Film: 5856

Social History | 1960 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Film about the risks of the drug LSD and a discussion on social attitudes to the drug problem 1960's

A teenager walking down a street sipping a drink. A girl playing tennis. Teenagers in a living room. One eats a goldfish. Teenagers cram themselves into a telephone box or booth. A boy and his girlfriend, both dressed like hippies, pass a lad wearing a shirt and trousers. Both stop and look at each other. A girl with massive earrings, lots of make up around the eyes, a short black dress, tights and black boots leaves her house. The commentary thus far has been about teenagers expressing themselves. A variety of styles - simple, polka dot flares, dresses, a girl wearing a mini skirt. A stop sign. A boy combing his hair. A teenager with a crew cut. The narrator says hair style is important. A teenager hippy with long hair in black beret and sunglasses. The narrator comments that it is no longer than the Beatles. 1960's Fashion . A girl dyeing her hair. A girl puts on a wig. A girl with curlers in her hair. A girl putting waves into her hair. A girl ironing another girl's hair. A girl and a boy on a beach with very similar haircuts. A valley. Two groups of boys with sticks attack each other. Street fighting with gangs. A brawl. Two cars drive towards each other. They are playing chicken. The drivers. A group of teenagers, mostly girls, watch. Neither driver swerves so they crash and the spectators run off screaming. A group of boys in a convertible try to pick up two girls. The girls get into the car. The car drives off. The narrator mentions drugs as a fad. One of the boys puts his arm around one of the girls who was reluctant to get into the car. A boy and girl in a car at night. The boy asks the girl to try drugs once. She is reluctant. She takes a drag on a spliff. People taking LSD at a party. The camera looks from the position of the person who is taking the acid. Two people sitting on a bed. A couple of people sit leaning against the bedroom wall. People sitting around tripping. A girl on the bed smokes. A record player. People sitting around in a living room, some smoking. The narrator says that LSD is very very cool and very very groovy in a very very sarcastic way. People smiling and laughing while tripping. A boy smoking a joint. People having a good time tripping. Feet. A girl laughing. A smiling girl looking at her fingers. A girl and a boy studying two small mirrors. A girl studying a burning match. The laughing girl now has a bad trip - it seems that the match triggered it. Flashing lights. The camera moves around the room, circles of light flit about the screen. She is screaming. The girl is superimposed on images of the room. Strange lights. A mouth. A red disc. Fire. Mouth of a sabre-tooth tiger. Fire. A burnt face. The girl screaming. Essentially a bad trip sequence.
Title Card
Girls entering a building. Neuro-psychiatric Institute J. Thomas Ungerleider, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry UCLA Behind him in another room a girl is talking to a doctor. Ungerleider says that he has twelve people in hospital because they took LSD. The camera zooms in on the girl behind him, who is in obvious distress. Some other LSD users have suffered bizarre fatal accidents and LSD takers have killed themselves while under the influence. He says that LSD has left many people disturbed and some dead.
W. Ross Adey, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology UCLA He is in a laboratory. In 1928, Dr Albert Hoffmann discovered LSD. Professor Adey describes its origins and its effects on people's mental states. The changes it produces can closely resemble some forms of insanity, particularly schizophrenia. The symptoms LSD produces in someone otherwise normal are interesting. Strange patterns of wildly moving colour. Time can stand still. Pupils watching a colleague on a trampoline - the image is frozen in mid jump. An aircraft taking off. The image is frozen. Strange colour pattern. A girl looking in the mirror. Another girl suddenly appears in the mirror image - hallucination. The second girl disappears. Hallucination. Two children climb into a fridge and shut the door. A girl walks towards the fridge then leaves. LSD can bring back incidents long forgotten in terrifying detail. A girl on a tricycle at the top of a flight of stairs, leading to a garden. Both the girl and the tricycle tumble down the stairs - the picture is red. Professor Adey. LSD distorts judgement. A girl in a kitchen is about to put on some potatoes to boil. She turns the gas on. She looks at the flame. It turns into a blue flower. She reaches to touch it and burns herself. Professor Adey. One ounce of LSD makes 300,000 doses. The normal dose is 100 micrograms. A man in a flat making LSD. He pours a chemical into a large beaker which he shakes in a large pan. A petri dish of LSD powder. Home made LSD will contain other chemicals which may be lethal. A boy buying LSD at a food kiosk. The strength of a home made LSD tap can be variable, from insignificant to a massive dose. Drops of LSD solution being put on sugar cubes. Professor Adey. Large doses of LSD have caused convulsions and death in animals. Professor Ungerleider. Nevertheless, LSD proved popular. Two boys, one on a motorcycle. A boy and girl on a bench talk to a boy with his back to the camera. Four teenagers sitting on some grass talk to one standing up. Two boys walking up stairs talk to each other. Three girls chat while walking through a park. A girl talking to her parents. LSD was alleged to be a panacea - one pill would cure unhappiness, the real meaning of existence would become clear. Newspaper cuttings about LSD - LSD users declared flirting with disaster (Los Angeles Times 11/9/1966)
A teenage LSD user meets terror on a bad trip superimposed over a man talking. The dangers of LSD (from the Journal of the American Medical Association). If you want to know about LSD….LSD-25 used for alcoholism: early findings encouraging. In background a man speaking at a podium beside an American flag. The truth about LSD. Black Mart LSD can injure brain says expert. Due to public outcry, the only legitimate company to produce pure LSD stopped and this halted a lot of scientific experiments. Professor Ungerleider. A teenager in a hospital bed with electrodes attached to head. A machine measuring brain. Activity prints out charts. A doctor marks it. Professor Ungerlieder. There is a lot we do not know about LSD. Sidney Cohen MD Chief of Psychiatry, Wadsworth VA Hospital. He has spoken to lots of teenagers and asked them why they take LSD. The most frequent answers were Girl carrying school books - I was curious. Boy wearing sunglasses - Nearer to God. A second girl carrying schoolbooks - I took LSD for a kick. Boy in his bedroom - LSD is like a vitamin for the brain - it expands your mind. Boy with moustache - LSD stimulates creativity. Dr Cohen. He gave fifty tests before and after people took LSD. Creativity had not measurably increased. They may have an impression of creativity but nothing creative in itself. Boy in sunglasses - LSD is a good way to find out more about the things around you. Second girl carrying schoolbooks - LSD helps me understand the whole world better. Teenager with moustache - LSD helps you to understand your own mind. Boy in bedroom - LSD is a way of finding out about yourself. Dr Cohen - there is no evidence the insight allegedly gained from LSD has any positive effect on the user's life. They may feel insight but it's not often borne out by their subsequent behaviour. Professor Ungerleider - One thing we know is that LSD is entirely unpredictable. Any user can have a bad experience each time they take LSD. A bad trip is instant insanity, often a never neverland of no return. Ambulance men lift down a stretcher on a trolley. Secured on it is a girl having a bad trip. She is rambling and deranged. It is dark. They take her into hospital. She is in a bed surrounded by doctors and nurses. She repeats No! Get away! She cannot see the doctor properly - she is hallucinating a bit. They give her an injection. Duke D Fisher MD, Resident in Psychiatry UCLA. The girl who had the bad trip is obviously acutely disturbed. She may never make a full recovery. Some others who take LSD may have a more tragic freak out. People tripping messing about on a sofa. Someone tripping on top of a steep rocky hill. He jumps in the belief he can fly. Two people tripping in some woods at night by a road, a boy and a girl. The boy tries to "merge his being" with an approaching truck and is run down. The girl screams. Professor Ungerleider - There is a lot of conflicting opinion about why LSD is so popular with teenagers. It may be because of the changes that occur during adolescence. Teenagers in a car. Boys fighting. Parents talking to their daughter. A boy and a girl smoking a joint. Two girls debating whether to get into a car driven by some boys. The girl with massive earrings . Teenagers lounging round a room, tripping or smoking joints. Professor Ungerlieder - LSD is an extremely dangerous drug. He shows his files to the camera. Teenager in hospital bed, electrodes attached to head. Bad trip sequence. Effects on body - newspaper cuttings: Group asks investigation into LSD - Birth Defects - (March of Dimes Co-ordinator Cites Harm Done Chromosomes; Experts Urge care). Doctors warn of dangers in 2 Narcotics (Association reports LSD breakdowns, marijuana damage) Worse deformities feared in LSD than Thalidomide. Pregnancy peril is found in LSD - researcher asserts drug causes stillborn in rats - women are warned. LSD Rapped in Research - Danger during pregnancy singled out by scientist. Undergraduates hear Dr Goddard condemn LSD "Chemical Roulette". Dr James L Goddard, Commissioner Food and Drugs Administration. Behind him is an American flag. LSD 25 is still being studied across the United States. LSD-25 may cause breaks in human chromosomes. There may be damage caused to unborn children. Dr Marvin S Legator, Chief of Cell Biology, FDA. Dr Legator wipes off a blackboard. Definition of genetic damage - which he writes on the board 1. Irreversible effect 2. Incubation period. It may be years after the event that signs of exposure become apparent. 3. Age - the younger the person is, the more harmful the effects are. The symptoms of genetic damage 1. having abnormal foetuses, e.g. children born without arms or legs. 2, Can be carcinogenic. 3. It can be a mutagenic event., affecting not just us but future generations. LSD could be put in a category which causes these types of damage. It is hard to test for chemical damage for chromosomes in man because our 46 chromosomes are very small. A South American wool ear possum in a laboratory. It has fourteen chromosomes which are larger, Possum chromosomes. Dr Marion ?? M Cohen, Director of Cytogenetics, Children's Hospital, Buffalo, New York. He is in a laboratory. Picture of human chromosomes . When LSD was added to the blood of normal individuals in testing, there was a lot of chromosomal breakage and damage Among users of LSD, identical damage was found. Pictures of damaged chromosomes. They had rearranged in bizarre ways. The dangers this has for the bearer are possible cancer and possible malformed children should the mother take LSD during pregnancy. Animal testing has given us an idea of how much of a threat this poses. William F Geber PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Medical College of Georgia, in a laboratory for ten years, he has worked on the effects of drugs on animals and their babies. A pregnant hamster climbs its cage, is injected with LSD and Mescaline. A hamster on drugs. Serious (damage) recurred in each of the experiments. Picture of foetus of normal hamster, picture of foetus whose mother got LSD - it looks a bit like a teddy bear and is misshapen and small. The brain was extended outside the skull. In another position, the control foetus is again vastly different to the LSD foetus. Again the brain is outside the skull. There is also a haemorrhage in the brain. Another picture - two control foetuses identical. LSD foetus has spinal cord exposed and the spine is deformed. Another picture - control foetus fine, LSD foetus has its liver outside the body. There is also a brain haemorrhage. Another picture - control foetus fine, LSD foetus has fluid in spinal area and haemorrhage in body cavity. Another picture, control foetus fine, LSD foetus has malformed brain, spinal cord and limbs. William Geber: Although these were animal foetuses, people should consider seriously the effects of LSD on humans. Dr Roger E Meyer, National Institute of Mental Health. He is in his office. His institute provides a lot of the money for research into LSD. They are the sole legitimate supplier of LSD to research investigators. They are worried about the biological effects of LSD. Dr Goddard. LSD is dangerous and taking it is playing Russian Roulette. Men playing Russian Roulette. The narrator says it is like playing Russian Roulette with three bullets in the revolver. The first man fires an empty chamber, the first bullet is for the risk to yourself. The second is for the risk to your children. The second man fires on an empty chamber. The third chamber is for the risk to your children's children. The third man fires on a full chamber.


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