Before "pharm parties" came "fruit salad" drug parties. Or so they say.

Media criticism.
March 26 2008 7:45 PM

The '60s Version of a Pharm Party

"Fruit salad parties." You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

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The Billings Gazette sounded the fruit-salad alarm in a Jan. 17, 1971, piece that cited the director of the state's alcohol and drug commission. And California's Hayward Daily Review ran a brief UPI wire story on Dec. 9, 1971, that sourced the National School Public Relations Association about the menace:

"Young people take different kinds of pills out of the family chest—tranquillizers, aspirin, barbiturates, hot pills, liver pills—and bring them to the party," the organization said.

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I don't know what a "hot pill" is, but it sounds like a buzz kill, especially in a fruit salad.

And there my fruit-salad party investigation ended, only to be restarted by Robert M. Stutman, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration special officer who has been telling anybody who'll listen in recent years that fruit-salad parties are real.

But Stutman appears to think fruit-salad parties are a new thing, according to a recent Baltimore Jewish Times report (Oct. 19, 2007):

In the 1960s and '70s, [Stutman] reiterated, teens would never take these pills, because they would be associated to the very people they were rebelling against, their parents. Now, according to Mr. Stutman, the rebellion is over, and the pills are part of addictive behavior.

What kind of pomegranates has he been chewing?

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Correction, March 27, 2008: The original version of this story mistakenly stated that a drug party described in a Time magazine story took place in Cape Cod. It took place in New Jersey. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.