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Erowid Extracts #8
The Lines of Communication Are Now Open...
by Earth & Fire Erowid
Jun 2005
Citation:   Erowid E, Erowid F. "Introduction: Issue 8." Erowid Extracts. Jun 2005;8:1.
Ten years have passed since we first registered the domain name and started putting pages about psychoactives on the web. In that time, the landscape of information and communication technologies has changed dramatically. So dramatically that it's sometimes difficult to remember what the original challenges and goals of the project were.

There has been a dramatic increase in access to diverse information about psychoactive plants and chemicals. In a surprising moment of realization about the global reach of the site, last year we met an individual who told us that while visiting Zimbabwe, he met a group of people who had recently gained access to ketamine. When he asked how they knew how much to use, they replied that they had looked it up on a website called Erowid.

Some of the most pernicious drug myths, once believed by experimenting students on campuses across the country, are now easily dismissed. Physicians faced with a patient reporting use of an unheard-of substance can quickly access needed details. Others, interested in the effects of psychoactives on the mind, brain, and consciousness, can stay current on the latest data and research.

Many questions remain, but they are now more focused and accurate. What are the potential negative effects of the occasional use of MDMA? Does cannabis pose risks to the mental health of the average user? What elements distinguish healthy and positive use from harmful and negative experiences? With many other colleagues in the field, we're doing our part to illuminate the answers.

Most importantly, the lines of communication are now open. We're actively working to engage a diverse array of people in the continued development of the site. We network together researchers and physicians, writers and teachers, students and experimenters, to share their perspectives in the furtherance of the evolution of knowledge. Everyone has something to contribute, whether it's reviewing a book, sharing an experience, writing an article, or analyzing recent research.

Erowid friends and members are key to the success of the project, and over the years you've all shown amazing support. We love the notes, gifts, and stories we receive, from beautifully crafted origami cranes, hand-drawn artwork and illustrated poems, to a few dollars anonymously mailed with a simple "Thanks".

Along with these letters of support, we often receive questions about how and why Erowid was started. We've taken this opportunity to write a history of the first ten years of Erowid (see page 12).

Erowid is a small organization with minimal paid staff, but we're big on ideas and technology and have a large network of volunteers and friends in virtually every relevant field. We are actively trying to engage more members to help us see more clearly where the organization stands and what opportunities lie ahead. Friends of Erowid are invited to participate in this re-visioning process (see page 14).

We've enjoyed the past ten years and look forward to working with and hearing from you all in the future.