LSD Cult Poisons Kids with Cute Lick 'N Stick Tattoos!
Publication:. Drug Survival News
Editor:. Jim Parker
Date:. November-December 1981 
Pages:. 12-13

LSD Cult Poisons Kids with Cute Lick 'N Stick Tattoos!

During its first turn around the recreational drug circuit in the early and mid-1960's, LSD generated a fantastic mythology of horror stories concerning the dangers -- real and imagined -- of the drug. Nearly everyone (or so it seemed) heard or repeated one of these rumors along the way.

Remember the one about the group of acidheads who crawled up a mountain at dawn and stayed long enough to totally blind themselves after staring transfixed into the sun for hours? What about the kid who pulled his own eyeballs out of their sockets after a particularly excruciating round of hallucinations? (A variation on this theme had the kid jamming out the offending visions with the points of pencils.)

There were other stories, too. One that made the rounds for years concerned a California Highway Partolman who ran the old heroin taste test on a cache of sugar cube LSD he discovered in the car of a pretty young girl he'd pulled over for speeding. The cop let the girl off with a warning after deciding that the sugar cubes didn't taste like any drug he'd ever heard of. He then got back onto his motorcycle and tooled off into the sunset, or the nearest thing to it: When the acid hit, legend has it that the state trooper somersaulted his motorcycle over a cliff and was killed instantly.

Justice was swift and merciless in the horror stories that accompanied LSD's emergence on the street. The only problem was that, as often as not, the stories had the ring of heavy fictionalization -- when they weren't complete fabrications altogether.

This is not to suggest that LSD hasn't caused its share of problems over the years; it has -- more than its share, in fact. And for more than one user, the toughest, scariest. nerve-crackingest confrontation they're likely to ever experience in their lives happened when they confronted themselves in the middle of a full-blown LSD Panic.

But for years the hysteria over acid was everywhere, until it became virtually impossible for millions of users to distinguish between the real risks involved in taking the drug and the fantasies embroidered around it by rumor and myth. And this confusion surely tipped the existential balance in more than one user in favor of the Panic.

A similar type of hysteria has begun to attach itself to the current resurgence of LSD use. Probably the most popular of the new wave of LSD rumors has it that cute lick-'n-stick stamps or color-transfer tattoos are being manufactured and distributed to children -- free of charge, reputedly -- by dope dealers with the goal of seducing a whole new generation of potential LSD consumers.

And while, according to the best available evidence, cartoon acid is plain-old paper blotter LSD with no frills -- and no stamp, no sticker, and no tattoo, either (and, like everything else you ever heard of, it's never free of charge) -- newspapers around the country have played up the story, using it as one more example of the treachery to which black-hearted dope traffickers will resort to command the allegiance of new hearts and minds.

An article in the New York Post attributed the LSD to "a California cult composed mostly of former followers of Dr. Timothy Leary who believe in LSD use." The Post article dubbed the half-inch squares of blotter embossed with the figure of Mickey Mouse in sorcerers garb from the film "Fantasia" as "stamps," and it's been off to the races ever since in the old media LSD rumor mill.

Quickly, the acid "stamps" turned into "stick-on LSD transfers," then "lick-'n-stick transfers," in news stories around the country -- in spite of the fact that no one could explain what reason drug dealers would have for putting sticky adhesive on the backs of the blotter "stamps," especially since no one could think of any reason whatever for sticking doses of LSD to surfaces other than the roofs of mouths or the tips of tonsils.

Then the "lick-'n-stick transfers" made another transformation as newswriters across the country scoured their Thesauruses searching for new ways to describe something they'd evidently never seen. The "transfers" became "decals" in some accounts, then "tattoos." From a casual look at the daily press, there was no apparent end to the lengths to which LSD merchants would go to merchandise their products to our nation's kiddies.

And make no mistake about it, dope dealers will go out of their way to lure a potential convert into the fold, but according to most legitimate authorities, there's no way they're doing half the devilish things suggested in the daily press -- at least not the things that end up costing them money. And giving drugs away ends up costing them money.

"I've never known of anyone trying to pass it off to kids," Lexington, Kentucky police Detective Fran Root recently explained to Louisville Times staff writer Bob Deitel, who explored the origins of the rumor. For one thing, it costs money."

A cop in Cleveland echoed Root's assessment: "Very few drug dealers give anything away."

Harrumph. Okay, so where does that leave our Rumor?

Alive and kicking. A rumor that seems to have originated in Colorado began to circulate concerning a man in a clown suit who supposedly appeared one day on a street corner in a Denver suburb and began handing out "stamps" (or "tattoos" -- no one was really sure which) to passing schoolchildren. "Supposedly, he was just giving it away," Denver Police Lt. Robert Moravek told Deitel.

This new variation had even more of the flavor and consistency of Myth than the old Rumor and quickly achieved wide dispersal throughout the Rocky Mountain states, the Great Plains, and Midwest.

It even spread to Rawlins, Wyoming (courtesy of a Colorado-produced flyer that was circulated in schools and posted at the local police department, which warned of the availability of the "stamps"). None turned up in Rawlins, but Rawlins police told Deitel that they'd heard that some had been found in Riverton, some 200 miles away.

As far as we know, nobody bothered to check in Riverton, but we'll lay odds that if they had, they would've heard something from someone who heard something about a man in a clown suit handing out LSD samples to passing schoolchildren.

That's the way Rumors work.

Miss something? Click to check out the Drug Survival News classic feature, LSD Today: The Comic-Strip Trip.

This is one in a series of publications on drugs, behavior, and health by Do It Now Foundation.
Please call or write for a complete list of available titles, or check us out online at