Project MKUltra is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
Once Project MKUltra got underway in April 1953, experiments included administering LSD to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts, and sex workers—"people who could not fight back," as one agency officer put it. In one case, they administered LSD to a mental patient in KentuckyKentucky for 174 days. They also administered LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, and members of the general public to study their reactions. LSD and other drugs were often administered without the subject's knowledge or informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code the U.S. had agreed to follow after World War II. The aim of this was to find drugs which would bring out deep confessions or wipe a subject's mind clean and program him or her as "a robot agent."
At the invitation of Stanford psychology graduate student Vik Lovell, an acquaintance of Richard Alpert and Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey volunteered to take part in what turned out to be a CIA-financed study under the aegis of MKUltra, at the Menlo Park Veterans' Hospital where he worked as a night aide. The project studied the effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine, AMT, and DMT on people.
In Canada, the issue took much longer to surface, becoming widely known in 1984 on a CBC newsCBC news show, The Fifth Estate. It was learned that not only had the CIA funded Dr. Cameron's efforts, but also that the Canadian government was fully aware of this, and had later provided another $500,000 in funding to continue the experiments. This revelation largely derailed efforts by the victims to sue the CIA as their U.S. counterparts had, and the Canadian government eventually settled out of court for $100,000 to each of the 127 victims. Dr. Cameron died on September 8, 1967 after suffering a heart attack while he and his son were mountain climbing. None of Cameron's personal records of his involvement with MKUltra survived, since his family destroyed them after his death.