Michael Skinnider | Grand Prize Winner

Michael Skinnider Essay | Hallucinating hallucinogens


Michael Skinnider

Hallucinating hallucinogens 

Early on the morning of 12 July 2016, paramedics were called to the scene of a mass casualty event in Brooklyn. Bystanders had reported that multiple individuals were displaying unusual behavior that they described as “zombie-like.” Investigators quickly established that all the affected individuals had smoked a packet of “herbal products” marketed as “AK-47 24 Karat Gold.” But this was not a typical drug overdose: Most recreational drugs, after all, do not cause users to stagger mechanically through the street, moaning and staring blankly. What “herbal product” could cause such alarming symptoms? Continue reading his award-winning essay.