Drugs with street names like acid, angel dust, and vitamin K distort the way a user perceives time, motion, colors, sounds, and self. These drugs can disrupt a person's ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior. Hallucinogens such as LSD cause emotions to swing wildly and real-world sensations to assume unreal, sometimes frightening aspects. Dissociative drugs like PCP and ketamine may make a user feel disconnected and out of control.
In addition to their short-term effects on perception and mood, LSD is associated with psychotic-like episodes that can occur long after a person has taken the drug, and PCP and ketamine can cause respiratory depression, heart rate abnormalities, and a withdrawal syndrome. Use of LSD and other hallucinogens by secondary school students has declined since 1998, but ketamine and LSD are becoming more widely used at dance clubs and all-night raves by older teens and young adults.
NIDA research is developing a clearer picture of the dangers of these mind-altering drugs. We have compiled the scientific information in this report to inform readers and to strengthen prevention and treatment efforts.
Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Other Articles of Interest
This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.