At 17, I made DMT in my parents' basement

At 17, I made DMT in my parents' basement

VicesJuly 04, 2018 By

High school kids can be lawbreakers and geniuses at the exact same time. "Darius," a drug lover now in his early 20s, talked to Rooster about one of his craziest experiences: making and selling DMT when he was only 17 and living with his parents. DMT is one of the world's most profound and batshit crazy drugs, a schedule I substance. Here's what Darius told us, edited for length and flow.  


Extracting DMT in my parents' basement was the thing that gave me the reputation in my town of being, like, a suburban gangster. By the time I graduated high school, I was the kid who was known for having a lot of ovaries — a lot of balls.

My parents were trying to raise me in a typical suburban way: don't drink, don't do drugs, go to church, don't break the law.

In fact I'd made a vow I would never do drugs or alcohol in my whole life. Then a friend said, "Weed's not bad, they're lying to you." I tried marijuana at 15 and LSD at 16. It was wonderful. I didn't know life could feel that joyous. After that, I didn't trust what the media or anyone told me about drugs.

When I was bored in class I would read trip reports on my cell phone. DMT seemed like a peak experience in terms trying to feel good.

I didn't have a lot of drug connections in my small town; the only way I was going to get DMT was by making it myself. So I looked on the internet and found the most simple DMT recipe I could.

Chemistry class was hard for me. But it didn't matter. This was not more difficult than making pot brownies, just a longer process.

The hard thing to get was the mimosa. [DMT occurs naturally in thousands of plants, but it's particularly concentrated in the root bark of a tree called mimosa hostilis.] But this was before the crackdown on mimosa. I bought it off Amazon and had it shipped. I got home from school first so I was the one who picked up the mail. The other ingredients you could get from the grocery store or Target. The lye you could get from Lowe's.

Once I had all the supplies, I waited for when everyone in my family would be gone for a few hours.

The fumes were a real thing. You don't want to breathe that in too much.

When I'd hear people get home upstairs, I'd scramble to put everything away, or else I'd come upstairs and make myself conspicuous so they wouldn't come looking for me.

One time in the process of hiding the supplies, after they got home, I accidentally spilled lye on the carpet. I fried the carpet, just melted it into goop. I tried to vacuum it up, which broke the vacuum. The burn was sort of hidden under a cabinet. A few days later my dad was like, "You know what happened to the vacuum?" And I was just like, "No, no, I have no idea. I think it was my brother." I totally threw my brother under the bus.

I got the DMT perfectly right on the first try.

When I first took a hit, I felt like I was melting. My vision was made of a million pieces of broken glass. When I broke through, there was — you know — the machine elves, the DMT goddesses and all that. I could talk about all that for a while.

[What a DMT trip can look like, approximately. Photo from Shutterstock.]

Pretty soon I was doing it in the mornings before school. It wasn't even because I wanted to get high, it was so I could feel more zen.

Then I started selling it. People were very enthusiastic. I sold a lot of DMT to a tiny suburban town. Enough to change the town.

It was, let's say, a hundred dollar investment for a couple thousand dollars worth of drugs. I did that maybe six times. I used that money to buy weed and LSD, and I sold that and used it. I treated it like a job. I was a lot richer when I was 17 than I am now.

This went on for about eight months. I never got caught with DMT. It ended because I got arrested for weed and put on house arrest. They had the right to search my house at any time. So I dug a very large hole in the woods behind my house and buried a large, large sum of drugs. I sold a friend of mine the glassware and DMT precursor. He took on the legacy.

It was a great episode in my life. Enriching. Especially the spiritual aspect that was something that stuck with me. Respect for the present moment.

It's hard to say anything bad about an experience which had absolutely zero consequences that probably should have.

[cover photo: Mimosa hostilis root bark, a key ingredient in making DMT. From Shutterstock.]