Washington: David Nichols studies the way psychedelic drugs act in the brains of rats. But he's haunted by how humans hijack his work to make street drugs, sometimes causing overdose deaths.
Nichols makes chemicals roughly similar to ecstasy and LSD that are supposed to help explain how parts of the brain function. Then he publishes the results for other scientists, hoping his work one day leads to treatments for depression or Parkinson's disease.
But Nichols' findings have not stayed in purely scientific circles. They've also been exploited by black market labs to make cheap and marginally legal recreational drugs.
"You try to work for something good, and it's subverted in a way," Nichols said. "I try not to think about it."...more
03:41 PM, Jan 06, 2011