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Rise of Hallucinogen Use

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1997
11 pages
Publication Series

Crack has been the drug of the inner city for a decade, but hallucinogens appear to be a popular drug among young, more affluent users.


Psychedelic drugs figured prominently in the hippie culture of the 1960's and 1970's, but their popularity declined during the 1980's. Recent studies indicate hallucinogen use is on the rise in the 1990's, particularly among young adults of the same socioeconomic class as those who embraced these substances in previous decades. While current hallucinogen users appear to be minimally involved in criminal activities, their drug use behavior places them at risk of harming themselves or others. Data on the resurgence of hallucinogen use indicate hallucinogens are relatively inexpensive, domestically produced, and not part of a network of distributors battling over markets and territory. Data also show the percentage of Americans who used psychedelics at least once in their lives increased from 6 percent in 1991 to 14 percent in 1996. The percentage of high school seniors who believed trying LSD and using it regularly was a great risk declined significantly during the same period. About one-third of college and university officials said hallucinogen use, particularly LSD and psilocybin, was increasing on campuses. The rise in hallucinogen use coincided with the growth of "raves," underground dance parties catering to those under 21 years of age. Although systemic violence associated with heroin and cocaine has not been reported with hallucinogens, repeated doses of hallucinogens or the ingestion of multiple substances can produce highly adverse effects, including death. 27 notes and 7 exhibits

Date Published: October 1, 1997