LSD is the latest trend in Lebanon's drug scene

By Expat98 · May 11, 2008 · ·
  1. Expat98
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    LSD is the latest trend in Lebanon's drug scene

    Published: Friday, 9 May, 2008 @ 7:07 AM in Beirut (GMT+2)

    By Hala Alyan

    "It's like being part of a huge spiritual experience. When it hits you and you look around the room and realize that everyone is sharing it with you...that's what it means to me."

    With these words, a waifish university student summed up what it means to be in on one of Beirut's best-kept drug culture secrets: acid. While LSD has made appearances in Lebanon in the past, the city of all-night raves is better known in drug terms for substances like hashish, cocaine and ecstasy than it is for Lysergic acid diethylamide, the psychedelic drug that is as much a symbol of the free love, flower power, hippie days as the VW bug.

    Indeed, acid wasn't really on anyone's radar in Beirut until quite recently. People in the scene say that it was sometime around the early Fall of 2007 that it began to be more accessible, after a select group of Beirut dealers began offering LSD on a regular basis. Although it happens to be a relatively easy drug to produce, people seem to suspect that acid is not being manufactured within Lebanon, but rather, that it is being smuggled in from various cities in Europe. "The tickets are really, really thin," said an English literature student who has lately begun dropping acid with a group of close friends. "They're so portable that you could probably put them in books or between clothes without any problem."

    "Tickets" are the most widely available form of acid in Beirut, made when a sheet of thin blotter paper is soaked in a solution of acid and then cut into 25 tabs. Each ticket is multicolored and has a logo stamped on every tab. As such, each tab has its own unique streaks of colors, depending on which part of the ticket it is taken from, and is referred to by its logo, i.e., as the "bicycle," or the "Hofmann" or the "Rolling Stone."

    As for cost, users say that acid is like any other recreational drug in Beirut; the price "depends on who you know." If you happen to be friendly with a "top" dealer, i.e. someone who receives one of the initial batches, a tab can cost a mere $6. The farther down the drug-dealing hierarchy your dealer is, however, the more the prices spike, reaching up to $30 per tab.

    Even if the smuggling process is relatively easy, LSD has not so much flooded the mainstream drug market in Beirut as quietly become accessible to choice participants, mostly university students between the ages of 17 and 22.

    For dealers, keeping the circle of acid-droppers small is a practical matter. The fear is that, since LSD is a relatively lesser-known drug in Lebanon, people might start taking it without understanding its effects, and a string of bad trips could attract the attention of authorities, or worse, get someone badly hurt. The psychological effects of LSD vary from person to person, and a single dose can sometimes have long-term negative effects.

    But for the people interviewed, the focus was only on connection they felt to the people with whom they communally drop acid several times a month. "I hate the idea that there are people who are taking acid and not appreciating it," said the literature student. "I don't want it to become popular so that people will take it just to get [messed up], because that's not what acid is about...It's about sharing a trip with other people and feeling it with them."

    Another young woman with heavily-lined eyes echoed similar thoughts. Rolling a cigarette as she spoke, the girl said that when she takes acid with her group, it feels like they are "in the Sixties, like we're starting our own revolution." She's happy to keep Beirut's new wealth of LSD under the radar. "All the people who want to take tabs and go clubbing just don't understand it."

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  1. daydreamr
    it's nice to know that peoples eyes are starting to be opened, and people are starting to wake up to the world around them it's beautiful.
  2. TMM
  3. Beanfondler
    They've got the alchemy there.
  4. Bajeda
    I don't think now would be a great time to take lsd in Lebanon. Too much upsetting shit going on there. I guess if you wanted to get away from the ugly socio-political reality violently manifesting itself at the moment...

    Edit: I love the Daffy Duck blotter!
  5. Benga
    just what we need...if the new civil war really settles in, should we expect to see tripped out 16 year old miliciamen ? now that would be a change from the usual cocaine-alcohol-hashish-speed-meds regimen of the last civil war....

    brasilian friend told swim that LSD is now really big in Brasil, in liquid form called the "gota", the drop...
  6. old hippie 56
    Imagine tripping balls and dodging bullets.
  7. senorsalvia
    Swim used to have to dodge artillery barrages whilst pedalling away furiously on "Hoffmans' Bicycle"!!;)---- The white phos tracers were surely a sight to behold.....
  8. Expat98
    There are a few YouTube videos of soldiers on LSD trying to do troop exercises. I don't think LSD will ever find its way into use by soldiers in combat. :)

    Here is one:

    One of the soldiers climbs a tree to try to feed the birds, and most of the rest just break down into laughter.
  9. Hyperspaceblastoff
    thats a very old picture of those blotters thats not from lebanon btw
  10. Bajeda
    You'd be surprised. Most of combat is just waiting for something to happen, and the waiting part gets very boring after a while. Enter drugs.

    Swim has heard some messed up stories from Vietnam vets concerning lsd in a war-zone. People will be people.
  11. Benga
    especially 16 year old kids... there's an ok book on the history of drug use which however has an excellent chapter on drug use during the lebanese civil war by lebanese doctor Antoine BOUSTANY "Histoire des paradis artificiels, Hachette Pluriel, Paris, 1993". Boustany apparently worked in lebanese hospitals and had to deal with quite a few drug issues, from addiction to psychosis, which plagued the fighting fringe. Thing is lebanon was a great party place before the 1975 civil war. And stayed that way during the war, with private parties full of sex and drugs and rock and roll- of course the fighters were also partying citizens who needed to unwind...

    Lebanon is traditionally a cannabis producing area, in the Bekaa valley, and was a rich westernized country when the civil war broke out- full of banks in which the persian gulf's oil money was invested, discos, casinos, millionaires and yachts, the clicheed "swiss of the middle east"- now when the civil war finally settled in after a few years of localised "troubles", lebanon was in the full swing of the carefree disco era- and however bad it got, people stayed optimistic, and partied like there was no tomorrow, which in this case could have been true. Boney M played in Beirut, what in 1982 or 1983 ? anyway, somekind of party was still going on despite the suffering, and drugs, well they were there, available.
    As the country grew stateless, local traditional strongholds and milicias took over, and money was made-weapons, smuggling of all sorts and drugs. The shiah controled bekaa valley began opium poppy farming, which proved a good supplement to cannabis, the production of which was exploding since the early 1980's, the glory days of "red lebanese" hash.
    so people were in shelters one week, partying and swimming at the Summerland, St Georges beach resorts or skiing in Faraya the next ( or both in easter- snow in the morning and beach in the afternoon, ah Lebanon...). this went on for a while, war or no war...

    And what about the militias ? well, they were fighting of course. and high as kites most of the time.
    so many drugs were used in this war, uppers to keep the energy, downers to chill or sleep, and cannabis and alcohol for whenever.
    lots of youngsters in the militias. swim remembers 16 year olds parading with Bruce Lee t-shirts, afros and AK-47's, cruising the town while hanging back from submachine ( douchka's) gun fitted pickup trucks in a slick move called "water skiing", hanging low from the gun's handles as far as one could go, hang ten... they were getting high on whatever was available ( and pretty much everything was), and even in the militias substance use was unofficially encouraged to keep up the morale and spirit.

    to the point that there were "free areas", with "free houses", where anyone could go but was asked to leave politics and weapons behind- and buy / use drugs and prostitutes. this can be seen in the cute lebanese movie "West Beirut" , about kids growing up during the civil war, btw...

    Ennemies got high together and "partied" before returning to their local neighbourhood front lines... When east and west beirut were totally closed off ( front line ran right through the middle, and was called the green line because in 15 years of fighting nature took over the city center) no one could go through, except dealers which had a kind of permanent authorisation to travel....

    now L.S.D., i wouldn't be surprised... and actually swim almost witnessed mugging / violent behaviour by suburban thugs who had taken acid near a rave in the 1990's, in europe. it was frightening and insane, very clockwork orangeish- these young guys were tripping wildly and alternating between uncontrolable bursts of laughter and pangs of verbal and physical violence which is their most common attitude. luckily no one got really hurt and no weapons were involved. if the new civil war really settles in people will take what's there.

    But i doubt that much LSD wil be smuggled into the country anymore- my best bet would be redirection of some of the cocaine shipments bound to europe from South America via west africa to a nice stateless chaos with a nice coastline such as Lebanon's, which could be handy for for european and also more eastern bound distribution
    followed by afghani heroin coming in through syria via irak, as usual...


    lebanon, one of the world's favourite handy fighting grounds...

  12. Panthers007
    The government of P.W. Botha in South Africa, back in the 1980's, stockpiled large amounts of such molecules as 2-CB, MDMA, LSD, and others. The idea was to distibute them to the population of the native peoples - through underground agents - to get them so high and loved up that they would not be capable of fighting back should civil unrest reach their concept of a boiling point.

    Nice and High - Ready for their blood bath.

    I can't imagine where they got this idea from(CIA)...But it was tracked down to show the Isreali government was involved. After Botha was deposed and Nelson Mandela was the Prime Minister, there was a flood of the drugs they had stockpiled on the international black market.

    Might be similar players in Beirut? We're not likely to know.
  13. Ontherooftops
    On the subject of eating tabs and dodging bullets.

    This practice did not end after Vietnam
    Swim has heard rather dark stories of US soldiers returning from the current Iraq war.
    LSD is smuggled by many soldiers into the war zone, its easy to transport from the states, and fairly undetectable. Its purportedly quite popular to mix the Cid with Oxycodone, which soldiers obtain fairly readily from military doctors.

    The story went something like this.

    "At first we were scared shitless, we crouched behind the tanks and it took a hell of a lot to get us to poke a head or a gun out, but by the end of my stay we just ate acid and oxys and didn't give a damn about much at all. We sat right on top of the tanks and just shot for fun, didn't really matter what or who"
  14. psychonautilus
    I found it incredibly interesting that the dealers were keeping the business intentionally slow as to not attract too much attention. Not much of that mentality is seen in most circles of dealers.
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