Dear Eden,

I think it’s important to respond to your opinion piece in the Daily Nexus (Thursday, May 19, 2016) “That Escalated Quickly: Why You Should Do Acid”. As the Director of the UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program, I am concerned that the information you have provided for students may not have included some very important facts and precautions about acid use and this may lead students to believe that all acid is created equal. Unfortunately, much of the product being offered in Isla Vista is not pure, not safe and definitely not LSD. Our community has seen the profound tragedies that can occur when students do not know enough about the drugs they are using recreationally.

I received emails from two of the Life of the Party (LOTP) peers who read your opinion piece, and wanted me to share their concerns with you and other Nexus readers. LOTP Peer Ellie Zwirn feels that ”People who are interested in taking psychedelics SHOULD consider the health and legal risks that come with trying drugs. They need to do their research as to where they should take it and under what conditions.

Isaiah Lee Escobar Henry, another LOTP peer, agrees with Ellie’s concerns and states that “The author’s claim that psychedelics can ‘help treat depression, anxiety, and alcoholism’ isn’t supported by the inclusion of these specific “scientific reports” and doesn’t take into account that any one of those mental health disorders affect individuals differently and have to be treated as such”.

Both Ellie and Isaiah shared their concerns that your opinion piece did not acknowledge the potential risks that can occur when students are not able to confirm the purity or safety of the drug. ”Nowhere does this article mention the possibility of accidentally buying bad acid”, Ellie offered…“no matter how prepared you are, if you get a bad batch you will regret it. Readers shouldn’t just ‘screw’ any hesitations they have because at that point they probably aren’t ready to embark on this drug-induced journey.”  

Isaiah added that “Individuals will react to these chemicals (no matter what the amount it) differently and one person’s experience won’t be the same across the board. Eden’s experience is subjective and anecdotal at most; not empirical or able to be generalized in the slightest. Although I support that individuals should be able to try what they would like, I find the lack of necessary safety information about these substances to be an act of negligence on part of the author.”

UCSB students who are familiar with the services of the UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program know that we are not here to offer judgment or criticism of students’ choices about alcohol and drug use; we are here to provide a safe place to educate and support students in making the safest decisions. Our services are free and confidential and we encourage students to utilize other resources on the campus and in the community to identify reliable and dependable information.

Jackie Kurta, PsyD.,MFT

Director, UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program

Student Health