LSD Use - Hallucinogenic Substances
It was the drug of the 60s. The hippie generation revered it as it took them on a trip of a lifetime through free love and flower power. Psychedelic images flashed in and out of minds altered by the hallucinogen LSD or to give it its less poetic name, lysergic acid diethylamide.
These days, although LSD, commonly known as acid, dots, tripper, L,smilies, paper mushrooms, is still very much a part of the US and UK drug scene, it has gained a reputation as the old timer of drugs, being replaced by the new kid of the block, ecstasy.
History of LSD / Acid
It was first discovered in 1938 by research scientist Albert Hoffman, derived originally from ergot, a fungus found growing wild on rye and other grasses. Five years later he underwent the first ever LSD trip by mistake while carrying out an experiment in his laboratory. "..I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense kaleidoscopic play of colours." And the world hasn't looked back since.
In the 1950s and 60s doctors in America and UK used LSD to help some mentally ill patients recall repressed thoughts and feelings. It was also tried unsuccessfully by the US military as a truth drug. But it was in the early 60s that people began to experiment with LSD for pleasure. Among fringe and hippy groups LSD was seen as an almost religious experience and way of getting in touch with self, other people and the environment.
The authorities quickly moved against this new wonder drug and in 1966 it was made illegal in the UK . Other countries quickly followed suit. It is now a Class A drug the same as heroin and cocaine and is banned throughout the world. Penalties for being caught with it range from a fine to death in some Asian countries.
Despite this it is still easy to buy. Laboratories manufacturing LSD have sprung up in Asia, US the UK and the Netherlands and although it is not the multi million pound industry of cocaine and heroin, it still brings in the drug dealers a healthy profit.
LSD Abuse on the Streets
It is smuggled into countries via land, sea or plane and is quickly farmed out to the dealers through a complex network - and even on the internet. Clubs in particular are targeted. On the party island of Ibiza , clubgoers say LSD is their fourth favourite drug after cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines - enjoyed for its ability to enhance colours and sounds.
On the streets LSD is commonly referred to as "acid" and is sold in tablets, capsules and occasionally liquid form. As a liquid is absorbed onto paper sheets and these are cut into tiny squares like postage stamps or transfers and often have pictures or designs on them.
Although thought of as very much a 60s drug, LSD is still very much part of the US and UK drugs scene and the common denominator is that it is young people 16-29 who are the main users. It is difficult to know how many young people have tried or use it on a regular basis because in surveys it is usually lumped with other drugs like amphetamines. But it appears the generation of the 1960s, which was weaned on it has grown out of it.