Thursday, August 14, 2008

Drug trials:Had a nice trip. Wish you could, too.

Had a nice trip. Wish you could, too.

By Billy Cox

Published: Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 12:51 a.m.
SARASOTA - Unlike graying peers who refuse to acknowledge youthful drug use, Rick Doblin celebrates his. He will tell crowds of strangers about the dizzy days of tripping on acid and getting arrested for swimming naked at his alma mater, New College, in the 1970s.

He 'fesses up to dropping out his freshman year in pursuit of truth through psychedelics. He will tell them that the cedar-and-granite Sarasota home he built three decades ago -- described by Rolling Stone magazine as a "Frank Lloyd Wright on acid design" -- was conceived to enhance the experience. He endorses the aboriginal bonding traditions of parents sharing psychedelic drugs with their children.

To be sure, at 55, the controversial drug reform activist has graduated into the sobering realities of middle age. But with the first wave of baby boomers edging closer to the shadow of America's average lifespan of 78 years, Doblin is racing the clock to drag a great taboo out of the closet and into the light of mainstream science.

Working within the system, in a shift that would have been unthinkable during the Just Say No era 20 years ago, Doblin and the benefactors to his nonprofit initiative have persuaded the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its ban on testing psychotropic agents for medicinal purposes.

Today, no less than four clinical studies involving Ecstasy, or MDMA, and psilocybin, the mindbending ingredient of "magic mushrooms," are being monitored by the FDA. Among their potential remedies: helping war veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and easing end-of-life anxieties for the terminally ill.
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