". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


The Bipartisan Push to Legitimize Psychedelic Drugs Ignores the Spiritual and Physical Dangers

July 19, 2023

Late last week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) held a press conference on psychedelic drug research, requesting that funding for these studies be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Ocasio-Cortez stated that it was unacceptable that old scientific conclusions hold back lifesaving treatments. When asked about the possibility of these research trials paving the way to removing LSD and other psychedelics from the controlled substance list (Schedule 1), the congresswoman was noncommittal. However, she did say that these initial clinical trials are key to providing scientific backing for any potential broad decriminalization.

Make no mistake, the movement to rebrand psychedelics as a successful drug for helping with treatment-resistant conditions is already well underway. Therapists all over the country have already been trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy, and the pharmaceutical industry is just waiting for this new wave of treatment to be released on the American public so it can profit.

Research on psychedelic drugs is not a new phenomenon. However, politicians and modern-day proponents of these drugs want to scrub the 1960s counterculture doctrine associated with them, which was, “turn on, tune in, drop out.” The new psychedelic drug market is devoid of images of people using these drugs for recreational purposes. Now, we are presented with a sterilized image of these drugs being used as a treatment approach in a controlled, therapeutic environment. The new wave of psychedelics is being promoted as a means of gaining inner peace, and, of course, it claims to be backed by science.

In the coming days, we’ll certainly hear statements like, “the initial studies show promise,” but “we are moving forward cautiously.” It is unlikely that we will hear the whole story about psychedelic research, including the deleterious outcomes connected to the drugs. To understand more about the history of psychedelics and their effects, I spoke with someone who has intimate knowledge of the former clinical trials using LSD in the 1960s, and she is someone whose ministry life was replete with students whose lives were in shambles due to psychedelic drug use.

Margaret’s story started in 1964 after receiving a cancer diagnosis. At the time, her type of cancer didn’t have a name, and no treatment was offered to her except a new experimental protocol. Margaret agreed to participate in this study but was blinded to the contents of the experimental drug. The researchers presented the drug as showing promise in studies with animals. The study protocol required her to meet with a team of three doctors three or four times a week. The medication would gradually increase each week. Unbeknownst to Margaret, the drug was LSD.

Every week for months, Margaret received doses of LSD that researchers thought would treat her cancer. They would give her a dose in the clinic and tell her to go straight home and lock the door. The medical researchers would call her in an hour and ask her questions about her experiences.

Margaret recalled looking outside her window one day at a massive oak tree and watching as it disintegrated before her eyes. She was having visual hallucinations. Another time, she had to leave home to pick up her children. Looking back, she now knows that she was “high as a kite.” She remembers looking at herself driving the car. In her hallucination, she was on top of her car. The scary thing was she didn’t know where she was driving. There were times that she would come in and out of herself. She would lose track of time and have no idea where she’d been.

In another recollection, Margaret remembers walking down a street in her town’s city center and seeing demons all over people. She was very frightened by these experiences and hoped that they would end. But the images did not go away, not even when she was no longer “high.” The visions increased and were “tormenting” her to the point of it being intolerable. She said the demons intended for her to “kill herself.”

Driving became difficult for Margaret because she was constantly experiencing visions and voices of the demons telling her to kill herself. One summer afternoon, she was returning home from the beach with her two young children in the back seat when she felt like she no longer had control of her vehicle. Margaret was fighting with the steering wheel to her peril, and the car swerved into a ditch and then back on the road, only to crash into a telephone pole. She got out of the car and checked on the children. No one was injured, but she wasn’t sure if she was in reality or if it was some effect of the treatment protocol.

From that point on, Margaret knew something needed to change. Thankfully, a mother from her children’s school passed by the accident and recognized it as Margaret’s car. Given how crumpled the vehicle was, this lady supposed that everyone in the car was dead. She went to Margaret’s house to check on the family, only to find them all alive.

After this, the neighborhood mother invited Margaret to a prayer meeting. Every time Margaret attended the prayer meeting, she didn’t see the demons. But as soon as she left, the “tormentors” returned. Anxious to have relief, Margaret longed for the next Friday prayer meeting, which seemed like an eternity away. She decided to reach out to the group leader, risking him thinking she was crazy, and tell him everything she’d experienced. He prayed for her, and the group encouraged her to get off the drugs and out of the clinical trial. Several ladies in the group made themselves available to Margaret 24 hours a day while she came off the drugs.

Margaret went to another meeting where she received prayer, which initiated her physical healing, too. The cancerous lesions all over her body began to close. She went back to the doctors on the research team, and they could see that the cancer was gone, and her countenance was different. They asked, “What have you been doing?” She shared about the prayer meeting, and because they were in the middle of the second research trial, the doctor told her she was “ruining their study.” That’s when she told them that she was done with the drug.

Margaret’s full recovery from the drugs, including psychedelic flashbacks, took about eight years. In the end, Margaret said, “I could never, never, say anything positive about that drug [psychedelic drugs, LDS]. I can’t because it was so horrifying.” Yet, she said it was the horror of the experience that made her recognize there’s a spiritual reality. She said, “I was well educated in the [United Kingdom]. I did not believe in demons in Northern Europe or in America; that was for Africa and India. But you see, LSD opened my eyes to the spiritual things, the negative, but still spiritual.”

Margaret’s story is one of hope. Like the story of Joseph in Genesis 50:20, what was meant for her harm, God turned around for the good of many. Margaret’s healing journey with Jesus eventually brought her into a place of ministry and restoration for others. Living in a town with several universities nearby, she had a lot of opportunities to minister to college students who were using psychedelic drugs. Eventually, Margaret and her husband started prayer meetings, much like the one where she experienced freedom and healing. She saw students receive prayer and experience relief from the same type of tormentors that had tried to take her life.

Unfortunately, not all of these stories ended well. Margaret recounted several people who were using psychedelics who attempted suicide, a few who eventually ended their lives, and others who destroyed their brains.

These types of tragedies of psychedelic use were not isolated to Margaret’s experiences. These stories have been woven into our nation’s collective memories of the 1960s, but there is a concerted effort to erase these known harms from our minds. We need to recognize that the psychedelic agenda did not come out of thin air. Proponents of these drugs have been working for decades to legitimize and ultimately legalize psychedelic drugs.

I asked Margaret what she thinks about the FDA approving these drugs, our government funding more clinical trials, and the promotion of psychedelics as safe in micro (smaller) doses. She responded, “Even a little dose makes you susceptible to being controlled. We need our minds. Drugs like these change our minds.” She further contended that the release of psychedelic drugs on the public is an attempt to bring another form of control that “will destroy the nation.”

Dr. Jennifer Bauwens is the Director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council.