The war on drugs is holding science back
Even though Dr. Sessa is a renowned clinical psychiatrist with 20 years of experience and the backing of a respected university, it’s taken him six years to get the study off the ground. The special license required to work with controlled substances cost him nearly $40,000 and took two years to acquire. The requisite lab security equipment and law enforcement monitoring cost another $50,000.
His team also had to apply for a range of regulatory approvals, ethics review boards, pharmacy permissions, and legal and medical licenses. These hurdles increased the cost of Dr. Sessa’s research by a factor of 10. Last month, he finally announced the commencement of his study, which will continue to be subject to scrutiny by officials overseeing the implementation of drug control policy. Dr. Sessa’s experience may sound like a tall tale of irrational and inefficient regulation, but his story is all too real—and far from unique. For 50 years, and in the name of the war on drugs, policymakers have prioritized law enforcement over medical research. The result? A war on drugs that is still raging, and half a century of suppression of scientific research and discovery. Although this incursion on people’s right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress is one of the lesser-known costs of the war on drugs, its consequences are both severe and long-lasting. By labeling MDMA, among other substances, as Schedule 1, governments have created a huge barrier to scientific research, depriving the world of possible breakthroughs in health and knowledge. Reform is badly needed.
Original Article (Open Society Foundations):
The War on Drugs Is Holding Science Back
Artwork Fair Use: John McConnell