Psychedelics are hardly strangers to party dance floors, but it wasn’t until earlier in this pandemic, when L.A. lifted its first lockdown, that I was invited to my first ’shroom party. The garden soirée, billed as a “safe space for community healing,” was hosted by a couple from L.A.’s underground music scene in their backyard. Hand-drawn tea bags stuffed with ’shrooms sat on tables next to joints rolled with rose petals. As stylish guests, many young and queer people of color, sat socially distanced on picnic blankets, sipping ’shroom teas and nibbling olive bread against a glowing sunset, a deep sense of serenity settled over the scene. I wondered: Is this the future?
COVID-19 has cleared the arena for America’s druggiest era, as the twin wrecking balls of economic devastation and psychic trauma leave a crater of suffering — and drugs come to fill the void. Welcome to the dissociation generation, baby! In this dawning new age, doctors prescribe party drugs, politicians push weed legalization as historic budget deficits loom, and everyone is tripping balls in the name of self-care. Maybe snorting your therapy sounded silly until the pandemic pushed our sanity to the brink; in quarantine, 13.3 percent of American adults started using substances or ramped up existing habits. My friends in New York have picked up ketamine like a cozy new hobby akin to knitting.