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Substance Abuse - LSD

Commonly Known As: Acid, L, blotter, tabs, LAD, doses, trips. The experience is described as tripping, flying, or frying.

Access to Drug: LSD is available through dealers who are present anywhere from school grounds to business offices to street corners. Commonly sold at raves. Initial contact with dealers is usually word of mouth through friends or acquaintances that use. Majority of LSD is manufactured in Northern California with some production reported by Los Angeles street gangs. Possession of LSD is illegal.

Scientific Name: D-lysergic acid diethylamide, a synthetic chemical that is derived from ergot fungus that grows on rye.

Interesting Facts: LSD is surfacing again in popularity through raves, and particularly among Junior High and High School adolescents who will take low doses of LSD and attend school with the idea it cannot be detected via drug screening programs. LSD was originally synthesized in 1938 and was investigated as a therapy for mental illness. LSD was popularized in the early 1960's by Doctor Timothy Leary as a way to expand consciousness. In 1965, the FDA made LSD illegal and in 1974, the National Institute on Mental Health determined LSD had no therapeutic use. LSD cannot be detected by standard urinalysis tests.

Methods of Use: LSD is taken orally and is most commonly found in the form of small squares of paper decorated with artwork or designs. Other forms include liquid sugar cubes, pills, gelatin cubes or shapes, or liquid drops. Alcohol and/or marijuana may be used in combination with LSD, usually towards the end of the "trip" to help bring the individual down to a more normal state.

Common Effects When Intoxicated: Users may report seeing light trails, act dreamy, and present impaired concentration and motivation. Users also report heightened awareness of the senses, particularly smell, hearing, and colors, as well as more intense emotions, combined with loss of judgment and impaired reasoning. Some individuals may become paranoid, depressed, anxious, or profess feelings of grandeur. Physically, LSD can cause a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, dizziness, and some sweating. LSD can bring about a strong temporary change in the user's life perspective and has been known to trigger latent psychological and mental problems. The following objective symptoms are associated with hallucinogen intoxication: dilated pupils, rapid heart beat, sweating, heart palpitations, blurred vision, tremors, and incoordination.

Duration of Intoxication: LSD generally takes 20 minutes to an hour to take effect, depending on how recently the user has eaten food and what other drugs/substances have been used in the manufacturing of the dose. The primary effects last for 6-8 hours with most people reporting a 2-6 hour time frame afterwards where it is difficult to go to sleep ("come down") and a lingering, noticeable difference from everyday reality.

Withdrawal: Withdrawal from LSD is mental and emotional as opposed to physical. Some users will report flashbacks of sensations or visual effects several months or even years after an LSD experience.

Effects of Long Term Use: LSD is not a drug that users will take daily because of the intensity of the experience. Individuals who take LSD frequently can become habituated to the drug and report increased anxiety, some panic attacks, an altered perception of reality and flashbacks. A psychological dependence can develop, however, and tolerance develops rapidly as well, reducing the intensity of the drug.

Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction: It is usually unlikely that individuals become addicted to LSD. It is not physically addicting; however, anyone seeking to escape from reality may choose LSD as an alternative. LSD does not cause schizophrenia but can sharply impact people with pre-existing mental instability or provoke a relapse in someone who has suffered a major depression or psychotic disorder.

Associated Risks: Because of the loss of judgment and impaired reasoning experienced during LSD use, a person under the influence can easily cause bodily harm to themselves and/or others. An LSD experience can trigger depression or a psychotic break and can trigger a suicide attempt.


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