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January 18, 1971

The Psychedelic Plague and Polypsychotropia

JAMA. 1971;215(3):475-476. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180160071023

Mankind has experienced numerous plagues throughout history. Often the morbidity seriously hampered the functioning of the stricken society. Most frequently, the physicians of antiquity were unable to successfully treat or prevent the spread of the plagues. They had to experience the anguish and frustration of observing the disease run its natural course. Multiple causative factors were responsible for the origins of the plagues. Among them were such social problems as population overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. Thus any treatment program would have required both the recognition and correction of the social causative factors as well as development of medical cures for those who became diseased.

In the past decade the Western world has experienced a new plague. It too has placed a great social and financial burden on society. This plague differs notably from previous ones in two ways. First, the noxious agent is not an infectious disease but a series