Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yet More Weirdness from Years Ago…


Many years ago, as an early patient prescribed Prozac, I wound up in a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. They were keen to know why some people, people like me who had consumed psychedelics as their avocation, were reporting a response to the medication in days, not weeks, as is normal for the general population. We also reported that the stuff made us feel like we were constantly getting off on LSD, but never actually getting high. Colors seemed brighter, we were more alert to all of our senses, and seemed to ourselves, at least, a bit smarter than without the drug.

The first Bush administration killed that study before its second round. I suspect that Lilly, the drug's manufacturer was not happy to know that it had basically neutered LSD. How would the ad's tag line run? "Just Like Acid, But No Fun"

Anyhow, a couple of years later, NIMH got back in touch with me. They were curious about the then expanding public interest in a legal prescription medicine, Vasopressin. It's a pineal gland hormone that could be obtained in the USA without a script by ordering from Canada. It worked to make memory more acute. If there was a designer drug created to make you very good at playing Trivial Pursuit, this was it. Useful? Perhaps. In any case, in dumpster diving my old files, I ran across my initial response to the call from the NIMH Principle Investigator.

Draw any conclusions, as you see fit.


To: Dr. John Wisenheimer
Fr: S. Solomon
Re: Smart Drugs Update/Vasopressin Anecdote
Dt: 1/27/92

I'm a 37 year old television producer and writer. I'm happy to share with you the following report concerning a personal and prolonged experience with Vasopressin. It may amuse or dismay you. Perhaps you've already heard a few stories like it. Well, to the subject at hand...  
Today, after much experimentation, the old drugs have largely fallen away from my life. Psychedelics are hard to find for a guy of my age and station in the community. It's been many years since I've done any speed or much coke.
Still, I'm always looking for that "edge", and back in the mid-eighties we started to hear about the "smart-drugs", like Vasopressin. Naturally, I experimented whenever possible and my little problem emerged rather surprisingly. See, I'd tried Vasopressin many times before, but had never actually had my own supply in the house. It was always a one time thing, when I might get together with certain folks for a party.
In such a setting, it was a sort of stimulant, but it didn't wind-up my brainstem nor cloud my cortex with a buzz. It did seem to grease the neurological wheels in a very useful but subtle way. Words came to the tip of my tongue with more alacrity. I remembered things better, and my mental and physical reflexes were slicker. I wasn't high, just clear. This is all well and good, if you're not doing it every day. 
Through a minor comedy involving a Greek wedding, a lady in a polka dot dress and some profoundly powerful marijuana, I happened to come into possession of a bottle of Vasopressin suddenly lacking a rightful owner. The next morning, upon realizing what I had stumbled into, my first thought was; "Let's see how far this stuff can take me.". Smart drug? Maybe. Dumb idea? You bet! 
I really started in on Monday morning and continued for almost two weeks. A couple of sniffs right before a business meeting and, half a minute later, my I.Q. seems ten points higher and my mind is moving a bit faster. But, I still have an appetite for lunch. After lunch, a couple more sniffs before that conference-call from the people in California. After dinner, a little bit more as I prepare my notes for tomorrow's meetings.
Although Vasopressin doesn't make you high in the usual sense, it does have real long legs. And, the way I was using it, it didn't stop doing its wonderful, subtle thing when I really needed to stop thinking and go to sleep. Into the night, I'd be talking on the phone to my friends in San Francisco, writing letters, making notes for work the next day. I'm so fucking clear-headed that I don't remember a good reason to go to sleep. Hell! Why sleep? I've got more Vasopressin. I can be this brilliant again tomorrow. All I need is a few more sniffs of human pituitary hormone!
The bottle ran out after twelve days. I briefly considered icing my neighbor and cooking down his pineal gland for the Vasopressin. After some sullen brooding, I did go to sleep for the better part of forty-eight hours and eventually awoke with a horrible flu. There are a number of clear lessons to be drawn from this tale; lessons about moderation, common sense and the considerate use of useful chemicals. Most obvious for me, though, is the fact that I'm just relentless.

S. Solomon
Box 007 
Enfield, Ct 06083

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