December 3, 2005
The US scientist who introduced ecstasy to the world in the 1970s says he fears the drug’s notoriety and popularity at nightclubs is destroying any chance that it might be used to treat the mentally ill.
Speaking at a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alexander Shulgin, also known as ‘Dr Ecstasy’, told his audience he still believed the drug had great potential as a medicine.
The biochemist unearthed a formula for MDMA in a 1912 chemistry text and synthesised it into ecstasy in 1976.
The drug was used in its early days as a treatment for depression and other illnesses, but that ended abruptly in 1986 when it was banned by the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
Earlier this year Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre warned that ecstasy users risked harmful psychological effects.
Reuter’s published Ecstasy ‘has great potential’, a short article referencing Sasha Shulgin’s talk at MIT and his concerns for MDMA’s fate to be known as a dangerous club drug rather than a powerful medicine.