Whatever your personal beliefs/preferences regarding the use of drugs might be, it is becoming alarmingly clear that a lot of our attitudes towards drugs aren't based in science, but in good ol' human fear and stupidity. The movie, Reefer Madness is an example of the kind of fear tactics used to rile up a population to fight a cause. Some call that propaganda, well actually the dictionary does too.
I'd like to draw your attention to a Canadian scientist, Erika Dyck, who has been digging into the history of psychedelic drug research and has unearthed a study from the 50's and 60's that indicates a single dose of LSD could effectively treat alcoholism. Now when I say "treat", I mean 65% of the alcoholic participants didn't touch a drop of the stuff for the remainder of the study, or 1.5 years. Given that 25% quit after group therapy and 12% quit after private psychotherapy, 65% is a stunning result.
So, you might actually be wondering "why 40-50 years later am I just now being informed of this?!"
There is this thing called credibility in the scientific world. Which basically means you have to know what you are doing. Apparently having a Ph.D. goes a long way in granting credibility. However, being popular also has it's merits (yes, even in the scientific world), and a more "credible" group tried to replicate the results with less than favorable results, and the study was buried.
Let me give you a bit on the background of this study.
The hypothesis that LSD may be a valid treatment for alcoholism came about because researchers observed that alcoholics described the DT's (hitting bottom) as similar to some LSD experiences. However, the DT's can kill you. They thought that maybe they could induce the DT's (often the turning point in a recovering alcoholics life) without the detrimental physical effects by giving alcoholics a dose of LSD - here is the important part - in a nurturing environment. Why? Good question. Because we are simulating the DT's, a BAD trip, not one of the good trips that keep psychedelic drug users coming back.
So, now we have a "more credible" group trying to replicate this amazing result. They felt that they should determine the effects of LSD on the alcoholics in isolation, so they blind-folded or tied up their participants before giving them the drug. They found in these cases that it had no effect on treating alcoholism.
Oh Come On... How could this possibly be considered a valid control?!
Do you have to know people who have tripped to understand that restraining someone on LSD is NEVER a good idea? If you are the kind of person who would never think of taking such drugs personally, can you even responsibly ask such questions?
If you didn't read the article I linked to, take a few minutes to go back and read it, it is an historical account and remarkably easy to read (for a scientific paper). And you may be interested to know that researchers at Harvard (read: credible) have been given approval to start experimenting with LSD. Maybe this study could make a real-life difference, even if a little late.