Drug Legalization: Are Psychedelic ‘Medications’ Next?

Now that marijuana has been legalized for medicinal use in 18 states, decriminalized in Washington, and legalized for recreational use in Colorado, will other banned psychedelic medications follow? Some people worry that the pro-drug lobby is trying to use failed alcohol prohibition from the 1920s as a reason that illegal substances today should be made legal. They claim that you can’t eradicate the illicit drug trade, so the only way to stop the criminal activity is to make it legal and bring the sale of drugs under the control of a regulatory agency just like alcohol.

The First Step of Legalizing an Illicit Substance Is to Claim It Is Medicinal

Pro-marijuana lobbyists broke down the initial legal walls banning the drug by asserting that it has medicinal value. Although doctors can recommend the drug now in numerous states, they cannot prescribe it because the substance has never been approved by the FDA or put through any of the rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. Once the drug was accepted medicinally, despite little research to support this assertion, it gained support politically and socially as well.

Now organizations such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are attempting to chart the same course of acceptance for all psychedelic drugs including:

Just this past spring, MAPS put together a conference to promote “psychedelic medicine,” entitled “Psychedelic Science 2013.” More than 1,800 people were in attendance to listen to the latest research on the potential medical uses of psychedelic drugs. The organization’s stated mission is to create “medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.”

Medicinal Use of a Drug Normalizes It to the Public

Once a drug has been accepted widely as having a medical application, whether rigorous scientific testing was done to arrive at the decision or not, it automatically has an effect on the public psyche. If a drug is only seen as something to be used by hardcore addicts than legalization does not make sense in the mind of the average citizen. However, if it could possibly help their health or well-being, or that of those they love, of course they would want to have access to the substance if necessary.

For example, currently, the drugs killing the most people every year from overdose are prescription painkillers. However, because they are seen as a medical tool, there is no stigma around people having prescription painkillers in their home or using them for medical purposes.

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