Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who promoted LSD and other mind-bending psychiatric drugs, was arrested and imprisoned for drug-related crimes.
Photo credit: DEA/Timothy Leary arrest
because of its similarity to a chemical present in the brain and its similarity in effects to certain aspects of psychosis, LSD was used in experiments by psychiatrists through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. While the researchers failed to discover any medical use for the drug, the free samples supplied by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals for the experiments were distributed broadly, leading to wide use of this substance.
LSD was popularized in the 1960s by individuals such as psychologist Timothy Leary, who encouraged American students to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” This created an entire counterculture of drug abuse and spread the drug from America to the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Even today, use of LSD in the United Kingdom is significantly higher than in other parts.
Psychiatric mind-control programs focusing on LSD and other hallucinogens created a generation of acidheads.
While the ‘60s counterculture used the drug to escape the problems of society, the Western intelligence community and the military saw it as a potential chemical weapon. In 1951, these organizations began a series of experiments. US researchers noted that LSD “is capable of rendering whole groups of people, including military forces, indifferent to their surroundings and situations, interfering with planning and judgment, and even creating apprehension, uncontrollable confusion and terror.”