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Dr. Max Rinkel, the first doctor in North America to work with LSD, said in the Sunday Boston Globe that several students currently at Harvard have been under his treatment during the past year for the aftereffects of LSD.
The students were sent to him by private physicians after experiencing anguish, anxiety, and panic. In an interview Sunday, Dr. Rinkel said that the students feared becoming schizophrenic and being hospitalized.
The doctor explained that the effects of LSD are not felt until after the drug has left the brain. One hypothesis is that LSD sets off an unidentified chemical reaction in the brain which may continue months after the actual use of the drug. Although research is in progress to discover such a chemical reaction, the hypothesis has not been verified.
Each of the students told Dr. Rinkel that they had taken LSD only once, one immediately before he saw Dr. Rinkel, one three days before, and one three weeks before. The symptoms--anxiety and panio--recurred in waves over varying periods of time.
Dr. Rinkel said that the danger of taking LSD outside a hospital was that the size of the dosage and the purity of the drug are uncertain and the reaction of any individual is somewhat uncertain. He cited the case of a woman who, after taking the drug under his supervision, tore off her clothes and knelt before a thermostat which she believed was a crucifix. The experiment was then terminated.
Those most severly affected by LSD, Dr. Rinkel explained, are persons whose pre-experimental personality has neurotic and latent psychotic tendencies.
LSD is not difficult to produce. Dr. Rinkel thinks it possible that much of the black market supply is imported from Italy, where the basic component, lycurgic acid, is made. All of the Harvard students under his care mentioned that LSD is easily obtainable in Harvard Square, a fact confirmed by several students from other colleges.
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