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Subject: Blue Star LSD Scare
Date: 2 Nov 1993 13:09:49 GMT
NEW YORK (UPI) - A flyer circulating in the metropolitan area warning parents to be on the watch for LSD-laced tattoos directed at young children is as false as it is frightening, authorities confirmed Monday.
Particularly disturbing to anxious parents in the New York area who have contacted authorities, is the flyer's claim that the powerful hallucinogen can be absorbed through the skin "simply by handling the paper."
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Agency said the so-called "Blue Star" LSD scare has appeared in various forms across the country for decades.
"It's like the Energizer bunny, you can't kill this thing," said Bill Ruzzamenti, Chief of Public Affairs for the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in Washington, D.C. "In some cases even law enforcement organizations are putting it out."
Fliers posted in stores in the Bronx and Staten Island, and an announcement in local newspapers in Queens warned of "a small piece of paper containing a blue star...the size of a pencil eraser, and each star is soaked with LSD", as well as brightly colored paper resembling postage stamps with pictures of Bart Simpson, Disney characters and other cartoon figures.
At least two instances of the most current scare are apparently linked to the Connecticut area. A letter to the editor of the Rockland Journal-News containing the information was signed from Danbury, according to New York DEA spokesman John Dowd.
Lisa Gelhaus, Managing Editor of the 100,000 circulation Queens Ledger Weekly Newspaper Group, ran the warning in all of her papers. Gelbert said a staffer had obtained a flyer from a newspaper delivery man who told the reporter he got it from an Elmhurst, Queens church. The church apparently received it from a Danbury, Conn. prayer group.
Sgt. Bob Maloney of the New York City Police Department Tactical Narcotics Team said he'd heard of similar rumors but has never seen "blue star" LSD in eight years of narcotics enforcement.
John Fitzgerald, of the New York City Board of Education's drug training program, said school officials have determined that the rumors are a hoax, and that no police officer involved in drug-related education efforts has ever reported seeing the rumored LSD-soaked cartoon characters or blue stars.
Fitzgerald cited a letter sent to the Board of Education in June from the State of New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services asking for help in discouraging school districts from spreading the "Blue Star" rumors, which calls the trend "completely unfounded" and traces them to the state of Kansas eleven years ago.
"The last time this rumor spread, in 1988, (the agency) surveyed more than 400 police agencies in the state and found no basis for the reports," the letter, signed by Commissioner Marguerite Saunders, said.
LSD is short for lysergic acid diethylamide, a controlled substance which induces hallucinations and was popular as a recreational drug in the 1960s, but has been seeing a recent resurgence of use, DEA officials said.
Education and law enforcement officials said the flyers are often circulated by well-meaning church and civic groups who receive them from unknown sources.
DEA's Bill Ruzzamenti noted that misinformation can harm the credibility of legitimate drug education and interdiction efforts. Officials said that parents concerned about drug trends should contact schools, many of which have drug education programs, to be certain their information is correct.