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Hart: I sit on a number of review committees and one of the things we want to make sure before people get approval to study these drugs is that they have the appropriate amount of experience to do this research, and to make sure that they have the appropriate safeguards in place. Because you can imagine if you had people do this kind of research and they don't have the experience and they don't have the appropriate safeguards: If someone gets hurt you can imagine how that will set back the scientific investigation into this study. Think about Timothy Leary. His antics set back the research into hallucinogens 40 years. We don't want to see that happen again.
reason: Is there any study that has ever shown that any of these substances force people to do bad things-violence, crimes, and so on?
Hart: We have been doing this research for decades in which we bring people into the lab and administer drugs in order to develop better treatments, in order to determine the effects of drugs on people for a wide range of reasons. We've given drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, marijuana, you name it. Alcohol. We've given thousands of doses of these drugs, but we haven't seen any violence in the context in which we give these drugs.
That's not to say that people who use drugs don't get violent sometimes. You might see some violence with some of these drugs, but it's certainly not because of the pharmacology of the drugs. When we have this kind of discussion we sometimes think: If one person gets violent on crack cocaine, that's enough to change the policy. That's ridiculous.
The notion that we can prevent every accident, every sort of bad thing from happening in a society-if people have that notion they probably shouldn't be allowed to talk to the public.