From: nightsng@netcom.com (Amanda Baggs)
Subject: Article in Mercury News (re Blue Star LSD)
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 17:11:23 GMT

I read this in the Mercury News (Local Section) today, and thought that readers of this newsgroup would be interested. The following article is by columnist Angelo Figueroa:

Like that obnoxious pink bunny on TV that keeps going and going, the myth that tattoo stickers laced with drugs are circulating in Bay Area schools refuses to fade into history.

The myth was around as far back as 1987. That's when Jan Harold Brunvand, a professor of folklore at the University of Utah, wrote a detailed history of how it got started in an article that ran in our Living section.

Over the years, other articles, including the one in January by Mercury News reporter Sandra Gonzalez, have tried dispelling the rumor, to no avail. Letters and calls from concerned parents continue to arrive at the newsroom.

It's become the urban legend that won't die, fueled by well-meaning, but uninformed, good Samaritans. It's understandable.

Imagine how alarmed you'd be if your kid brought home a flier from school with the following notice:

WARNING TO PARENTS: A form of tattoo, called "Blue Star" is being sold to school children. Each star is soaked with LSD.

The drug is absorbed through the skin simply by handling the paper.

This is a new way of selling acid by appealing to young children.

If your child receives any of the above, DO NOT HANDLE THEM. They are known to react quickly, and some are laced with strychnine.

Please feel free to reproduce this article and distribute it within your community and work place.

From: J. O'Donnell -- Danbury Hospital Outpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Services.

The notice would certainly grab your attention if you weren't hip to the hoax. You might even distribute copies to warn your friends and neighbors of the danger.

That's what happened to Stan Przepiosky, who manages a print shop in Hayward. He printed 5,000 notices and delivered them free to the Hayward Unified School District, which distributed them on its campuses.

"I feel like a dodo head," Przepiosky said. "I have children of my own and thought I was doing the school district a favor."

That was a year ago, but the fliers are still circulating in Fremont, Santa Clara, and other South Bay cities.

Danbury Hospital, the Connecticut medical facility named on the notice, has been coping with the hoax for years.

"We get at least 10 calls a week from people around the country and Canada," said hospital spokeswoman Diane Burke. "People believe what they read and just keep copying and distributing the fliers."

The hospital has no idea how its name got on the flier. It has never had a patient or employee by the name of J. O'Donnell.

That's a relief to parents like Patty Lacy of Fremont.

Lacy was upset when she read the warning in her son's school newsletter and later at her job site. Her husband assured her it was a hoax, but she checked into it anyway by calling the Hayward print shop and Danbury Hospital. Relief turned into anger.

"This thing spreads like wildfire," Lacy said. "The moral of the story is: Don't take these things at face value. Check into them first."

I second that opinion -- although I won't be surprised if we have to debunk the rumor again next year.

Old myths, like drum-beating TV bunnies, are hard to kill.

Anyway, just thought you'd be interested to know the newspapers are trying to get rid of these rumours.




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