U.S. Marines Won’t Stop Taking LSD

The Pentagon has conducted almost 4,000 drug tests for acid since this summer.
Image: Getty Images

America’s 2nd Marine Division loves to trip balls. The 20,000 Marine strong division is garrisoned at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and many of its members have been caught taking LSD. It’s such a problem that the Marine Corps has begun to randomly test for the drug and publicly announced a crackdown on people taking it.

“We have a drug problem in the 2nd Marine Division,” Major General Francis L. Donovan, commanding general of 2d Marine Division, said in a press release last week. “We are changing the way in which we test for illegal substances.”


Sailors, soldiers, airmen, and Marines are used to random drug tests but they’re not used to being tested for LSD. It’s a weird thing to test for. Most of the signs of LSD are obvious and the Pentagon typically wouldn’t require a test for it unless there was probable cause. But the Marines of 2nd Division love LSD so much that the Corps is changing its policy.

According to a press release, the Marines have performed almost 4,000 LSD tests since the summer. LSD testing is so infrequent that the Marines had to partner with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner lab in Dover, Delaware to mass produce tests. “We are committed to identifying violators of our ethos,” Donovan said. “The vast majority of Marines within the 2d Marine Division routinely uphold our core values, and they deserve to know that the Marines to their left and right are doing the same.”

The most common method of testing for LSD is a urine test. Consumer LSD drug tests claim to have a 99 percent reliability, but need to be administered within three days of the suspect dropping acid. A marijuana test can catch a user within a few weeks of them puffing. 

It may seem odd, but LSD has a long and storied history of use by America’s armed forces. At a military base in Wyoming, Airmen in charge of launching America’s nuclear arsenal loved to eat acid between shifts. Monitoring the nuclear arsenal is a boring job and, to pass the time, airmen in charge of the nukes would get high. "I absolutely just loved altering my mind,” one airman said in 2018 when the ring of LSD buddies was busted.


The LSD-Marine connection goes deeper. In February 2019 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, a journal published by the Marine Corps Association, Major Emre Albayrak of the U.S. Marine Corps published a paper advocating that intelligence officers microdose LSD to help them with their job.

“Our own units, such as  the  Naval  Special  Warfare  Development Group, seek cognitive advan-tages via unorthodox methods such as mind  gyms  and  sensory  deprivation  tanks,” Albayrak said. “The cognitive advantage they seek is ‘flow”—or ‘ekstasis’ from the Greek, which  Plato describes as ‘an altered state where our normal waking consciousness vanishes  completely, replaced by an intense euphoria and a powerful connection to a greater  intelligence.’ This  phenomena is described as a non-ordinary state of consciousness in which  individuals tend to have heightened focus, pattern recognition, and reaction time. Flow can be observed in a seasoned close-quarters battle team clearing a complex structure.”


Meanwhile, back at Camp Lejeune, the Corps is instituting a zero tolerance policy against LSD users. “Neither I nor any Marine or Sailor from the [2nd Marine] Division can trust someone using drugs to protect their flank,” Sergeant Major Daniel Krause said in a press release. “We have no spot in our formations for drug users.”