Professor Probes Psychedelic Drugs for a Cure to Nicotine Addiction

Despite science’s checkered history of experimenting with mind-bending drugs, Johnson insists his field of interest is “pretty nerdy stuff.”

For more than 40 years, Charlie Bessant was that guy.

The guy who’d slink out of every party to catch a smoke on the sly. Who’d walk for blocks late at night through his dicey DC neighborhood to score a pack of Marlboro Lights, no matter the weather.

Bessant tried and failed to quit many times. He used the nicotine patch, gum—you name it.

“I always thought, ‘I’m going to quit—this is my last pack,’ ” says Bessant, 64, now living in Silver Spring and semiretired from his work making mounts for museum exhibits. “A big percentage of packs I bought were the last pack I ever bought.”

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