Patients Sue Over LSD Treatment 

Patients Sue Over LSD Treatment 
Posted by FoM on November 16, 1999 at 22:29:00 PT
By Russell Jenkins
Source: The Times
More than 80 people who claim to have been damaged by LSD prescribed by psychiatrists are to pursue a court action for damages against the NHS. They say they suffer flashbacks and mental problems after prolonged courses of the hallucinatory drug between the 1950s and the early 1970s. 
It was prescribed by hospital psychiatrists for patients with acute depression because it was believed to open minds more efficiently than psychoanalysis. Some patients insist that they were given such high doses that they were under the influence of the drug for years at a time. David Harris, senior partner of the solicitors Alexander Harris, in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said that his firm was pursuing an action for personal injury on behalf of 87 claimants. Mr Harris said: "LSD was administered by the NHS for a wide range of conditions. For some the effects have been very traumatic. LSD was not a licensed drug and all those whom we have spoken to believe they were not asked to give their consent." The claimants will aim to prove that they had much higher doses than those who took LSD recreationally in the late 1960s and 1970s. Many complain that they were never able to work again. Angela Scrivens, 53, from Blackburn, was 18 when she was prescribed LSD for depression in 1964. In the care of a psychiatrist at Burnley General Hospital, she was subject to bouts of anxiety and, at times, felt suicidal. Mrs Scrivens remembers being asked to take the drug each Friday morning. Within half an hour she would feel sick and cold and then the hallucinations would start. She says that she was told that the drug would shorten her psychoanalysis from five years to 18 months, but she was still being given it six years later. "I was so ill at the time that when they said this was going to help I believed that." A company growing cannabis plants for therapeutic use said yesterday that the first study in which volunteers took extracts of the drug had shown encouraging results. GW Pharmaceuticals, which is cultivating cannabis under licence, hopes to produce treatments mainly to relieve pain and dysfunction caused by nerve damage. November 17 1999 BRITAIN Copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd. 
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