Compensation for LSD treatment

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A 67-year-old woman is believed to have become the first Norwegian to receive compensation for the ongoing ill effects she has suffered for nearly 40 years after being treated with the hallucinogenic drug LSD in the 1960s.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Gerd Knutsen has received NOK 200,000 (USD 36,000) after health officials determined there is no doubt that she has suffered “flashbacks” from the LSD treatment she was given at Modum Bads Nervesanatorium in 1964.

It was among several health care institutions in Norway that used LSD to treat hundreds of patients with nerve or psychiatric problems. In Knutsen’s case, she had been admitted to the sanitarium at Modum because of anxiety over attending school and what were termed attacks of “hysterics.” Aftenposten reported that staff at Modum gave her LSD to see what it “could give.” Knutsen claims the treatments were “terrible” and that “I was destroyed.”

There has been no specific compensation program for those treated with LSD between 1959 and 1975. Knutsen has since been diagnosed with psychiatric disturbances because of flashbacks caused by use of the hallucinogenic drug, which she said can last for up to an hour and leave her sobbing. She’s glad to receive compensation through a general program to cover medical malpractice, but thinks NOK 200,000 is very little.

“I won’t complain, but what is that sum for a ruined life,” she told Aftenposten. Officials at Modum Bad declined comment.

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