As one of the most commonly known hallucinogens, LSD has been used for centuries as a central part of religious rituals. Hallucinogens, in general, produce a detached sense of reality, most often in the form of hallucinations.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, LSD’s chemical structure resembles the brain’s own natural neurotransmitter chemicals, some of which include serotonin, catecholamine and acetylcholine. These similarities in structure account for LSD’S effects on users. This drug’s ability to alter a person’s overall perceptions contributes to its occasional use as one of a handful of “date rape” drugs.
With the advent of other more powerful hallucinogen substances like ecstasy, LSD abuse rates have seen a steady decline since the 1990s. While no longer popular in today’s world, LSD abuse still exists in some circles. Here are five LSD abuse statistics to consider.
First discovered in 1938, LSD remains one of the most powerful mood-changing drugs on the market. LSD is manufactured from lysergic acid, a substance derived from ergot fungi, which grows on rye and other grain-type plants.
Originally developed as a treatment for circulatory and respiratory conditions, LSD went on to be used in the study of mental illness in 1947. At the time, researchers believed LSD could be a potential cure for alcoholism, criminal behavior and sexual perversion disorders.
By the 1980s, ongoing LSD abuse practices and the resulting adverse consequences officially saw LSD branded as an illegal substance.
As a hallucinogen drug, LSD increases sensory perception to the point where a person may experience a wide range of emotions all at once. The actual effects of the drug can vary from person to person, with some people experiencing “bad trips” and others experiencing “good trips.”
National trends for LSD abuse practices include the following:
- In 2008, 800,000 people, from ages twelve to sixty years old, reported using LSD
- One-fifteenth of the respondents in 2008 reported using the drug more than once
- Usage rates dropped to 779,000 in 2009
Teenage LSD Abuse Trends
Hallucinogens have been most popular within the party circuit and are sometimes referred to as “club drugs.” According to the Education Resources Information Center, among high school teenagers, annual usage trends for 10th to 12th graders saw a gradual decline between the 1960s and mid-1970s.
Between the years 1991 and 1996, abuse rates increased only to drop off considerably between the years 2001 and 2003. To date, LSD abuse rates have remained historically low with slight increases taking place within the past three years.
Young Adult LSD Abuse Trends
Compared to teens, LSD abuse rates run a little higher for people in the 18 to 25 year old age group. In fact, young adults represent the largest number of LSD users in the United States. An estimated 12.1 percent of young adults reported trying LSD at least once in their lifetime.
LSD and Sexual Assault Rates
According to the Emergency Medical Clinics of North America Journal, roughly 44 percent of sexual assaults take place while the perpetrator and/or victim are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An estimated 4.3 percent of victims were drugged with LSD as well as other hallucinogenic substances. In terms of past physical and sexual abuse, two-thirds of LSD users reported using the drug to escape from memories of abuse.