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10 people who are transforming healthcare

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On his 18th birthday, Rick Doblin, who is now 65, decided he wanted to become the first therapist to legally administer the drugs. It was 1972, and psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD were illegal, with one exception, ecstasy, or MDMA.

In academic pockets across the US, Doblin discovered an “underground network of psychedelic therapists,” clinicians who were intimately familiar with MDMA and who helped guide patients through using them to boost the outcomes of traditional therapy. Doblin wanted to be one such therapist, only he wanted to do it out in the open.

“It’s normally too painful for people to process these kinds of thoughts,” Doblin told Business Insider. “But when we can do it with MDMA and therapeutic support, the anxiety levels that people normally experience diminish over time.”

So at age 20, Doblin created the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS. Under his lead, MAPS has raised $70 million for research into psychedelics’ ability to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Investors and clinicians are increasingly embracing psychedelics to treat diseases like depression, and a drug based on ketamine was recently approved for the condition. More may be coming, thanks to MAPS.

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