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Some Web Sites for Reliable Information on Drugs - Mostly
by Dale Pendell
Spring, 2000
Originally published in The Whole Earth Review
There are easily a hundred good sites relating to drug issues, from recreational use to scientific research to legal issues. The most widely used drug in our culture is caffeine, but I'm not going to mention the wonderful sites devoted to coffee and tea or give much consideration to pharmaceutical drugs or prescription psychotropics. I'm using "drugs" more the way D.A.R.E. does, as substances to which we are told to say "No," including VISIONARY plants and drugs, my focus here.

Here are sites for accurate and original material (and also hubs for the Web community). See Erowid for information about Senate Bill 486, sponsored by Orrin Hatch and Dianne Feinstein, which threatens the very existence of these sites-and even Whole Earth reviews such as this one. SB 486, the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999, would make it a crime, punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years, to publish information about the use of amphetamines or any other scheduled substance on the Internet or by "any other means." Inform yourself, then contact your Representative.

-- DP

For best general Web sites devoted to --or with substantial space given to--drug information, my vote goes to both and

The Vaults of Erowid's stated purpose is to "rediscover the roots of human spirituality." The site is very active and well organized, with new information being added constantly. They keep track in an amazing matrix that functions as a two-dimensional table of contents. The left column lists more than eighty chemical drugs and psychoactive plants, and another hundred pharmaceutical drugs, smart drugs, and medicinal herbs. The x-axis is a series of eighteen topics such as "Images," "Experiences," "Laws," "Writings," "Medical," and "Media." Boxes where the rows and columns intersect contain Os (live links to information) or Xs (information yet to be found). The vault "Spirituality & Religion" is filled with articles and links about spiritual techniques, texts from many traditions, and a section on religious freedom. "Arts and Sciences" covers subjects from Burning Man to mythology. "Freedom and Law" is a welt-organized set of links to drug laws, court decisions, government agencies, legal resources, and more.

In late 1999, the Hyperreal Drug Archives (formerly located at shut down, and their content was merged with Erowid's. The archives include the old alt.drugs.database, what we old-timers read before there was a Web. The collection is still the source of some of the best drug information on the Web.

The Lycaeum grew out of the Visionary Plant List. Their "Drug Information Archives" include chemistry and pharmacology and pages for visionary art, an audio archive, a chat room, and a score of other sites from around the world. Great links and an "EntheoCrawler" search engine. The Lycaeum's management is in a state of transition, and the site is not so active at the moment, but its information is still useful.

Best site for current drug research and scholarship: (See MAPS, above.)

Best site for access to legislative and legal issues: DRCNet is the Drug Reform Coordination Network. Its site includes the large Psychedelic Library, news of current legislative actions relating to drug laws, and links to more than fifty organizations, including NORML, the Lindesmith Center, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR), the Harm Reduction Coalition, and the Drug Policy Foundation.

Best site relating to the religious use of drugs: CSP is the Council on Spiritual Practices. They have a very helpful code of ethics for spiritual guides. The CSP site also hosts the "Entheogen Chrestomathy," maintained by Thomas Roberts and Paula Jo Hruby. The Chrestomathy is a large bibliography of books relating to entheogens, spirituality, transpersonal psychology, anthropology, and mysticism. Each entry lists bibliographic data and contents, along with a lengthy excerpt. Some of the titles are unpublished doctoral dissertations that are obscure and hard to find. A very valuable resource.

The best visionary online bookstore: Proprietor Bob Wallace maintains an impressively complete collection of in-print books, magazines, and pamphlets relating to all aspects of visionary drugs.