Erowid drug information site goes nonprofit

Joel says:
200712121314 The amazing drug and chemical resource has announced that "after two years of dealing with lawyers and red-tape" they've been giving the nod to establish the "Erowid Center," a tax-deductible charitable organization. That's a big step towards keeping Erowid funded as they do the yeoman's work of chronicling trip reports, news, and other entheogen ephemera to create the most comprehensive and balanced drug database online.


  1. Erowid SUCKS big style! It’s full of misinfo, and serves as a guide for the DEA on what to ban next… Huge thumbs down!

    Wanna read about teenagers abusing high-powered psychoactive chemicals (and combos) while their parents are asleep next door? go erowid!
    Wanna get misinformed on any drug-related topic? go erowid!

    The idea behind erowid is so naive and so dodgy, it’s like all the proof one needs that drugs do not necessarily open one’s mind, but , in many cases , promote shut-down of all critical faculties.

    Huge thumbs down!

  2. I’m confused. The site is full of misinformation, and therefore it is evidence of a shut down of critical faculties.

    but yet you’re the one using empirical evidence as all the proof one needs?

    I’m not defending the site (never been to it) but once has to be careful when talking about others lack of critical faculties.

  3. Erowid has been helpful to me on a number of occasions, and while there is a degree of misinformation, there is misinformation everywhere (see: Wikipedia). I’ve never seen any bad info on erowid that would cause someone to unintentionally harm themselves, so I don’t know what the big stink is. It’s the internet – take what you like and leave what you don’t.

  4. I’m not much of a drug user, i’ll check out what it says about salvia to see if it jives with my experiences.

  5. I have to agree with Pork Musket. While there are a number of experiences containing bad advice and misinformation, there are plenty more with good advice and good information. It’s the same thing with absolutely anything of it’s ilk on the web. Go look through the experiences on BME for another example. Some have really really bad ideas in them. While some are very informative. For that matter on both sites the bad advice serves to inform to some degree.

  6. One of the main functions of Erowid is collect multiple experiences from disparate sources. Saying that “Erowid is full of misinformation” like saying Amazon is full of misinformation just because not every product review is accurate. Except drug experiences are far more subjective than, say, using a VCR.

  7. I’m not entirely sure that a 14-year-old posting about how he combined Adderall, Salvia, Daturum, E, and pot, and ended up in the emergency room qualifies as “misinformation.” In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    Erowid has a lot of junk from teens abusing powerful stuff, but that’s because there are a lot of teens doing that. Millions of them. In my opinion, it can be a valuable resource: what if one of those teens saw what happened when st@rtr1pper42 went too far, and decides not to repeat his fate? What if thousands of them reach that conclusion? It could happen… Unlikely, but it could happen.

    Erowid also has interesting information. Detailed legalities, chemical structures, academic papers, and even some heartwarming posts about, for example, how E brought new life and love into a dying marriage.

  8. (Disclosure: I have a PhD in molecular pharmacology and work as a volunteer for Erowid)

    I must agree with Joel and D.Culberson. Just because naive people submit information/experience reports to Erowid does not mean it is full of misinformation. Erowid volunteers work hard to vet the huge number of incoming experience reports that are submitted. The experience report section is but one segment of the greater Erowid website. The rest of the website is a collection of information from various sources. It is certainly possible that this information may be inaccurate, misleading, or misinterpreted.

    I personally think that Erowid does a good job of presenting as much information as possible and is far better than other sites that either explicitly laud or discourage the use of these substances.


  9. If you click a commenter’s name, you can read all the posts they’ve made to Boing Boing.

    I use this to help figure out whether or not someone’s comments are worth spending much time thinking about.

    Here are all the comments from the person who posted the first comment here:

  10. #9: I wish my discipline for checking that readout before getting huffed was as good as yours. Generally I use the much simpler heuristic of screening based on grammar and punctuation, which works only almost as well.

  11. Yes, you can see all my muppet posts by clicking on my username. Don’t neglect to check out my totally uncool Web 0.1 website , hope you find some muppetry worth your 2 minutes there.

    The very existence of erowid is the evidence of the shut-down of critical faculties among many internet drug warriors.

    But I must confess to knowing next to nothing about the subject , i’m jus a muppet who will nevertheless never be intimidated into putting down the banner:


    Still , i bow down to the superior knowledge and tactical understanding of the War on Drugs of all the erowid admirers here… lets just talk about USB vibrators instead!

  12. Thanks Mark and Crash, I forgot the lines from my favorite poem, Desiderata of Happiness, by Max Ehrmann, vis. “Know what peace there may be in silence” and “Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.”

  13. Yep, best to hang out with muppets of comparable brow height…

    (Disclosure: I am a Professor of quantum psychobabblology and armchair entheology- I eat pseudo-psychedelic post-grads for breakfast.)

  14. Umm.

    Any site like Erowid or Wikipedia (for that matter) is not considered a source for scholarly work, but it may spark my interest in some topic that I can do more research on.

  15. My only criticism of Erowid is that the information, while reliable, may be out of date. They are trying to present a huge body of information, so it’s understandable. Erowid is, of course, a great starting point for amateur and personal research, but when one focuses on a particular topic, be it one specific substance or one specific social issue relating to prohibition, you’ll quickly want to look elsewhere.

    It’s irrelevant if someone considers “drug use” to be a matter of personal freedom, a pox on society, or an externality of race relations in the 20th century. If we’re going to form educated opinions about “drug use” the more information available, the better.

    And really, this sort of information is hard to come by, even in bookstores. Actually, you have a worse chance at finding good information in the average bookstore about “drug use” than you do on Erowid. (I collect drug books, largely as cultural artifacts.)

  16. I use Erowid a lot. It may be full of “misinformation”, but like Wikipedia, Erowid is a pretty damn good starting point.

    Now I’ve come to realize that a lot of “reliable” information that comes from “professionally” written books about any particular drug can be found on Erowid as well. This means that either Erowid has some really legitimate information, or that books are full of as much misinformation as Erowid is. In the end, you’re ultimately best off just doing it and seeing how it affects you.

  17. Most of us here, in my opinion believe in our inalienable right to life,liberty & the pursuit of happiness. SADLY I see my like-minded compatriots pick apart at the obvious faults of our collective group. Knowledge is power…. So how you may ask does the opposition hide right in the open a bench of Supreme Court Justices that with their full knoweledge violaited Our American Constitution by allowing the Unconstitutional passage of the infamous HARRISON ACT….The 1st assaullt of our freedoms. No longer are the tactics so blatent, mow they steal our rights away, buried im 10,000 page report or play on our percieved fears. The opposittion wants control inplace instead of our original freedoms…

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