Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal

Tom Shroder. Penguin/Blue Rider, $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-399-16279-4
In this psychedelic patchwork of narratives, journalist Shroder (Old Souls) explores the therapeutic possibilities of LSD and Ecstasy (MDMA), and,more broadly,the potential of the human mind. Known as recreational drugs, LSD and MDMA have been proven to treat PTSD and similar anxiety disorders effectively. While Shroder provides scientific support for his arguments, stories trump studies in his descriptions of the prevalence, advantages, and—perhaps most significantly—vivid experiences of drug use. Guided by Shroder’s easy narrative tone, readers follow an activist, a marine, and a physician-turned-psychiatrist who developed a philosophy of psychedelic therapy through self-experimentation. Their lives intertwine across an evolving political and cultural climate, as the initial popularity of psychedelics was replaced with widespread backlash and controversy. Although Schroder’s story is largely Western, he takes readers all over the world, from the Swiss birthplace of LSD to Iraq, where he relates a soldier’s experience with the drug . Readers also learn how popular opinion against psychedelics emerged from misinformation and how this public bias threatens the reception of Shroder’s larger message. The debates surrounding the legalization of other currently illicit substances, however, add significance to this brief in favor of psychedelics. Shroder both informs readers about the drugs’ shadowy pasts and provides insight into the future of mental health. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 09/09/2014
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Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-14-751637-4
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