By Virginia Prescott
Published on Thursday, June 12, 2008.
Virginia Prescott with New Hampshire Public Radio interviews freelance writer Peter Bebergal who is based in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote about the new wave of psychedelic-drug research for the Boston Phoenix.
Freelance writer Peter Bebergal is based in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote about the new wave of psychedelic-drug research for the Boston Phoenix.
Listen to the interview (mp3 format)
In the 1960s, Harvard psychology professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, later known as Baba Ram Dass, were approved to conduct research on psychedelic drugs. But after rumors spread of students holding "private psilocybin parties," the two were given the boot. Leary's encouragement to seek mystical experiences and spiritual enlightenment by "tuning in, turning on and dropping out" helped spark the counterculture's fascination with hallucinogens. But in the nearly five decades since, Harvard researchers haven’t messed with mind-bending drugs.
Until this past February, when Dr. John Halpern began administering MDMA, better known as the club drug Ecstasy, to dying cancer patients. He got started by researching the use of peyote in Native American religious rituals. Now he’s hoping Harvard will approve testing on the medical prospects for LSD for treating cluster headaches.