A psychedelic therapist allegedly took millions from a Holocaust survivor, highlighting worries about elders taking hallucinogens

“It’s a whole new frightening possibility of elder abuse,” a geriatric psychiatrist said about the risks faced by older people treated with psychedelics.

He made a new life for himself in California. After surviving the Holocaust and growing up under Hungarian fascism and Russia’s communist regime, George Sarlo arrived in the United States as an 18-year-old refugee. Over the decades, he became a wealthy venture capitalist and philanthropist, and from the outside, looked like someone who’d overcome the horrors of history to achieve success.

Inwardly, though, he suffered from depression and struggled to make sense of his childhood. About a decade ago, he discovered psychedelics, starting with ayahuasca and moving on to MDMA, psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms), and ketamine. The hallucinogenic experiences gave him a deep sense of closure over some of his early emotional wounds and gratitude for his life since, which made him a prominent advocate for using these drugs to treat psychological trauma.

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