April 25th, 2012 - Open Knowledge
Apr. 25th, 2012
Slowly, public opinion is changing. I think there will be a tipping point in the next 5-10 years, and most drug laws will be relaxed.
“Recent studies at Harvard, U.C.L.A. and my alma mater John Hopkins have now made it plain that doctors should—as soon as proper safeguards can be put in place—be free to offer illicit drugs to patients who are terminally ill, in order to ease their emotional suffering and potentially offer them new perspectives—fueled by drug-induced insights—into issues like their own mortality.
At Harvard, Dr. John Halpern (as reported in the New York Times) tested MDMA (the street drug Ecstasy) to determine if it would ease the anxieties in two patients with terminal cancer. At U.C.L.A. and Hopkins, Drs. Charles Grob and Roland Griffiths used psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) to help cancer patients past their paralyzing, debilitating fears.
The results are reportedly consistently good. In many cases, patients are able to cope with their physical pain and psychological turmoil better than before. Some, no doubt, feel the drugs opened doors of perception previously closed to them, allowing them to make peace with their lives and the impending end of their lives.
The truth is that the likelihood of creating an MDMA or psilocybin addict out of a terminal cancer patient is exactly zero. And, while we all know the obvious risks during early and mid-life of using drugs to excess (including driving under the influence), those risks aren’t really present in substantial measure in the population of folks ending their days on this earth. And, I would argue, they are at the time when experimenting with what they can “see” and feel when freed from their anxieties and preconceptions and routine by hallucinogens or mood-altering substances like Ecstasy makes sense.”
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