Five decades after psychedelics first made their mark on American culture, the promise of psychedelic drugs is being championed by artists, activists, scientists and scholars.
On Oct. 6 to 8, Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics will hold its 11th annual conference which brings together researchers and activists to advocate for expanding the use of the mind-altering in medicine and explore the use of psychedelics in art and culture, says Kevin Balktick, who founded the symposium in 2007.
“The things that get people most excited are things like the NYU program, the blue-chip research projects,” said Balktick, referring to an NYU research study on the use of psilocybin to treat alcoholism. “When research scientists at NYU tell you it’s real and headed places, people don’t have to take my word for it.” (Balktick is a Brooklyn-based artist who also produces the immersive You Are So Lucky parties; their Halloween extravaganza will once again take over a 72-room Yonkers mansion not unlike Timothy Leary’s famed Hitchcock Estate.)
Presenters at Horizons include Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, an NYU professor conducting research on psilocybin-assisted alcoholism treatment; Shannon Clare Carlin, who is studying MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; and Dr. Nicholas Byron Powers, a journalist and professor.
Presentations on Saturday will focus more on scientific research, while Sunday’s presentations will be more nuanced and cover topics like music, literature and spirituality, Balktick said.
Horizons begins with a reception on Friday evening and followed by two days of presentations. Tickets range from $25 for Friday’s reception only to $155 for the full conference, with a reduced student/hardship price of $105.