Fact Check

LSD Given to Police Officer

Did a policeman unwittingly take a swig of liquid LSD?

Published Jul 26, 1999


Legend:   A policeman unwittingly takes a swig of liquid LSD and is rendered insane.


Collected on the Internet, 1993]

Man is driving cross-country. His most prized possesion is a clear glass flask containing liquid LSD, of which he partakes not infrequently. He's a couple of days in when he is stopped for speeding. He fumbles in the glove compartment for his registration, and the flask falls out onto the seat.

"Boy," intones the officer, "Is that liquor? Have you been drinking?"

"No, sir, it's not alcohol."

"I think you're drunk — lemme see that." The officer picks up the flask, unscrews the top, and takes a swig. "Well, I guess it's not liquor, but I'm gonna have to write you up for speeding."

The officer goes back to his car. Since the guy has out-of-state plates, he figures it'll be a while until the guy gets the results of the computer check. Fifteen minutes pass, then twenty, then nearly thirty. The guy musters up the courage to look back at the cop, and sees him staring off into space. As quietly as possible, he starts his car and drives off.

Collected on the Internet, 1999]

Apparently, a bunch of guys were driving through the Nevada desert taking hits from a solution of LSD dissolved in a large jar of water. Eventually they were pulled over by a state trooper for erratic driving. The cop lectures the guys in the car, then, it being a hot day, demands a drink from their jar of "water." He drinks, and immediately ingests thousands of hits of LSD and goes insane.


  • The victim is always either a policeman or customs officer.
  • The officer takes a drink from the LSD-laced solution either in an effort to verify what it is or to quench his thirst. His poisoning is accidental; although the driver of the car knows what will happen if the officer drinks from the jar, he's powerless to stop him from doing so without incriminating himself.
  • Some versions of the tale feature drug runners who deliberately spray the police officer with the solution. That version parallels another drug tale, one about bad people at a concert who spray unsuspecting girls with an LSD solution just to see them trip out.
  • Speaking of concerts, Grateful Dead concerts are frequently mentioned in passing in these tales. The driver is often said to be on his way to or coming back from one when he's pulled over, or the spraying of a non-policeman innocent takes place at one. Alternatively, the lad with a jar of LSD is pulled in by a state trooper because his car sports a Grateful Dead sticker.
  • What happens to the policeman after ingesting the drug is often lovingly described: he goes insane and has to be locked up for the rest of his life, he drives the patrol car off a bridge or into the ocean, or is found sitting in the car staring off into nowhere, quietly babbling to himself.

Origins:   Readers have assured me they heard this story as far back as 1970.

Another version of the "drugged officer" legend comes from the world behind bars:

Collected on the Internet, 1997]

The story goes that in an attempt to smuggle drugs inside, this inmate had his brothers soak some magazines in LSD and mail them to him inside. While going through the inmates package, some hard-ass guard decides to look through one of the magazines. He pages through doing that lick your index finger and turn the page thing (gross!) that some people do. After a few pages, he starts flipping out, and gets beat to hell by other guards he is trying to attack in his drug crazed stupor. The inmate then gets a stretch in solitary.

The appeal of this legend lies in the thought of a law enforcement officer unwittingly partaking of an illegal substance. In the world of urban legend stereotypes, cops represent unbending, straight-laced society at its worst. They're portrayed as humorless bullies who at times abuse their power. The thought of one such representative of all that's upstanding and overly tightass going on the trip of his life is viewed as richly ironic and ranks right up there with a drunken vicar on a rampage or a nun who unbeknownst to herself just gave voice to the world's smarmiest double


Though the story about the stoned cop may be apocryphal, there has been at least one real-life accidental drug poisoning in which the victim unknowingly drank from a water bottle used to transport an illegal substance: Rhonda Ann Creson, 23, of Nashville, Tennessee died in the hospital on 20 June 1999 after taking a drink from her friend Wendy Lea Brady's water bottle. Unknown to Creson, Brady had been keeping her stash of GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate, a sedative-hypnotic generally distributed in the form of a colorless and odorless liquid and illicitly used as a recreational drug) in there.

The FDA banned over-the-counter sales of GHB in 1990, and the U.S. government classified it as a Schedule I drug (i.e., a drug which has a high potential for
abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision) in 2000. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) claims to have
documented 65 GHB-related deaths and over 7,100 cases of GHB overdose since 1990.

From the number of LSD legends in circulation, it's clear there is a deep-rooted fear someone will someday slip us something that will force us to vacate our senses. With the exception of Rohypnol (the "date rape" drug), no other illegal drug comes in for mention in this kind of story, suggesting the fear is not of being drugged or poisoned, but is rather about losing control.

Barbara "acid reign" Mikkelson

Last updated:   29 January 2007

Sources Sources:

    Warren, Beth.   "Police May Charge Nurse in Friend's Drug Poisoning."

    The Tennessean.   23 June 1999.

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