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Choose your poison: a drug guide for the playa 1996
by Adrian Roberts

Oh sure, there's nothing quite like a nice cold beer in the desert, or hell, even a more civilized cocktail. Wine seems quite appropriate out here as well. What a shame then that all of these will dehydrate you like there's no tomorrow. Even more so than in real life, moderation is the key here. Augment your alcohol consumption with plenty of H2O chasers, and you'll be fine.

Works really well out here, although be careful of too much, especially at night, when paranoid delusions can get the better of you. It's no fun walking out to rave camp and thinking that every pair of headlights you see in the distance is going to run you over.

What did we do before there was an espresso bar at Burning Man? Caffeine is not only recommended for the weekend, it is absolutely REQUIRED. First thing in the morning, after pouring cold water over my privates, towelling off, throwing on a pair of shorts, fixing the tarp that was blown down by the wind, and attending to my bladder, I go get coffee. This year I brought Nestle canned coffees. They're better than you think. Caffeine, in any form, is absolutely necessary for staying awake while you recuperate under your tarp from that long walk to the cafe.

Ma Huang
Many people recognize this stimulant as the main ingredient in Herbal E, and some recognize it from bottles of Love Potion #69 and BrainWash, with the skulls on the label. In all honesty, the similarity to X is a stretch, but it works as well as caffeine without tasting good, plus it gives you a little emotional lift, like a profound philosophical discovery or a good fuck. I prefer to purchase Ma Huang as a tincture, because it's a lot cheaper. One bottle has about fifty doses and usually costs under $5. That's less expensive than a regular coffee!

Depending on the strength of the particular strain of LSD you are using, frying in the desert can either produce a really great trip, or freak you out beyond belief. I recommend starting off in small doses--remember, you can always take more, but you can't take less. Things get pretty strange out here anyway, and taking acid merely intensifies the whole freakiness of the event. You probably don't need as much as you normally would in real life to produce the same psychedelic trippy effects. The desert just kind of does that to you anyway. Still, it's quite an experience to look up at the night sky to see all of the stars trailing.

In general, these feel really nice out here, but use only if you're planning to not be in the most social mood. If you're looking for that gooey, insular, looking-inward, find-my-place-in-the-universe kind of trip, then 'shrooms might be right for you. If you're planning on running around and participating in all the events and witnessing the various performances and stuff, you might want to stick with acid.

Undoubtedly, this is staff of Piss Clear's substance of choice for the Black Rock Desert. It's a real head-opening experience, especially out here in the desert. You generally feel "more alive" and "full of love" and this other goopy shit, but bluntly put, it just makes you feel good. Especially good for the night of the Burn, when you can brush your body up against other people with recklass abandon. Especially good for couples or friends looking for that quintessential Burning Man bonding experience. Just make sure you're near a porta-potty near the beginning of your trip, and be sure to have a stash of hard candy on hand. Copious amounts of water complete the recommended accoutrements for doing MDMA.

To add just a bit of "color" to your experience in the desert, mescaline just might do the trip. The same guidelines apply here as those for doing acid. Too much just might be too much. Start small, and build yourself up. Like Ecstacy, gives you that fun "body buzz" feeling for moving through crowds.

For those who want to trip, but don't want the 6- to 12-hour time committment that acid or mushrooms require, you might want to try Special K, which is usually over and done with in one hour. It's not just for breakfast anymore! I would recommend saving this for later in the evening, as it does tend to wear you out, and you might not want to go out and join in the festivities after you come down from K.

Although currently in vogue with just about every loser rock star or rock star wanna-be on the West Coast, smack just doesn't really seem all that appropriate out here in the desert. While quite appropriate in gritty urban environments÷which some might argue downtown Black Rock City is becoming÷out in the desert is just doesn't seem to work.

Crystal Meth
With so much cool stuff going on this weekend, who wants to sleep? After all, if you snooze off for a bit, you might end up missing something! If this is how you feel, then crystal might just be your drug of choice. After all, there's certainly no shortage of people to chatter away with endlessly, as you no doubt will, talking your head to anyone within earshot. And you might be fine on crystal for the first 24 hours, if you're still going by Sunday night, your relentless, hyper, and no doubt cranky-and-irritable tweaker energy might just make you the buzzkill of the party. Use sparingly and in small doses--speed bumps are what we call them--and you might be fine. And like Ecstacy, don't forget to drink LOTS of water.

Come on, are you kidding? What do you think this is, the bathroom of some trendoid nightclub or something? Leave that shit at home.

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