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Field Testing of Hallucinogenic Agents

 

Background

Hallucinogenic agents (principally LSD) were tested on human subjects primarily at Edgewood Arsenal. The aim of this experimentation was to determine the effects of these chemicals on the nervous systems and mental functions of individuals and to evaluate preventive and therapeutic (treatment) agents to combat these effects.

Smoke testing on Half Track

Human Experimentation

While the Medical Research Volunteer Program conducted at Edgewood Arsenal collected information on the effects of psychochemicals (hallucinogenic drugs) on individuals, there was no information on how these drugs would affect groups of people. Specifically, would they produce disorganizing and disruptive effects on military units? In order to gather the required information, personnel from Edgewood Arsenal conducted field testing of LSD at Fort Bragg (1958) and Fort Benning (1960). All personnel involved in the testing were volunteers and medical personnel closely monitored their condition.

Additional testing of LSD occurred at Fort McClellan (1959-1960) and Dugway Proving Ground (1959). The personnel tested at Fort McClellan were volunteers from the Chemical School. After exposure to LSD, these volunteers performed various military and non-military tasks. Little information relating to LSD testing at Dugway Proving Ground is available today. The test apparently involved four officers who were administered LSD and then required to teach a class.

A multi-phase field test (Project Dork) involving the dissemination of the hallucinogen BZ was conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in 1964. The purposes of Project Dork were to test the effective dosage of BZ when disseminated in the open and to collect treatment information on BZ-induced delirium.

Summary

During the period September 1958 to November 1964, a series of field tests involving the use of LSD and in one instance the use of agent BZ on human volunteers, were conducted at various military installations. Approximately 309 individuals were involved in LSD testing and 10 in BZ testing. Not all these individuals were administered hallucinogenic agents. Some were controls and given a placebo.

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