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Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis

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Name  Dimitri Mugianis

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Dimitri mobengo mugianis and bovenga on gabon and iboga

Dimitri "Mobengo" Mugianis (born August 4, 1962) is a drug policy activist, Bwiti N'ganga (spiritual healer), poet, and musician.


Dimitri mobengo mugianis

Early life

Dimitri was born in Detroit, Michigan to a politically leftist Greek American family. Dimitri began writing and also using drugs at a very early age. While still a teenager, Dimitri began writing poetry and songs and formed a band with Glenn Johnson called Mr. Unique and The Leisure Suits, later Leisure Class. The band experimented with a very wide range of styles, from punk rock to rock opera to "Weimar oompah," often inciting rage in their audience. In 1983, the band moved to New York City. Dimitri's heroin use grew along with the band. He became involved with some members of the Beat scene, notably Herbert Huncke and Gregory Corso. The Beats were a major influence on him, in terms of both his performance style and his drug use. Dimitri supported himself by working as a bike messenger and dishwasher.


The musician Adam Nodelman was the first to tell Dimitri about ibogaine, a hallucinogen that is the central sacrament in the Central African religion Bwiti, and that can interrupt dependence on opiates without withdrawal. Dimitri also met Allan Clear, who worked to pass out clean syringes and provide other harm reduction services to drug users during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

In the 1990s, Dimitri's common law wife died of drug-related causes while pregnant. By 2002, Dimitri had a daily habit of $150–$200 worth of heroin, plus cocaine and $100 worth of methadone. In an effort to cease his drug use, he traveled to the Netherlands for ibogaine treatment (ibogaine is illegal in the United States). During his ibogaine-induced hallucinations, Dimitri says that he saw his Greek ancestors, his own future, and Papa Andre, the Gabonese shaman he would work with later. He then traveled to Icaria, his ancestral homeland on the Aegean Sea. He has not used methadone, heroin or cocaine since his treatment.

Life after drugs

Inspired to help others with ibogaine, Dimitri made plans to become an underground ibogaine provider, focusing on detoxing hardcore addicts. Howard Lotsof, father of the American ibogaine movement and discoverer of its anti-addiction properties, became his mentor and friend.

In 2005, having already completed hundreds of ibogaine treatments, Dimitri was approached by Michel Negroponte, director of Methadonia, who wanted to document his work with addicts. In 2007, Negroponte followed Dimitri on his first journey to Gabon to film his initiation into Bwiti, and showed how Dimitri incorporated the spiritual practices of Bwiti into his detox treatments.

Dimitri has advocated for the human rights of drug users on the international level, speaking at numerous international conferences. He has also continued writing, and had a joint poetry reading with John Sinclair at the Yippie Museum on Bleecker Street in 2009. "Parent's Night at the Leper Colony," a best-of collection for the Leisure Class, was released in 2010.

Dimitri is currently N'ganga-in-residence for drug users at New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), a New York needle exchange working with homeless, formerly incarcerated, and HIV-positive people in East Harlem and The Bronx.

In 2011 Dimitri and two others were arrested by a DEA task force while on their way to pray at a tree. They retained the services of a famous religious rights lawyer. They are awaiting sentencing. Dimitri is one of a group of Bwitists living in the US who are in the process of making Bwiti a recognized religion.

Media interest

Mugianis has been featured on VICE and NPR's "This American Life", among others.

Negroponte's film, I'm Dangerous With Love, ran the festival circuit in 2009-2010 and was released on DVD in April 2011.


Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis Wikipedia