Billionaire Who Died In Mexico Was Reportedly Trying Ibogaine Treatment

By Kelly Burch 04/19/18

One source who saw Matthew Mellon the week before his death said "he looked very good” and had been “fighting for his sobriety.”

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Matthew Mellon
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Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon, who died in Cancún last week, was reportedly in Mexico to try the controversial Ibogaine treatment for opioid addiction, sources say. 

“Matthew had tried ayahuasca,” an Amazonian hallucinogenic, “but it did not agree with him, so he moved on to try Ibogaine,” a source told Page Six

On Monday (April 16), Mellon’s family released a statement announcing his death. 

“Billionaire Matthew Mellon, 53, died suddenly in Cancún, Mexico, where he was attending a drug rehabilitation facility. Mellon made his fortune in cryptocurrency, turning a $2 million investment into $1 billion. He is survived by his three children, Force, Olympia and Minty. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this very painful time,” the statement read

However, on Tuesday the family updated their statement to say that Mellon “died suddenly in Cancún, Mexico, where he was planning to check into a rehabilitation facility for follow-up treatment.”

Mellon, a former chair of the New York Republican Party’s finance committee who was also named one of Forbes’ “Richest People In Cryptocurrency” this year, had battled prescription drug addiction in the past.

In 2016, he was reportedly getting treatment in California for a pill addiction that was costing him $100,000 a month. “OxyContin is like legal heroin. And it needs to be addressed,” he said at the time.

One source who saw Mellon the week before his death told Page Six that he seemed to be doing well. “He looked very good,” the source said, reporting that Mellon had been “fighting for his sobriety.”

A representative refused to comment on whether Mellon was trying Ibogaine, and if he had indeed started treatment at the time of his death. 

Ibogaine, which is illegal in the United States, is a psychoactive root native to Africa. Proponents say that using the root during treatment can help people overcome opioid addiction.

Research released last year showed that Ibogaine can be effective for treating opioid addiction, in part because patients experience a deep sense of self reflection.

A study looking at 30 individuals who tried Ibogaine found that one-third reported no opioid use three months later. 

However, the treatment can also be dangerous.

One individual who participated in the study died during treatment, but authors noted that with most Ibogaine-related deaths, a “thorough review of all available autopsy, toxicological, and investigative reports” suggested that the deaths had more to do with preexisting medical issues (including cardiac issues), or the involvement of other substances.

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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