The time a US defense contractor turned on Soviet military scientists to MDMA to lubricate the nuclear peace process

In 1985, Rick Doblin—who went on to form the wonderful Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)—provided Carol Rosin, a manager at an aerospace contractor, with 1,000 hits of MDMA (aka Ecstasy aka Molly) to bring to Moscow on a work trip. The plan, according to an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, was to "give the psychedelic drug MDMA (popularly known as Ecstasy) to Soviet scientists and military personnel set to negotiate with US President Ronald Reagan in 1985, thereby injecting empathy and cross-cultural understanding into the nuclear peace process." From the Bulletin:

A few days before the drug became illegal in the US in 1985, Rosin says, she took a suitcase full of MDMA to a friend's apartment in Moscow. In walked mutual friends with empty medicine bottles, which she proceeded to fill with tablets of Ecstasy.

"It was the most loving, wonderful experience that you could possibly have, because it was in that state of peace and love," Rosin says. "It wasn't to get high; it wasn't to have a party. No. It was about peace, love and healing—and spreading that around the world."[…]

David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival, is skeptical that MDMA reached the power centers of the Kremlin.

"To me the story isn't 'Ecstasy ended the Cold War' or 'Esalen brokered world peace,' but instead something more like 'During periods of unusual uncertainty, people, ideas, and institutions that might ordinarily appear to be on the margins can become entangled with more familiar efforts, often in surprising ways,' " says Kaiser, a professor of physics and the Associate Dean for Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing at MIT.

image: Couperfield (