Hallucinogens are found in plants and fungi, or are synthetically produced, and are among the oldest known group of drugs used for their ability to alter human perception and mood. Street names include Acid, Blotter, Blotter Acid, Cubes, Doses, Fry, Mind Candy, Mushrooms, Shrooms, Special K, STP, X and XTC. Hallucinogens come in a variety of forms. MDMA or ecstasy tablets are sold in many colors with a variety of logos to attract young abusers. LSD is sold in the form of impregnated paper (blotter acid), typically imprinted with colorful graphic designs.

The most commonly abused hallucinogens among junior and senior high school students are hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD and MDMA or ecstasy. Hallucinogens are typically taken orally or can be smoked. Sensory effects include perceptual distortions that vary with dose, setting, and mood. Psychic effects include distortions of thought associated with time and space. Time may appear to stand still, and forms and colors seem to change and take on new significance. Weeks or even months after some hallucinogens have been taken, the user may experience flashbacks or fragmentary recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience in the absence of actually taking the drug.

The occurrence of a flashback is unpredictable, but is more likely to occur during times of stress and seems to occur more frequently in younger individuals. With time, these episodes diminish and become less intense. Physiological effects include elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and dilated pupils. Deaths exclusively from acute overdose of LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline are extremely rare. Deaths generally occur due to suicide, accidents, dangerous behavior or due to the person inadvertently eating poisonous plant material.

A severe overdose of PCP and ketamine can result in respiratory depression, coma, convulsions, seizures and death due to respiratory arrest. Many hallucinogens are Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Hallucinogens can be synthetically produced in illicit laboratories or are found in plants.

(SOURCE: DEA www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com)