Drugs of Abuse: Hallucinogens

Understanding hallucinogens and their effects

Slang. Lysergic acid diethylamide: LSD, Acid, Blotter. Psilocybin: Magic Mushrooms,Shrooms. Phencyclidine: PCP, Angel Dust, Boat, Ozone, Wack. Ecstasy: E, X, XTC.

Hallucinogens affect your brain. Hallucinogens change the way the brain interprets time, reality, and the environment around you. They also affect the way you move, react to situations, think, hear, and see. This may make you think that you're hearing voices, seeing images, and feeling things that don't exist.

Hallucinogens affect your heart. The use of hallucinogens leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Hallucinogens can put you in a coma. They can also cause heart and lung failure.

Hallucinogens affect your well-being. The use of hallucinogens may change the way you feel emotionally. They may cause you to feel confused, suspicious, and disoriented. Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP overdose or its disturbing psychological effects, including delusions and paranoia.

Hallucinogens affect your self-control. The effect of hallucinogens varies from time to time and person to person, so there is no way to know how much self-control you might maintain. They can cause you to mix up your speech, lose control of your muscles, make meaningless movements, and act in irrational, aggressive, or violent ways.

Know the law. Hallucinogens are illegal to buy, sell, or possess.

Get the facts. Hallucinogenic drugs distort your perception of reality. Hallucinogens cause your sense of space and time to become distorted and cause you to see objects that aren't really there.

Stay informed. The body can quickly form a tolerance to a hallucinogen, so a person would have to take more and more of the drug for the same effect. This is very dangerous because taking stronger doses of any drug may cause severe side effects, including overdose.

Know the risks. Hallucinogens can cause flashbacks. Effects of the drugs, including hallucinations, can occur weeks, months, and even years after use.

Know the signs…

  • Distorted sense of sight, hearing, and touch
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Faintness
  • Irrational behavior

Information provided by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
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