Rick is the founder and executive director of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) – a non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics.
In the first of our two-part discussion – Rick talks about his upbringing and education and how he was first introduced to psychedelics. Then, the moment Rick dedicated his life to the study and advancement of psychedelics – which he views as the path for mass mental health in a better world – and a fundamental right. Plus, how MAPS plays a unique role – much like a public utility – to align drug policy reform with drug research and advocate for healing and justice. Finally, Rick agrees to chat more with Ronan in part two.
Show Notes: Rick discusses his entrance into the psychedelic space – and how both the holocaust and his heritage influenced his upbringing (3:05)Rick had a sense of possibility during his childhood that was coloured by immigrant stories of his family (6:00)Initially, Rick believed all the anti-psychedelic propaganda and discusses his approach to resisting the draft – including the implication of a felony conviction, mass incarnation, and the drug-war (7:20)Rick immersed in Russian language to learn about ‘the other’. It’s where his underground career first started when a book was given to him which was partially written under the influence of LSD (11:30)Palmcourt parties were psychedelic parties at college, and it was Rick’s first exposure to psychedelics – and nudist colonies. It was the first time he saw the underground in the open. (14:20)Rick’s first few times with LSD were both emotionally difficult and remarkable (15:20)Rick loves Mescaline – “the most important psychedelic not being studied” (16:40)In 1972 Rick’s guidance counselor gave him an early copy of Stan Grof’s book – which was fortunate (18:00)The moment Rick realized he wanted to work on psychedelics for the rest of his life (20:00)As an 18-year-old, Rick wrote to Stan Grof – and to his surprise – Stan wrote back! That was the genesis for Rick, and he remains his mentor to this day (22:30)Rick describes a pivotal and influential dream he had – which continues to guide him (23:41)Rick discusses some of the accomplishments of MAPS and how it can operate as a non-profit and public-benefit corporation mix. MAPS has a role to play – and part of a national health care approach around the world. It has built public value – and is leading the way in regulatory systems and a credentialing of therapists (30:00)How do we get this covered by national health care – and demonstrate cost-effectiveness? (33:40)Rick views ketamine clinics in different ways: those who offer a pharmacological treatment and those who offer treatment in conjunction with talk therapy – which is much more durable for the patient (35:30)The difference between drug policy reform and drug research – and how they can be aligned (39:00)Ronan apologizes for some public comments he previously made that were misunderstood regarding his views on underground therapy – and Rick talks about a Martin Luther King statue and quote about “those who violate an unjust law to educate others on the injustice have the most respect for the law” (43:20)Rick agrees to join Ronan for a second chat in Part #2 to talk more about the work of MAPS (48:00)