ABC News ran an article on the recent Johns Hopkins psilocybin findings. It ends with this doozy of a quote from Dr. Daniel Angres, associate professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, who argued the use of psilocybin is “too risky”:
“Character can and will deteriorate with the use of substances that have abuse potential over the long run,” he said, “even though initially there may sometimes seem to be ‘positive personality adaptations.'”
Excuse me? Where is the evidence that psilocybin has “abuse potential over the long run” – if by that the professor means compulsive use – or that psilocybin “can and will” lead to character deterioration? Can Dr. Angres point to a single peer-reviewed study supporting his statement as applied to psilocybin, or to any of the classical hallucinogens?
If you want to look at the consequences of long-term use of a classical hallucinogen, the Native American Church provide a large-scale case. Its membership, said to number a quarter-million, uses peyote “over the long run” and has done so for a century. If there exists scientific evidence linking peyote use and “character deterioration,” please let us know. The evidence seems to point in the other direction: Congress has found, citing scientific studies and expert opinions, that “peyote is not injurious to the Indian religious user, and, in fact, is often helpful in controlling alcoholism and alcohol abuse among Indian people.” [HR 103-675]
We should be on the lookout for real problems associated with hallucinogen use. And we could do with a lot less unscientific prejudice, especially from presumed experts.