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LSD Chemist Wants Drug Ban Eased

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered the mind-altering drug LSD, turned 100 on Wednesday with the wish that the banned drug be made available for scientific research.

"This is a wonderful birthday party we are having. One could say it is a consciousness-expanding experience without LSD," Hofmann said with a twinkle in his eye, standing at a podium to address about 50 people attending a formal gathering in Basel, the city where he worked in Switzerland's pharmaceutical industry.

Hofmann, who still takes walks almost daily in the nearby hilly village where his lives with his wife, Anita, whom he married 70 years ago, was more serious in an interview with the Zurich-daily Tages-Anzeiger.

"Before LSD got onto the streets (in the 1960s), we were able to gather a lot of therapeutic experiences," Hofmann said. "The substance was used in the psychoanalysis of patients who couldn't be talked to."

If they were given LSD, they were stimulated enough to begin responding to analysis, he said.

"What began as a miracle substance subsequently became a youth cult drug, and thus a political danger for America," Hofmann said. "The decision of the U.S. to ban LSD was purely political. Every doctor has controlled access to heroin, morphine and even strychnine. But for LSD there's a total prohibition."

He said he hoped an upcoming symposium planned in conjunction with his birthday would contribute to easing the ban for medical purposes.