When Rick Doblin founded his psychedelics research and education organization in 1986 he was a young therapist and proud Vietnam War draft-resister.
The organization was his response to a decision by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to list MDMA (aka Molly or Ecstasy) as a Schedule I felony-offense drug.
Prior to MDMA’s illegal status Doblin had witnessed its healing potentials first-hand during sessions with his clients.
He along with a niche contingent of therapists in the early ’80s had found that MDMA—which was originally synthesized for pharmaceutical use in 1912— seemed to help people open up about blocked or buried feelings and traumas.
But the government’s crackdown on MDMA arrived after the drug made its way onto the dance floors of mid-’80s nightclubs and became wildly popular in recreational settings.