A War On Drugs
How the CIA Dosed Citizens with LSD
At first, the CIA thought LSD would make them virtual masters of the universe. Later, after sober second thought, they realized they might have to set their sights little lower, but they continued their enthusiasm for the drug (which Richard Helms called “dynamite”)
The hippies and other counterculture movements weren’t the only groups to experiment with mind-altering substances. Starting in 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency conducted research on psychedelic drugs as part of a top-secret behaviour modification program codenamed MKULTRA. This bizarre project saw the CIA undertake an extensive—and ethically dubious—series of psychological experiments involving hypnosis, shock therapy, interrogation, and hallucinogens like LSD.
The CIA wanted to acquaint its own operatives with the effects of the drug. Under MKUltra’s umbrella, LSD — invented in 1938 by chemist Albert Hofmann — was tested on CIA agents and unwitting civilians. In 2006, a man named Wayne Ritchie brought a case claiming that in 1957, he had attempted to rob a bar due to LSD testing at an office Christmas party. Unfortunately for Ritchie, and others, the link between dosings and terrible consequences have been hard to prove.