Even some Republicans, a group that has traditionally opposed drug law liberalization, are starting to spread. Last month, citing high suicide rates among war veterans, former Texas governor Rick Perry urged his state lawmakers to endorse a democracy-sponsored bill to create a psilocybin study for patients with PTSD.
“We’ve had 50 years of government propaganda about these substances, and thanks to research and a grassroots movement, that narrative is changing,” said Kevin Matthews, a psilocybin attorney who led the successful Denver election.
Decades in the wild
Long before Nancy Reagan warned the nation to simply say no to drugs and President Richard Nixon declared Timothy Leary the “Most Dangerous Man in America,” researchers like William A. Richards used psychedelics to help alcoholics get dry and help cancer patients with to finish the end. Fear of life.
The drugs were legal, and Dr. Richards, then a psychologist at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, was among many scientists studying the therapeutic abilities of entheogens, the class of psychoactive substances that humans have used for millennia. Even years later, according to Dr. Richards and other researchers, many early volunteers called the psychedelic sessions the most important and meaningful experiences of their lives.
But when the drugs left the laboratory and were adopted by the counterculture movement in the 1960s, the country’s political establishment reacted with alarm. By the time the Drug Enforcement Administration issued its urgency ban on MDMA in 1985, funding for psychedelic research had largely disappeared.
“We learned so much and then it all came to an end,” said Dr. Richards, 80, and now a researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
These days, the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, founded two years ago with private funds totaling 17 million US dollars, is investigating psilocybin for smoking cessation and the treatment of depression related to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other spiritual research with the involvement of religious clergy.