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Drug Abuse: Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are a category of drugs that affect the brain in such a way that a person's perceptions -- meaning their sights, sounds, feelings, and how they judge time -- become very different and unreal. Hallucinogens can also cause changes with emotions, memory, and judgment.

Also known as acid, doses, trips, tabs, hits, sunshine, window pane, sugar cubes, microdot

Topics on Drug Abuse:
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What it is:

LSD is a very powerful drug made with a chemical found in a fungus -- that's right, a fungus (yuck) -- that grows on grains. It was originally developed as a treatment for mental patients, but doctors soon learned that it was too unpredictable to be useful. In the 1960's, many people took LSD because they believed the drug "expanded the mind." LSD is usually found as pieces of thin paper sprayed with the drug, which are eaten, or in liquid or gelatin form.

People who use it may experience:

  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Intense fear
  • Confused senses, like "seeing sounds" and "hearing colors"
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Long lasting mental problems, like schizophrenia or depression

Using LSD is a problem because:

  • Scary hallucinations can make people panic, which can lead them into dangerous situations.

  • LSD "flashbacks" are very common, with the drug's effects returning without warning from a few days to a year later.

  • Users develop tolerance, meaning that they eventually need more and more of the drug to get the same effect.

A drug very similar to LSD is something called Psilocybin Mushrooms, also known as shrooms, psychedelic mushrooms or magic mushrooms, which look like small brown or tan mushrooms.

Also known as angel dust, wack, rocket fuel, wack, supergrass, embalming fluid, killer weed

What it is:

PCP, or phencyclidine, was originally developed as an anesthetic for medical use, but was discontinued because it had many negative effects. It's a white crystalline powder that can be dissolved in water, but if it's mixed with other things, it can be different colors. It can be snorted as a powder, swallowed as pills, or sprayed on cigarettes and smoked.

People who use it may experience:

  • Increased blood pressure and pulse rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Flushed skin, sweating
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Problems with coordination
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, drooling
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of ability to feel pain
  • Fear and panic
  • Paranoia
  • Violent and aggressive behavior

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Memory loss
  • Problems with thinking and speech
  • Problems with motor skills
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Using PCP is a problem because:

  • People on PCP experience increased aggression, confusion and panic, and can accidentally hurt themselves or others.

  • People taking PCP have been known to commit suicide while they're still high.

  • PCP is not physically addicting, but users can become mentally hooked on the drug and begin to crave it.

Okay, so you've probably heard a lot about Cocaine and Crack. We've got lots of info on these drugs in the next section.


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