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Drug Guide For The Playa 1998

It's been two years since Piss Clear published a drug guide for the playa, and given our increased knowledge on the subject, we felt it was time to revisit. Since our first drug guide, we've performed much more extensive field testing, all in an effort to provide you, our dear readers, with the sort of information we know you require. Of course, the Burning Man Project organizers would rather you not have this information, stating explicitly in the Survival Guide: "Individuals take drugs to alter their consciousness, but the consciousness of Black Rock City is already altered÷it is an environment filled with bizarre creative visions. Perhaps the best response is a creative one."

Yeah, right. Like that's a useful survival tip. We here at Piss Clear know better. Chances are, you're looking forward to altering your consciousness that much more. And if you are, you better know what you're in for. That's why we're proud to bring you this revised, updated drug guide for the playa.

Lysergic acid diethylamide has the advantage of not directly dehydrating you, but it may cause you to forget to drink water. The main disadvantage of LSD is that it makes it very difficult to separate reality from fantasy, and both the reality and the fantasy of Burning Man can be terrifying, leading to what is known as a "bad trip." Should you feel you are having a "bad trip," surround yourself with trustworthy persons such as friends or other BM participants, and try to replace exciting or disturbing stimuli with gentle music. By all means, avoid the Aesthetic Meat Foundation, or just about any other camp in Disturbia. Remember, it's only a drug, and it will all wear off in about ten hours or so. (Lizard Man)

If you take acid on the playa, be sure you're comfortable with random explosions, sirens, and fire. Here's a cautionary tale: back in â93, the year of the big, post-Burn dust storm, sudden 50 mph winds reduced sight to zero-visibility. I struggled back to my tent, and found that I had a panicked, shelter-seeking visitor, high on acid. He wanted to know if he was in Hell, and I assured him that he was just in a cheap nylon tent. I managed to talk him down somewhat, and, after the storm subsided, he wandered off. The next day I found his bag in my tent, which contained a camera, a Swiss Army knife, film, and assorted other valuables. Every year I put an ad up on the message board, trying to return this guy's stuff, so if you're reading, come by and get it. I still think of that poor bastard whenever I open up a bottle of wine with his knife. (Malderor)

Plan your journey well. Just don't drop six in the middle of the day. (Gxeoxchi)

If you read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or at least saw the movie, you know what we're talking about here. For those who missed the boat, adrenochrome is a drug made from pure human adrenaline and extracted while the human is still alive. God knows who makes this stuff but I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley. The best way to take adrenochrome out here in the desert is with a friend. Just make sure he's not holding a boombox when you're in the bathtub listening to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." (PF)

A staple, due to its ease of acquisition. Forget about those fancy microbrews and just redneck it with several 30-packs of cheap, industrial beer-water. Plus, cheap brewskis come in cans, which are much easier to dispose of. For winos, I recommend Turning Leaf Merlot, maybe $7 a bottle, very light and sweet, best enjoyed from a squeeze bottle. Add a glowstick to the container for cool nighttime sacred elixer effect. (Gxeoxchi)

Alcohol certainly helps you piss clear, and is my preferred substance on the playa. I advocate Chihuahua, as it's cheap as hell and goes down well on a blistering day. And, as a Mexican beer, it's got a lot of water with only a marginal alcohol percentage, which aids in thwarting dehydration. Alcohol also helps one sleep through the nighttime noise. (Malderor)

Remind yourself to drink at least one glass of water with each cocktail you consume. Don't get dehydrated! (Sister Dana)

What did we do before there was an espresso bar in Black Rock City? Caffeine is not only recommended for the weekend, it is absolutely required. First thing in the morning, after pouring cold water over my privates, toweling 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. (PF)

You just got to sleep an hour a go. And now it's daylight already. It's bright. It's hot. You're awake. And let's face it: there's no way in hell you're sneaking in any more Z's. It's time for a morning pick-me-up. You need caffeine. Or, if you're like me, caffeine mixed with phenylalanine, a "smart drug" which helps you produce noradrenaline, the brain's version of adrenaline. To get this particular concoction, I use Fast Blastú, a powdered drink mix available from Smart Products in San Francisco. Think of it as turbo-charged Kool-Aidú. The advantages of Fast Blastú over coffee is that it doesn't dehydrate you the way a cup of joe does (important out here on the playa), plus it's a longer lasting energy boost. (Adrian Roberts)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that coke is a great Burning Man substance. Being fairly short-lasting, it doesn't keep you up for days. This comes in handy when you finally decide you need some sleep. A big advantage of coke over speed is that you can get some rest, as opposed to lying there thinking how cold you are and how loud the camp next to you is. (Malderor)

Kind of a stigmatized as a yuppie drug, but then again, there are a lot of yuppies out here. It's just hard to tell, since most of them are naked. (Adrian Roberts)

Damn those sudden wind storms! (Mike Connor)

Piss Clear's favorite drug for the playa, which you can probably tell by all the column inches we've devoted to it. It's best if done with friends, for that classic "Burning Man bonding experience." Just make sure you're near a porta-potty when you first come on and don't forget to drink a shitload of water! Random anecdote: The first year I was here, back in '93, I X'ed on Sunday night. Right after the Man burned, a furious storm whipped up out of nowhere. We raced back to our camp, hoping that we had secured everything down. It being my first playa storm, the whole scene should have scared the shit out of me. Instead, due to the Ecstacy, I was overwhelmed with this reassuring sense of well-being, thinking, "It's okay! Everything's going to be okay!" Once we found our camp in the darkness, I quickly hopped into my tent, which was flapping loudly in the wind. There, still feeling like everything was going to be okay, I decided to change into a cuter outfit for the storm. I re-emerged, helped my friends torch our soon-to-be-blown-away shade structure, and laughed hysterically. And you know what? Everything turned out to be okay. (Adrian Roberts)

Ecstasy, some say, is the perfect playa drug, guaranteed to mellow out even the most sour of spectators and get even backwards-baseball-cap-wearing frat boys into the groove. But is E a quick route to a moving, beautiful, intimate, communal experience? Or just a shortcut to finding yourself at the bottom of a pile of anonymous, blissed-out bodies? Do you really want to spend an evening rolling around on people who won't remember your name tomorrow? Nevertheless, if you're determined to drop some E, here are the phrases you need to memorize: "Can I touch you?" "I love you guys!" and "Can someone help me find my tent?" Also, you'll forget to drink water as you trip, so be prepared to come down with a big glass of Emergen-C in your hand, and a bucket between your legs as you puke into the sunrise. Oh, it's all so beautiful. I love you guys! (Joyce Slaton)

I have too many good experiences on Ecstacy to recount. My favorites are a 20-person E-fueled group hug in front of the Man three years ago, and being on the giant swing built by the New York Camp circa 1996. I have had bad experiences on E though. My first year at Burning Man, I torched my leg jumping over the remnants of the Man. I still have a fishnet mark on my leg where my tights caught on fire. My other bad E experience was more psychological. Two years ago, a group of friends and I wandered X-ing to the ill-fated camp that built the giant Mousetrap. We got there just in time to see three people get torched by some idiot who was shooting non-dairy creamer into the air and lighting it on fire. It was full-on gore and screaming. Needless to say, none of us felt particularly high after witnessing the carnage. (Desert Spice)

If you buy Ecstacy out here in Black Rock City, make sure that it's coming from a reliable source. There's an extremely good chance that what you're buying may not actually be Ecstacy. Two years ago, I purchased some E in the desert from a friendly guy on a bicycle÷aren't all drug dealers on the playa friendly? The letter 'E' was actually stamped onto the tablets÷that should have been my first clue. Fortunately, we didn't actually ingest the stuff in the desert. However, we dosed the following weekend in the comfort of my San Francisco apartment, and spent eight uncomfortable hours ocillating between intensely regretting the purchase, and considering calling 911. (PF)

Love at first site ÷ of anything that moves. (Mike Connor)

Crystal meth
I've taken crystal meth every single year I've visited the Burn. It can be really fantastic, but it can make you really paranoid for the next couple of days. Very useful in helping you dance all night, or just allowing you to wander around and see all the nighttime activity. Very bad if you're in an RV with a lot of good friends who are tweaked and irritable. Best used if you can find some Valium to mellow out the comedown. Random anecdote: In â92, the first year I came out here, we brought a lot of speed. One night, not wanting to deal with it in our windswept tents, we decided to drive out onto the playa for a little distance, and cut it up in the car. So there I was, sitting in the driver's seat, cutting out lines in a frying pan, when this car starts driving past us in the distance. It gets a few hundred yards away, and suddenly veers straight for us, and we can see that it's a law enforcement agency truck. In a panic, I set the frying pan at my feet, and ended up having a very jittery conversation with a very polite police officer. He thought we were stuck, and he had come out to help. We babbled back at him at great velocity, assuring him that we were fine, all was well, isn't it a lovely night, and how did he like his job? He never looked at my feet. (Malderor)

I like doing speed on the playa, because, A) it makes me feel so naughty, and B) staying up all night suddenly becomes possible for a slug-a-bed like me. Watching the sun rise after sitting around the campfire all night with friends is a good memory of this drug. One year however, I travelled by RV with a crew of people who brought tons of speed. It was a nightmare, because by Day Two, everyone was cranky as fuck, and I ended up spending the majority of my time at a friend's camp, just to have a little peace. Tweakers need a wide berth. They also need a little self-awareness. Remember that the next time you've been up for three days. (Desert Spice)

Not sleeping during the day because it's too hot + not sleeping at night because there's too much cool stuff going on = the surprising usefulness of crystal meth out on the playa. Speed is not the sort of drug you think of when you think Burning Man÷hallucinogenics usually come to mind÷but believe it or not, it actually works really well out here. The important thing to keep in mind though, is that you don't want to tweak too hard. Do just enough to keep you going, but not so much that you're actually high. Small doses are the key here. Trust us, no one wants to listen to your incessent babbling about how cool everything is. We know already. (Adrian Roberts)

Out of personal experience, let me begin by saying avoid anything white and powdered. Crystal meth is for brat ravers and will give you a bitch of a hangover if mixed with booze or whatever. (Gxeoxchi)

Great for gate shifts and garbage detail. (Mike Connor)

Heroin? Yaa... right. Only pathetic white bread suburbanites who want to be "on the edge" need this crap. (Gxeoxchi)

Special K÷it's not just for breakfast anymore! Not bad for the playa, adding a bit of short-lived color to your evening. However be warned: too much will send you spiraling down into a K-hole, which in and of itself won't kill you, but will freak out anyone who sees your sorry ass suddenly go all catatonic in the middle of the playa. Just to be sure, take a "babysitter," er, I mean, "trusted friend" along with you÷someone who is not on ketamine. All I can say though, is if slip into a K-hole, you're going to owe them big time. (Adrian Roberts)

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 Ecstacy 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! (PF)

Pot is so ubiquitous out here, I'm not even sure we need to say much about it. Just watch out for that stereotypical "paranoid delusion" thing, which only gets amplified at night. (Adrian Roberts)

The good herb is my personal fave, on and off the playa. Being at BM is enough of an intoxicant, thus just a few draughts on a doobie is enough to make you feel Nebulan. Be prepared to pay up though, as the suppliers here naturally drive up the prices. Usually, it's worth it. Last year I got these purple-ish buds from some kind folks from Seattle ÷ mind-bending indeed and worth it... $80 per quarter-ounce. (Gxeoxchi)

My favorite playa drug. It has a soothing effect in the heat, and it's almost as social a drug as alcohol. It also comes in handy when you're coming down off of speed or Ecstacy. I recommend it most highly. (Desert Spice)

Mescaline is desirable, although not readily available. Should you chance upon some, by all means get'cha some. Mescaline is not quite as intense as mushrooms as far as that whacked-out feeling of something vibrating internally goes, but it retains a more subdued, pleasant, and÷dare I say÷controllable trip. In other words, you won't laugh hysterically at just anything. It's more like simple giddiness and chuckles÷you feel more in control. (Gxeoxchi)

Mesc always makes my tummy go all topsy-turvy, so I'm not sure I can recommend it for the playa. However, if you're looking for that "first hour on mushrooms while it's still fun, before the universe caves in on you" feeling, then mescaline might be what you're looking for. (Adrian Roberts)

With so much cool stuff going on at Burning Man, the last thing I want to do is a drug that turns me inward and sends me off into my own little personal headtrip. Not that shrooms are bad to do out on the playa! It's just that if you want to take part in the intense socializing that goes on during a typical Black Rock City evening, find something else. However, if you came here looking for some sort of mystical desert experience, then shrooms will definitely drop-kick you into that mindspace. Just make sure you're someplace where you'll feel really comfy cozy and safe. (Adrian Roberts)

I've taken the odd mushroom after a night of Ecstasy. I recommend just such a cocktail, as the E will take the edge off the fire and explosions and that awful opera. Shrooms can be very hard to gauge the dosage of though, so try not to overdo it. I spent an entire evening last year talking my friend back down to reality after he'd taken an over-large amount of shrooms. It didn't help that they were burning the fire lingham and singing about plowing each other's vulva. (Malderor)

Shrooms are wonderful, thanks to the all natural ingredients. Really lets you get in tune with the landscape. (Gxeoxchi)

Ought to come free with entrance ticket. (Mike Connor)

The only time I've ever tried quaaludes, they came into my possession at Burning Man. My roommate had a quaalude that somebody had brought up from Mexico. After an especially drug-heavy day on the playa, we both realized we had taken alcohol, speed, coke, pot, and Ecstasy over the course of the day. Never ones to let ourselves off lightly, we decided to split a few mushrooms, just to increase the total number of drugs we had in our systems. Then we discovered we each had another hit of E. So we popped that. In this lovely state, while watching the fire burn at 4 a.m., and waiting for the E to take effect, my roommate produced the quaalude. "Great idea," I said. We split it, and washed it down with some beer, and sat waiting for the E and the quaalude to take effect. We woke up the next day, still in our lawnchairs, having wasted a perfectly good hit of E by sleeping through it. (Malderor)

Invaluable for taking the edge off of whatever it is you're doing. (Malderor)

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