LSD: Flesh of the Devil

Photo: Poster for LSD: Flesh of the Devil, 1967 Italian anti-drug film about the "Five Dollars Trip to the Moon".

"Spring of 1966.
The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency convenes yet another round of hearings in Washington, DC, to deal with the growing "LSD Problem"...
A parade of scientists, health officials, and law enforcement experts render their verdict: the unsupervised use of LSD for nonmedical purposes can only lead to tragic results. L-S-D spells instant psychosis and a tendency towards bizarre behavior and capricious fits of violence. What is more, the psychotic interlude can recur at any movement without warning (the "flashback phenomenon"). Other perils are cited: those who take the drug exhibit a disturbing tendency to withdraw from productive activity, and some end up drifting aimlessly through life. To complete the hatchet job, the experts resort to their favorite ploy- the domino theory of drug abuse: the neophyte starts with marijuana and LSD and inevitably winds up hooked on heroin.
The bad rap on acid was sensationalized in the establishment press, which had been focusing on the detrimental effects of LSD since the Harvard scandal. Typical scare headlines from the mid-1960s read: "Girl 5, Eats LSD and Goes Wild" ..."A Monster in Our Midst- A Drug Called LSD"... "Thrill Drug Warps Mind, Kills". In 1966 Life magazine ran a cover story entitled "LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug That Got Out of Control" , which described the psychedelic experience as chemical Russian roulette in which the player gambled with his sanity. Pictures of people on acid cowering in corners, beyond communication, were used to underscore the message that LSD "could be a one-way trip to an asylum, prison, or grave". Life, whose publisher, Henry Luce, had one spoken favorably of psychedelics, didn't pull any punches: "A person... can become permanently deranged through a single terrifying LSD experience. Hospitals report case after case where people arrive in a state of mental disorganization, unable to distinguish their bodies from their surroundings... it brings out there very worst in some people. LSD is being dropped in girls' drinks. Terrifying parties are being given with a surprise in the punch. The Humane Society is picking up disoriented dogs..."
The smear campaign paid off. in April 1966 Sandoz Pharmaceuticals recalled all the LSD it had distributed to government-sponsored experiments in the US (with the exception of the secret research conducted by the CIA and the military). Politicians issued pronunciamentos against the drug, hoping to ride the coattails of the full scale LSD panic that was sweeping the land. One government official went so far as to characterize LSD as "the greatest threat facing the country today... more dangerous than the Vietnam War".

- pp. 150 - 151, From Hip to Hippie in Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain. Second Edition (1992)

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LSD: Flesh of the Devil
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