The World Is Running Out Of LSD

Most people think it’s down to the arrest of one man.

Those of us who like to draw self portraits during our LSD trips are going to have to look for a new hobby, because i09 is reporting that there’s currently a worldwide shortage of LSD.

Most people are pointing to the 2000 arrest of a man named William L. Pickard, a UCLA researcher who was busted trying to turn a decommissioned missile silo into his drug lab. Pickard was allegedly one of the biggest LSD suppliers in the world; a “superbrilliant chemist” and Buddhist priest who’d already served 4 years for LSD possession in the late 80s.


In America, LSD-related hospital visits dropped significantly since his arrest. They were over 5,000 in 1999 and fell to 900 in 2002. Every year since then it’s hovered between the 2,000 and 4,000 range.

David Nichols of Purdue University says about Pickard:

It is known that immediately after the arrest of Pickard, LSD almost disappeared from the streets. He was a major U.S., if not international manufacturer.

Nichols also says that LSD is relatively simple to make:

LSD is a fairly sensitive chemical, requiring it to be kept out of bright lights, and stored in the dark and a cool place. But anyone with some basic organic chemistry lab skills could make it if they could get an ergot alkaloid and few other reagents.


So why isn’t anyone else making it? The problem is that key ingredient “ergot alkaloid” is near impossible to get a hold of.

Pickard had connections in Eastern Europe, where ergot alkaloids are less stringently controlled. In the West, ergot alkaloids are ‘watched chemicals’. You simply can’t purchase them unless you are a legitimate and responsible company with a genuine need for them. If the suppliers are complying with U.S. law, an ordinary person simply can’t buy them.

Ergot alkaloid is most commonly found in Hungary and the Czech Republic, but you’d need an import license to take them anywhere which is also near impossible to obtain.

Kinda sucks, especially for this guy.


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