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Harvard Issues Warning on “Mind-Distorting” Drugs

Nov. 28, 1962 - A formal warning about the dangers of “mind-distorting drugs” was issued to undergraduates of Harvard College today. Research on such drugs has been conducted by Dr. Timothy Leary (left) and Dr. Richard Alpert (right) at the college. The research has attracted so much attention that many who wanted to participate in the experiments had to be turned away. Today’s statement was issued by John U. Monro, dean of Harvard College, and Dr. Dana L. Farnsworth, director of University Health Services, in a letter to The Harvard Crimson, the undergraduate newspaper. The statement said: “It has come to our attention that a number of undergraduates are becoming interested in the effects of LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide], psilocybin, mescaline, and other mind-distorting drugs. Our concern for this development is such that, for over a year, we have had an agreement that Harvard University experimenters studying the effects of such drugs should not employ undergraduates as subjects in their research work. It is important to warn undergraduates that the ingestion of these drugs may result in serious hazards to the mental health and stability even of apparently normal persons. The drugs have been known to seriously intensify a tendency toward depression and to produce other dangerous psychotic effects.” In related news, the FDA said today it was investigating the possible bootlegging of LSD.


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