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Steve J Otto

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Can You Pass the Acid Test?
by Steve J Otto   

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Publisher:  PublishAmerica ISBN-10:  1424170591 Type: 


Copyright:  June 11, 2007 ISBN-13:  9781424170593

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A History of the Drug and Sex Counterculture and Its Censorship in the 20th Century

Barnes &
Powell's Books
Country Bookshop UK
Steve Otto's Books

The “acid test” was a name for large concerts, with groups such as the Grateful Dead, where free LSD (then legal) was available for those in attendance. The title of this book comes from a flyer advertising one such event. But the outbreak of LSD and marijuana in the 1960s was not the beginning of the drug counterculture as we know it today. This book presents examples of drug use and sex-promoting cliques around music, magazines, newspapers, clothing and other forms of culture that countered the established norms and often brought about the government’s wrath. This book is a comprehensive look at these counterculture trends from the 1990s back through the late 1800s. Here is a comprehensive reference book to songs, publications and objects of art that reflected the last century’s countercultures, as well as government and mainstream press attempts to censor them. 


1930s and 1920s
“The Dope Menace,” in Good Housekeeping (Feb. 1935), was a good
example of the type of yellow journalism that helped create the failed
policies of drug prohibition. In an example in the article:
“Only a few states are making the slightest effort to run down the dope peddlers and lock them up. In most of our states the local illicit narcotics
peddler is permitted to carry on his hideous trade openly. Indeed, the
statute books of most states provide no punishment whatever for the crime
of dope peddling.”
Statistics were given that seem remarkably similar to those in the
1960s through the 1980s.
“Hon. Harry J. Anslinger, United States Commissioner of Narcotics,
warned us that there were more than 100,000 confirmed addicts in this
country, each a potential creator of other addicts.”
The emphasis on youth was also present. According to Dr. Walter L.
Treadway, the article quoted:
“Youth is especially susceptible. Addiction is usually found between
the ages of twenty and thirty-five. Fifty percent of all our drug addicts
were established in their vice before the age of twenty-five; and threefourths
of them before the age of thirty.”
Marijuana was also attacked with the same kinds of arguments made
in the movie Reefer Madness. For example the article quoted Isabella
Ahearn O’Neill, special contact woman between the Federal Narcotics
Bureau and the state governors, federal district judges and United States
district attorneys of the entire country:
“But by far the gravest danger to our young people from any narcotic
drug,” she said, “is from marijuana. Warn all parents and educators that
there is an increasing addiction to marijuana in this country; that in some
instances it has invaded the colleges and high schools.”
O’Neill was an advocate of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act, an
early example of drug prohibition.
The article described marijuana use this way:
“Marijuana first exhilarates and releases the addict from all dictates of
conscience or emotional restraint; it also excites sexually. Next follows a
stage of dullness, melancholia, and stupor. Continued use of it leads to
The article had a drawing of an arm with a whip and a cut-line under
it that says “The Uniform State Narcotics Drug Act, a whip that lies ready
to the strong hand of the law, will scourge the purveyors of living death
from the land—if you do your part.”226
The apparent aim of this article was to get the public behind further drug prohibition. In the last line, it encouraged people to contact their
state legislators in favor of the drug act.

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