The title of the June 9 Ann Landers column in the LA Times is

          LSD Still Dangerous as It Was in the '60s

which is perhaps true but rather misleading.  :-)  (As in, "not very.")
Here's the letter and her reply - as you can see, she invites letters on
the subject, so I hope you all write polite, terse and catchy letters
debunking some of the myths about this drug.  Citing fact-filled
references might help too.  

Dear Ann: I read your column in the Stars and Stripes newspater in
Ankara, Turkey, where I work for a contractor.

Recently, there was an article in Stars and Stripes about how LSD is
making a big comeback among the youth of America.  I was a teen-ager in
the 1960s, and although I never was involved in the drug scene, I
remember hearing a lot of horror stories about young people jumping in
front of trains, off roofs and out of windows while under the influence
of LSD.  

I am very concerned for this new generation of LSD users.  I realize
most teen-agers do not listen to their elders, but I do feel that a
great many of them read your column and pay attention to you say.  Maybe
if you would encourage readers who have had some experiences with LSD in
the '60s to write, you could publish some letters saying how this drug
ruined their youth and possibly their adult years as well.  Some
families lost loved ones because of LSD, and perhaps they could tell
today's teens how if affected their lives.

Please do what you can to open the eyes of this new generation.

      - K.A.S.

Dear K.A.S.: The prospect of this dangerous drug making a comeback is

This mind-altering drug has been responsible for many deaths.
Flashbacks, which can occur years after the user has sworn off the drug,
can be frightening.  

Thank you for suggesting that individuals who have had experience with
LSD write to me.  I will be happy to share some of the letters with my
                                          482 King's College Road
                                                 Fredericton N.B.
                                                   Canada E3B 2G5

Ann Landers
c/o Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611


I felt compelled to write, having read your ill-considered and
ill-informed response to a letter bemoaning the perceived
increase in popularity of LSD in America.  While I agree that the
drug has profound effects which can seriously affect the
judgement of users, I think that hysteria and hyperbole do more
harm than good.

The total number of deaths attributable to errors in judgement or
suicidal behaviour involving LSD since its discovery 50 years ago
is vanishingly small in comparison to the number involving
alcohol in any single day in recent years in North America. It is
not toxic--at least in any reasonable dose--the amount required
to kill a person would probably get the entire population of
Chicago very high indeed. It also is not addictive in the least.
Psychologists who have studied it have likened the synaesthetic
experience of psychedelic drugs to the way a newborn baby
experiences its environment before it learns to "filter out" most
of the incoming stimuli.

I have not taken LSD for nearly 15 years, but I took it perhaps
25 times over a period of about 10 years, from my late teens
until my late twenties, so I think I have a reasonably objective
point of view.  I am a responsible professional person, and so
are the majority of the friends with whom I indulged in this
singular experience--they have gone on to become doctors,
lawyers, psychiatric nurses, university professors, musicians,
writers--and not one ever threw him/herself in front of a train.
LSD, like many other drugs, can be seriously abused, but under
the right circumstances--a comfortable, secure, non-threating
environment with a few close friends, it can be one of the most
profound, enlightening, beautiful, and yes, religious experiences
of a lifetime.  I would not have missed it for the world, and I
know that I am a better person for having experienced it. And, by
the way, I have never had a "flashback", and neither has anybody
I know.  I would recommend the experience unreservedly to anyone
with a desire for self-knowledge who is comfortable in her/his
own skin.

Timothy J. Keenan

P.S.  I hope that you will publish a few of the hundreds of
letters you are bound to receive from people whose lives have
been positively affected by LSD..I have included my name and
address so that you will know that I am serious, but would prefer
that you not publish them.

Tim Keenan
Department of Forest Resources
Dear Ann Landers,

I couldn't believe what I read in your column about LSD this morning.  I have
read your column every day since I was 12 (I am now 22), but I will never read
it again.  In fact, I have already cancelled my subscription to my local paper
(The San Jose Mercury News).  The letter from K.A.S., and your response were
full of propaganda.  I urge you to show me one documented case of someone who
jumped off a building or in front of a train while on LSD.  In your response you
said, "This mind altering drug has been responsible for many deaths."  Show me
your sources? Where did you hear this?  I have taken LSD 7 times in the past 3
years, and never had the urge to jump off of, or in front of anything.  Neither
have the hundreds of people I have talked to who have also taken LSD.  So why
did I take LSD?  I had heard many good and bad things about it.  I did my own
research, discovered that all the bad things were myths and fabrications.  What
did it do for me?  It turned my life around.  Before I took LSD, I was
unemployed, living with friends for free, and basically doing nothing with my
life.  The experience, which was the most spiritual event I have ever been a
part of.  It opened my eyes and helped to point me in the right direction.
I discovered myself and the direction I wanted my life to take.  I now work 60+
hours a week for a rapidly growing computer firm.  I also attend college full
time and I am one year away from a B.S. in electrical engineering from Santa
Clara University.  Oh, I also smoke marijuana three to four times per week.
Marijuana helps me to think of new and creative ways to solve problems, but
that is another story.  People like you, who take advantage of their position in
society to force their beliefs on others, should be silenced.


LSD Turned My Life Around.
Dear Ann Landers,

    I read that you would like readers to share with you their
experiences with LSD.  I am a member of the new wave of LSD users that
is occasionally commented on in the press.  I am twenty-four years old
and I discovered LSD in 1988. I have been using it a handful of times
each year ever since.

    From the first experience on, LSD has given me an intellectually
challenging, spiritually enlightening, and very pleasurable part of my
life.  Discovering LSD was like discovering the use of my legs, or like
removing a blindfold from my eyes.

    The laws against the use of LSD are mandating intellectual
crutches and spiritual blindfolds.

    LSD may not be for everybody, but a great many people can
receive tremendous benefit from it.  Banning LSD because some people
have bad trips is like banning cars because some people have

P.S.  And this "acid head" is no unmotivated drop-out.  1988, the
year of my first acid trip, was also the year I started out at
California Polytechnic State University.  I now have a degree in
Computer Science and a job as a software engineer.  I also work as a
freelance writer in my spare time.
Dear Ann and others interested,

I know you'll be getting many letters about LSD use that are pro-LSD.
Many people will be claiming to have had all sorts of beneficial
experiences due to their LSD use, but few will give concrete details.
Perhaps my story will be appreciated by you and your readers.

Other than a little alcohol in my senior year, I used no recreational
drugs while in high school.  I started as a freshman believing the
propaganda that had been fed me in my elementary and junior high
classes.  By the time I was done with High School, I had learned that
many of the claims the government had been spreading were simply lies
(reports of chromosome damage, urban legends of people staring at the
sun under the influence of marijuana, dope-peddlers getting rich
selling to elementary school kids--there's a well-heeled clientelle).
I swung fairly hard in the opposite direction and believed almost
NOTHING I was told.

I took LSD and was quite interested by my initial experiences.  I
continued to take LSD and became less concerned with discretion since
my first few trips were quite normal by LSD standards.  However, one
time I did take several "hits" and through a stroke of fate, I was
separated from the straight people I was with.  Unfortunately, while
removed from anyone who knew what was going on, I had "a bad trip".  I
wasn't unhappy, I was just VERY out of touch with reality.  So far out
of touch, that I did in fact wander out to an intersection in Boston
and jump on top of cars that had come to stop at an intersection.
Some of them rightly accelerated very quickly, leaving me to drop on
the pavement.  I'm very lucky that I wasn't badly hurt, although a
dozen years later I still have a small scar on my hip.

When I came to my senses I was able to put together what had happened
and I realized that I came close to losing my life.  Still, I tried
LSD a few more times after that and "severely lost touch with reality"
each time--once even resulting in arrest.  I eventually decided that
LSD was not something that *my* brain could handle, although I didn't
know why so many people I had talked to were totally puzzled by what
had happened to me.

Now here's the tricky part.  A few years ago my mother, a Professor in
a state university, began acting weird.  At the time, I was living
over a thousand miles a way, but my sister kept me aprised of the
situation.  Interestingly enough, many of my mother's delusions struck
me as similar in nature (although not in content) to those that I had
on my "bad trips."  This was during a very stressful time for my
mother.  She had just published a textbook and was anxiously awaiting
the reception it would get from critics and even more difficult was
the fact that she was up for tenure.

As she started "weirding out" she sought help from a _psychologist_.
The psychologist had my mother discussing various events from the past
and various current events, but wasn't suggesting medication or that
my mother seek help from a psychiatrist.  During this time my mother
was sufficiently confused that she would beg me to help her resign at
from the university.  This was doubly peculiar: in an unimpaired
capacity she would not need my helpto do such a thing for her.  She
certainly earned her Ph.D.  without my help.  In addition she enjoyed
her work and was thought highly of at the University.

My experiences with LSD were sufficiently close to what my mother was
going through that both my sister and I INSISTED she see a
psychiatrist.  By then she was such a basket case that she really
couldn't even resist.  She was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance and
prescribed medication.  She has done very well since then.  If she had
been left in her psychologist's hands, she never would have gotten the
treatment she needed.  Her behaviour was so erratic and bizarre that
if I hadn't already been seen something similar, I might have written
my own mother off as an incurable loony.

So now, it looks like there may be a slight chemical imbalance running
in my family.  At the time I was taking LSD I was also spending
inordinate time playing with and programming computers, sometimes not
sleeping for forty-eight hours at a time.  So adding LSD temporarily
pushed me over the edge for a few hours, while my totally straight
mother took no LSD but had much worse and longer "trips".

I honestly think that had I not been lied to so much in my youth, that
I'd have been more responsible with my use of LSD, but even though I
had some major troubles with it, I'm glad that I had the experience to
recognize what was happening to my mother.  I now live in the same
town that she does and we both keep tabs on one another.  She got
tenure and I have my own company (I program computers and employ
others to do the same).  In fact, I'm writing this letter as I wait
for the computer to finish some tasks that I've requested so that our
next product can be distributed for testing.