Check out the AMAZING AAAS Sci on the Fly blog post, ‘The Risky Business of Using Criminalized Drugs as Therapies.’ The post, written by Dr. Samantha White, describes the politics that are holding back research of criminalized drugs as potentially promising therapies for mental disorders (shout out! AAAS S&T Policy Fellow Sam White, who is an expert and former researcher on cocaine addiction). White has no shame in declaring her support for research on criminalized drugs for the sake of science, as well as for patient benefit:
As a neuroscientist, I believe Congress and the public should champion basic, translational, and clinical research on how psychedelic drugs could impact affective disorders, addiction, and PTSD. We lack adequate treatments for these conditions, and similar to chronic pain patients forced to fight for narcotic-based relief, to perpetuate the uneducated belief that criminalized drugs and drug-takers are all bad is to do an extreme disservice to millions of Americans coping with these disorders.
White slams our country’s antiquated view of drugs in general, and describes the negative impact it is having on research and patients. As a science policy trainee and advocate, White highlights the desperate need for this research, and offers up a number of steps towards a solution, concluding:
And we can realize that it is no longer 1970, that the levels of depression, PTSD, and addiction have become a public health crisis, and that, instead of shying away from the risky business of prescribing criminalized drugs, we owe it to ourselves to find a solution.