PATIENTS treated with the so-called drug "acid" at Worcester's Powick Hospital are being urged to tell their story in a new book on its controversial use as a therapy for the mentally ill.

Author Liz Spencer came across the story of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) when she was researching a mental health article and became interested in its development as a therapeutic drug.

The controversial drug is now illegal but was a popular form of treatment for the mentally ill between the 1950s and 1970s.

Medics at Powick Hospital are thought to have pioneered the hallucinogenic drug and it was the main centre that used it as a treatment for illnesses such as severe depression and schizophrenia.

Ms Spencer has about 80 case studies of people who were treated with LSD from across the world, but wants to hear from those who received it at Powick.

LSD was first used as a form of therapy by Powick Hospital's Dr Ronald Sandison in 1952, and a special LSD unit was set up in 1958.

After Dr Sandison left the hospital in 1964, medical superintendent Dr Arthur Spencer took over and used the drug until he retired in 1972.


In all, 683 patients were treated with LSD in 13,785 separate sessions at Powick, but Dr Spencer was the last member of the medical staff to use it.

In 1997, 250 former Powick Hospital patients launched legal action to gain compensation, claiming they were used as guinea pigs for LSD trials.

Many say they still suffer terrifying flashbacks as a consequence of taking the drug and scores of those claiming compensation struck a deal with NHS chiefs two years ago.

"It has helped thousands of people, but this has been overshadowed by the stories of patients who felt it had contributed to their illness," said Ms Spencer.

"I am keen to tell both sides of the story and I would implore anyone to get in touch, whether they had good or bad experiences of the drug.

"A 1970 Home Office report concluded there was no proof that LSD should be restricted for clinical use, but by then patients did not want it and you can't work with a drug people don't trust."

Any information given to Ms Spencer will be used anonymously and care will be taken not to give details that might identify the patient.

Call her on 07977 417309 or email: