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How would the show differ if the mass produced drug was something else instead of methamphetamine?(r/breakingbad)
If a ‘breaking bad’ like show was made with LSD instead of meth, the show would have to be basically an adaptation of Lysergic. I went a little crazy because I already had a lot of this info floating around. This is very much a reality is stranger than fiction sort of deal. The characters in the real world looked like this (some details may be wrong because i’m working from memory here):
Walt would be William Leonard Pickard, a zen buddhist, chemist and harvard academic and UCLA drug policy analyst researching developing drug trends in russia, who was arrested for manufacturing LSD in a missle silo that also manufactured springs that were used by NASA. International conspiracy reaching from Asian smugglers of Ergotamine tartrate to board members of the New York ballet who laundered money through the russian mob. Said to manufacture 10,000,000 hits of LSD every 5 weeks. Previous arrests for manufacturing LSD, amphetamines, MDMA. Connected to acadamic and underground psychedelic scene. True believer, makes LSD because he thinks it’s medicine the world needs.
Supporting Characters include:
Gordon Todd Skinner, a shaman with an industrial family fortune. Head of security for Pickard’s LSD operation, owns the missle silo lab, manufactures designer psychedelics, needlepoint LSD, synthetic mescaline and all sorts of ayahuasca analogs. Trips constantly, able to make other people feel like they are tripping just by being in the same room as him. Turns DEA informant when pickard wants to kill a person who threatens the connection to ergotamine tartrate, turns out has a history as a rat after a bust for being a jersey marijuana kingpin. Serving life in prison for kidnapping and torture.
Krystie Cole, a stripper turned Leary-lite, Gordon Todd Skinner’s girlfriend. Skinner leaves psychedelic drug residue on her doorknobs, becomes increasingly controlling and manipulative. Eventually, skinner and her kidnap her other boyfriend, torture him for days with a wide variety of psychedelic drugs and physical abuse, including shocks to the testicles, salvia divinorum extracts and analogues, LSD, ayahuasca concoctions. Later, Skinner pretends to be a swedish doctor who implants an unknown parasite into his body through his skin, then dumps him in the texas desert to die. Goes on to write Lysergic, create the ‘neurosoup’ youtube phenomena (if you ever thought about taking DMT anally, you probably heard if from her), then (maybe) got bouncing bear botanicals busted by advocating them as a source of plant based hallucinogens. Widely hated by many in the underground psychedelic community as a narc, although this is debatable (I personally don’t buy it, talking to authorities about a kidnapping and torture case against a guy that abused you isn’t quite narcing, but mine seems to be a minority opinion).
Clyde Apperson – Computer Programmer, sets up and takes down LSD lab, partner with Pickard. Sentenced to 30 years without parole, no prior criminal record.
Recurring Bit players:
Sasha Shulgin – Former mentor to Pickard, godfather of MDMA, author of PIHKAL and TIHKAL, books considered by the DEA as cookbooks for illegal drugs or analogues, and books considered by him to be keys to understanding the human brain and consciousness by studying the brain’s reaction to these ‘keys’ from the first and third person perspective.
David Nichols – Top expert on LSD, psychopharmacologist. Holds one of the only DEA licenses to manufacture schedule 1 substances. Creates LSD analogues to map the function and distribution of serotonin receptors. Pickard briefly learned from his lab and clandestinely manufactured LSD analogue LSZ, which was developed in Nichols lab.
John Halperin – researcher on psychedelic drugs. Studied the effect of peyote in native americans, peyote for alcoholism treatment, long term effects of ayahuasca, effects of psychedelics on addictionfounded Entheogen Corp, to bring non-psychoactive LSD analogue BOL-148 to market as a treatment for cluster headaches. Publicly accused of being a rat at an LSD symposium by:
Mark McCloud – Art historian, collector of LSD blotter art. Accuses John Halperin of being a rat in the Pickard case at an LSD symposium in switzerland, leading to a huge controversy.
Rick Doblin – founder of the multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies. Involved in research of psychedelics on dying, getting research funded and approved. Responsible for recent approval of psychedelic research. Went to same Harvard Kennedy School of government as Pickard. Deals with fallout from Mark McCloud/Halperin situation.
Alfred Savinelli – ‘bad shaman’ Prankster, owner of incense company, gives Leonard hard to find lab equipment ordered through his company in exchange for regular shipments of pure DMT.
ET Man – source of ergotamine tartrate, likely asian, likely connected to smugglers and triads/yakuza, west coast.
NY Ballet man – son of high class society, board of directors of NY Ballet, money launderer through russian mob.
Mark Kleiman – blogger, drug policy analyst, professor of public policy at UCLA, employed Pickard as deputy drug policy analyst, using funds from NY Ballet man. Organizer of blog the reality based community
Petaluma Al – Purchases LSD from pickard in bowling alley deals. Not much is known and no one gave him up when the lab got busted. Probably not from petaluma, probably not named Al. Responsible for distributing most of the lab output.
If I was writing it, I would also include this guy except say he faked his death.
The DEA claimed the lab bust closed off 90% of the worlds LSD supply (pickard denies their logic, arguing there wasn’t a 90% increase in availability during the time he was operating). They are very interested in a bust this size. There is little cartel involvement, LSD is manufactured and distributed through very tight knit families of true believers that cook one or two batches every few years, distributing them through jam band tours. These families have never been busted up. Entry to a family may or may not depend on taking a thumbprint, something no undercover could do.
This show could rival breaking bad if it was done right. LSD is a lot different then meth. Meth mostly makes the world a worse place, but the world is probably a better place if people who want LSD can get a high quality product. There is so much unbelievable, compelling shit around the case and it’s aftermath, and about the people who manufacture and distribute LSD, that many seasons would write themselves and if it wasn’t real you couldn’t make it up. You could make this series go 5 seasons based on what’s happened over the last 15 years, and the reaction would be ‘that’s so crazy it would never happen.’ I think it would be incredibly compelling to watch.