KHOU - Digital 'drugs' for sale online?
If songs can set a scene, can listening to an iPod get you high?
Now, a debate centers around a little known Web site called I-Doser.com, which sells sounds that some say can get you high.
A few dollars allegedly buys the feeling of acid or cocaine. Sensations from sedatives to sex are also touted for sale.
Most of the tracks for sale sound mechanical with tones, ticks and hisses. But, listened to on headphones in a serene setting, some users say they have reached a feeling of being "high." I-Doser even warns users listening may impair their ability to drive a car or operate machinery.
Steelman, who has a degree in psychology and practices hypnotherapy, is skeptical. "It could give you a certain feeling,” she said. “Any types of tones and music would. What would concern me is - are there any types of subliminal messages underneath the tones?"
Tracking down who's behind the website was a challenge. A couple of messages weren't immediately returned to News 8. Houston area schools are warning parents. A student at Pope John the 23rd High School in Katy complained his classmates were listening to I-Doser and then acting goofy afterwards.
"Anything that has the ability to alter moods and emotions by sound waves might be asking for trouble," an administrator wrote in a letter sent out to parents.
YouTube is full of I-Dosers.
Young people have tried the "downloadable doses" on iPods, laptops and MP3 players. Dozens complain it has no effect on them at all.
No drug expert contacted by News 8 has heard of I-Doser.com. While some said they found it distasteful the site would sell sounds with the name of illegal drugs, most pointed out the idea is nothing more than meditation.
"These binary tones [have] been around for decades," Steelman said. "Now, they're just marketing it in another way that kind of gets in this younger crowd."
I-Doser's sounds are binary tones. Other ones have been used for years to induce meditation and treat anxiety, help depression and even stop smoking habits.
Randall Rubenstein, a Plano drug counselor, uses music to wean clients off addictions.
"It helps you to put you in a meditative state, which is in between awake and asleep," he said. "And when you get done with say thirty minutes of that, you get up and you feel refreshed."
Minus any hidden messages, experts said, I-Doser - despite how it's marketed - is safe.
Whether someone can use it to achieve a meditative state is up to each listener.