Is LSD available in 2014 on the black market?
||I have used LSD a number of times in the past but have found it harder and harder to find. I haven't been able to find any at all in the last few years. I thought maybe Erowid would know whether LSD is still being sold anywhere in the world on the black market?|
||Short Answer: Yes, d-LSD-25, the defining psychedelic of the late 20th century, is still globally available in 2014. It is harder to find good quality LSD in 2014 than it was 20 years ago, but it is definitely still produced and sold at large-scale commercial levels and used by people around the world.|
Long Answer: In the 1990s, good quality* LSD on blotter and in liquid was widely available and the summer festival events and jam band circuits were reliable distribution mechanisms for large amounts of retail LSD around North America and Europe.
Starting with busts in the late 1990s including the arrest of chemist Nick Sand in 1996 and culminating in the 'silo bust' in November 2000, LSD distribution in the United States was disrupted for several years. The DEA trumpeted it as a major victory, but this 'victory' is becoming increasingly Pyrrhic as new drugs potent enough to substitute for LSD on blotter have become globally available; more on that topic below. According to the US-only Monitoring the Future survey from 2011, past-year use of LSD by 18-year-olds in the USA dropped from 8.1% in 1999 to 1.9% a decade later.
In 2003, we wrote an article, "LSD Analysis: Do we know what's in street acid?", that we presented at a Mind States conference. Much of the work for that article was done prior to the distribution network breakdown. At the conference we were asked on stage "Where has all the LSD gone?". One of the common conversations at the 2003 Mind States in Berkeley was about the sudden lack of availability of LSD and speculation about the cause.
In 2005 and 2006, we conducted a series of surveys about LSD on the Erowid.org website and one of the surveys asked about availability. The article, "Erowid Visitors on LSD: The Results of Eight LSD-Related Surveys Conducted on Erowid Between Oct 2005 and Jan 2006"documents the results--around 70% of respondents said that LSD was "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to acquire or was "unavailable".
In July 2013, Erowid published an article, "Spotlight on NBOMes: Potent Psychedelic Issues". The article discussed how the sub-milligram-active NBOMe series of chemicals had become commonplace in the United States and Europe, being sold on blotter with designs intentionally giving the false impression that the blotter contained LSD. We do not know of any reliable source of information about how widespread falsely substituted NBOMe blotter is in the LSD market, but we know that it was a major issue at festivals and in retail sales around the world during 2013. In addition, numerous news stories have reported deaths and hospitalizations initially attributed to LSD, but which later toxicology found to involve the NBOMe class instead.
Prior to 2010, other chemicals had also been sold as acid on blotter and in "liquid LSD". In the late 2000s, Bromo-Dragonfly was sold as LSD in a few cases that lead to hospitalizations and a couple deaths. The DO[x] series (DOI, DOB, DOC) has been sold on blotter for at least twenty years, though their duration and bitter taste limited how well they could substitute for LSD in retail situations.
In 2013, LSZ and AL-LAD, both ergoloids with similarities to LSD, became available for sale online on blotter. However all of the blotter with these two chemicals on them that we've seen as of February 2014 have had the identity of the chemical clearly printed on each dose unit.
Silk Road, the online black market that was shut down in early October 2013 (although new Silk Road instances are cropping up all the time.), had numerous sellers offering blotter dosed with NBOMes that were designed to be sold as LSD. Also, Silk Road had numerous LSD vendors over its 2.5 year history who sold products that were not good quality LSD or were not LSD at all. A group formed on the Silk Road forums called the "LSD Avengers" that tested and acted as quality control for the Silk Road-sourced acid. The LSD Avengers documented that there were several vendors on Silk Road that reliably sold good quality LSD. Unfortunately those forums are no longer available, although there is a partial archive of the old Silk Road at Antilop.cc but we do not know of any complete archive of the LSD Avengers's results. With Silk Road's demise, there is no current (Feb 2014) equivalent public market place or acid product review system.
The LSD Avengers reportedly make mid 2014 home on Majestic Garden Forums (Tor required).
In 2014, at the commercial wholesale level, stereo-isomer-specific, pure LSD crystal is still available based on unpublished, but reliable sources. Although Erowid does not have any contact with federal police organizations in the United States for political reasons (they won't talk to us), police toxicology labs in other countries are more willing to privately discuss testing that they conduct.
One of the main visualizations we've offered when people ask us why they can't find LSD (or other illegal drugs) is that it's more representative to think about distribution networks than it is to think about supply volumes. If your neighbor had a kilogram of LSD, they would likely do everything they could to keep you and their other neighbors from knowing about it. It is less a question of how much LSD is available and more a question of whether you are a node in the active distribution network.
To give one example of semi-recent LSD distribution, Oshan Cook was convicted in 2012 of possessing 10 grams of LSD when he was caught in 2010. See: San Francisco Man Sentenced to 151 Months for LSD and Ecstasy Trafficking Offenses. Although 2010 is four years ago, it is worth noting that the vast majority of dealers are never caught for psychedelic distribution. Distribution of psychedelics is more expensive to stop than distribution of drugs such as cocaine that are used frequently. Drugs that require constant refilling of user supplies and are more voluminous by dose make smuggling operations easier to detect. Without exaggeration, one hundred years' worth of a normal user's use of LSD would fit easily into a single letter envelope.
Although the US Drug Enforcement Administration or the FBI would probably be the best sources of information about distribution and retail sales of LSD, neither provides raw, reviewable data separated from the politics of the Drug War. LSD is a low-priority, low-media-splash problem. There are, as far as we know, no citable, reviewable data sources to answer the question of how widely available d-LSD is.
With that being said, however, the Erowid crew is confident that while pure LSD is harder to get in 2014 than it was in 2000 and buyers are more likely to unwittingly receive liquid or blotter that contains a drug other than LSD, high quality LSD is unquestionably still being produced, distributed, and sold around the world.
Good Quality LSD: By "Good Quality LSD" we just mean acid that contains at least racemic LSD, somewhere around the dose range as represented. A blotter with 10 micrograms of racemic LSD, meaning it is only about 50% active, sold as 100 micrograms of LSD would be "bad" or "weak" acid. Although the 'holy grail' for LSD is d-LSD, stereoisomer-specific chemical that has been stored completely cleaned up from impurities and stored in light-free, oxygen-free storage. However racemic LSD stored in normal conditions can still be 'good' by normal standards.
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