The drug-fueled death of young Cypress man Lewis Lee on September 6 has ignited a familiar debate on the Orange County Register's comment board:

Should acid, that peace-loving Burning Man staple borne of the 1960s flower-child movement, be considered as dangerous and deadly as, say, heroin?

The Register describes Lee's last day on Earth — the same day he tried LSD for the very first time.

[Jay Ahn, his best friend,] said he picked up Lewis around 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, and headed to his Anaheim home, where they took a hit of the drug commonly known as acid.

“Lewis was against partying and wasting time,” Ahn, 23, said. “He wanted to try it because he wanted to learn more about himself. For any other circumstance, he would've never done it.”

A 26-year-old friend from Buena Park [who hadn't taken drugs] was at Ahn's home watching over them, but at some point, Lee became agitated and took off his shirt before running out the door.

Lee's friends went on a search mission in their Camry, and eventually found him running around completely naked at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Ball Road. In an attempt to escape police, who had been notified, the pair took off with Lee in the back seat. But they only got to about Brookhurst Street and Katella Avenue before he “apparently opened the back door and jumped out.”

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The worst part: His friends then left him there in the street, suffering from severe brain damage. Cypress cops tell the Register that “the driver and Ahn panicked, leaving Lee on the roadway.”

Still, barring strange toxicology results, there will be no arrests.

In a similar 2004, case, a West Valley drug dealer got 15 years behind bars for selling shrooms to a teen who was killed after wandering, naked and high, onto the 101 freeway.

Lee, for his part, is described as a good Korean-American son who graduated from Cypress College and held a steady job as a salesman for a Tustin solar company. “He was the kind of son we could depend on,” his mom tells the Register, despite a couple run-ins with the law during college.

So there you have it: Overdosing on LSD might be near chemically impossible, but its effect on one's decision-making capabilities can be another beast entirely.

Even when acid doesn't lead to death, we've personally seen it alter the sanity and functionality of friends who claim it's only served to open their world. Not to say it doesn't have its perks — but it gets harder and harder to believe acid-trippers when they boast their habits to be universes above those of your average meth head.

What do you think? Should Lee's death be blamed on the evils of LSD, or a select few who mishandled it?


LA Weekly