Remedial Psychedelic Ethics 101: Don't Dose People

You wouldn’t think people who are prominent members of the psychedelic community would need a reminder about elementary decency, but, sadly, that appears to be the case. Psychedelic drugs, like mushrooms, peyote, and LSD, are not candy. They can be deeply disorienting and disturbing, even for veteran psychonauts, and for people with no experience with or knowledge of them, they can be absolutely terrifying. It would seem to be a fundamental of psychedelic ethics that you do not inflict the experience on people against their will or without their knowledge. To do so is not only disrespectful of the consciousness of the victim of such a stunt, it is also disrespectful of the psychedelic substance that inner consciousness explorers claim to hold in such reverence. But some people just don't get it. Last night, I received a call from an old friend who reported being dosed by someone who was part of the entourage of an elite clique who were putting on an event in a large Eastern city. Now, my friend was fortunate enough to have some experience with psychedelics, so the experience was not absolutely terrifying. But it was most unpleasant. And that's should be no surprise. For at least 40 years, people have been talking about the importance of "set and setting" in determining how a person will respond to psychedelics. Set refers to the person's mental state—what the person knows and expects of psychedelics, whether that person has underlying psychiatric problems, whether that person is prepared for the experience. Setting refers to the physical/notional location of the experience—is it a soothing place, does it take place within some ritual or another, is it loud and noisy and chaotic?—that, along with set, has an impact on the psychedelic experience. Dosing someone with psychedelics without his or her knowledge wreaks havoc with set. People need to prepare themselves for taking drugs like these; to have them inflicted on you even if you like them is unethical. Being dosed also prevents the victim from having any say in setting—here you are, your mind is melting, and that's that. Dosing people is thus double-plus ungood. No names are being named at this point. There are efforts afoot to see if the perpetrators will make proper amends. The most positive outcome is that the people involved will be educated about things they should already know and understand intuitively. For the rest of us who are inclined to dabble with such substances, let's try extra hard to be respectful of each other and these very special substances.
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Don't take candy from strangers

I grew up in the 80's. I was only five when a police officer addressed my class and warned us that strangers might try to give us LSD. I'm completely serious. We were five! Why would they say something like that to us? My mom still jokes about my over-the-top childhood fear of strangers, and those morons certainly didn't help.

I assume that reports of people dosing each other have often been wildly exaggerated, not that it never happens. I've also heard accounts of a cruel game in which curious but inexperienced users are dosed with fake LSD and then encouraged to describe the experience as it unfolds. I hear fake LSD can cause mild hallucinations, lasting for up to an hour, or until someone tells you it was fake.

Which is worse: giving people drugs they like, but don't necessarily want, or denying people drugs that they absolutely want and desperately need according to their doctors?

dosed

when my wife was in her early teens she got dosed at a polka dance for cryin out loud, and had a horrible time of it. no experience. i was a social worker and my boss and i got dosed at a patient's house during a home visit. my boss freaked (no experience) and our employer wanted to hospitalize us both! i had to run out of the building cause all i needed was a six-pack and a campfire to ride it out.

this is so not acceptable

These people need to be straightened out, hopefully they'll figure it out quick. No room for this, zero, in psychedelic communities.

Such a strange thing

I got dosed at a huge multi-day concert this past summer. I had had experience before with mind-altering substances so I knew what had happened, and for this I was able to prepare my mind somewhat properly. I had to tell the friends that I was with that I needed to "take off" for the night and I would make it back to the campsite later. Hence, the setting was at least a little bit set.
But what transpired afterwards was incredible in two fantastic ways: one, it was almost a religious experience that took me from out of nowhere.
two, a conspiracy was afoot, and I know its easy to say that it was probably a result of LSD but I confirmed it with my friends the next day. There was a guy standing next to me (while I was still with my friends) who dressed just like me, had a red backpack, with a camelback, but was also sporting a Richard Nixon mask. And he was there for no other reason than to have fun, or make fun, or try and freak me out, or whatever. Strange.
Because then I thought that there is this subculture of Dosers who are either trying to free people in a sly way, or trying to scare them. Either way, its messed up. I ended up having an incredible night, and rang through the spectrum of vibrations and emotions, but I can see how someone (unexperienced) could have a terrible time, and possibly suffer some slight psychological scarring.

Anyway, the intent that I felt from these people was not all bad, but it was not all good either; as if they were an elite group who elected themselves to be the Joker. Enough IS enough... intent IS everything.

LSD is not going to go away,

LSD is not going to go away, so neither will the occasional but always unethical dosing to the unprepared. However, repealing the prohibition against LSD (and, for that matter, all drugs) will create an environment where awareness of such a possibility is heightened with known antidotes readily available: a Xanax or two will usually do the trick.

I first took LSD in the summer of 1970; 300 micrograms of Orange Sunshine. Set and setting were properly observed, so the experience was not only positive but thoroughly enlightening. And during the subsequent 37 years of tripping the light fantastic, with set and setting always paramount, not once have I experienced a bad trip or flashback. In fact, since that momentous summer afternoon it has been all flashforward...

In October 2003 my wife and I had the honor and privilege of spending a long afternoon alone with Albert Hofmann and his lovely wife in their Swiss home. We drank Albert's homemade plum scnapps, told a few lies and solved the problems of the world. We accepted his gracious invitation to attend his 100th birthday celebration in Basel, and remain pen pals.

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