to the report. There are no laws regarding the drug in Thailand.