Vol. 60, No, 12 March 25, 1966
A Remarkable Mind Drug Suddenly Spells Danger LSD
Photographed by LAWRENCE SCHILLER
A pioneer in LSD use and research, Psychologist Timothy Leary, who was fired from Harvard after his early experiments, waits with daughter before Texas trial for smuggling marijuana. At right, Los Angeles "acid heads" (LSD users) and spectators watch member of troupe called the Acid Test dance under the influence of the drug, using flashing lights to heighten its effects. Below, a girl sits enraptured in an LSD hangout.
(Click images to zoom)
he colorless, odorless, tasteless substance called LSD can be made in any college chemistry tab. A black market dose costs only $3 to $5. But that is enough to send a person on a 10-hour "trip"--sometimes into a world of beatific serenity and shimmering insight, sometimes to frenzy and terror. In either case the person who has taken this remarkable drug never sees life quite the same way again.
Within the last three years the use of psychedelic (consciousness- expanding) drugs has exploded. No longer just a promising psychological research tool, LSD has been taken up by a large underground cult. Starting in artistic, bohemian and intellectual circles, the cult has now become a dangerous fad on the college campus. At least one million doses of LSD (which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide) will be taken in the U.S. this year. Hospitals and doctors are suddenly treating scores of panic-stricken young patients who have "taken a trip" on LSD with disastrous psychological effects. Some have been hospitalized for weeks. Now the federal Food and Drug Administration is moving in with new laws which will outlaw LSD's illegal manufacture, sale or transportation. Many states already make mere possession of the drug a crime. Only last week, former Harvard Psychologist Timothy Leary, a long-time user of and proselytizer for LSD, was sentenced to a 30-year prison term for smuggling marijuana and was pointedly held for psychiatric tests. The government crack-down has already cut heavily into legitimate research on LSD, but declaring it illegal may only make it more tempting to thrill-seekers who take it for kicks. At any rate, the genie of LSD, with all its tantalizing possibilities for good and evil, is out in the open.