Packing for the trip - Page 2

THE DRUG ISSUE: The art of taking drugs to -- and at -- Burning Man
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How they roll Photo by Jeffery Cross

Burn night, the week's penultimate party, can get downright ugly, walking zombies with glazed expressions and wan, serotonin-depleted smiles.

It can take weeks to fully recover your senses after a run like that. But we do come back. Humans are remarkably resilient creatures.

Serious week-long benders aren't for everyone, but almost everyone dabbles in the desert. Newbies want to maximize their experience and veterans just know, including the fact that (no matter what they're intentions going in) they'll want drugs, which can be tough to score out there.

Cops with night-vision goggles and plain-clothed narcs prowl the playa and we've all heard outrageous stories of vile, sneaky busts. As a result, we're so guarded around people we don't know that uninitiated newbies sometimes sadly conclude that nobody does drugs at Burning Man, despite all the giddy grins and oversized pupils. Remember: you aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you.

So we down our drugs carefully and stock up here. But most of us are professionals — more so in the working than party worlds — who don't have dealers on speed dial. So right now, we're all banding together to place ridiculously large orders — hundreds of pills, pounds of fungus, all just for personal use — with the handful of multidrug dealers who can make more money in August than the other 11 months put together.

But drugs busts don't spike in August, and busts at or en route to Burning Man have also been flat in recent years, despite eager law enforcement. That's because we're smart, creative professionals who really don't want to get caught. And we've devised crazy, inventive ways of hiding them — systems I won't reveal. We all have drugs, but bring your dogs and all your cop knowledge, and you still won't find them.

We are determined and we love our drugs.
For great advice on dosage and warnings about various drug combinations, consult www.erowid.org.