Perhaps it was inevitable that those who tripped out during the heady days of flower power would often worship acid and deify its catalytic properties. The most ardent enthusiasts looked to LSD as something that could move mountains and melt the icecaps--as if it constituted nothing less than the pharmacological key to world peace. If only President Lyndon Johnson turned on to the right stuff, many an acidhead effused, surely the war in Vietnam would be over in a matter of days!

Of course, the true believers had no idea the CIA had used LSD as a surreptitious mind-bending agent in cold war cloak-and-dagger operations. Nor could they have known that the largest single source of black market acid during the late 1960s and early 1970s was linked to the CIA. His name was Ronald Stark, and his story is as mind-boggling as the chemical he peddled.

From drug labs in Europe, Stark churned out tens of millions of acid trips. An Italian magistrate who investigated his role as an intemational terrorist and drug trafficker concluded that Stark was "an agent of the American secret services."

Back to the Trip Guide.

An excerpt from Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties and Beyond, by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain (Grove Press)
Copyright 1985 by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
The Acid Dreams web site: