LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals manufactured from lysergic acid which is derived the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains . It is produced illegal in laboratories in the form of crystals that are converted to a liquid, it is odourless, colourless and has a slightly bitter taste.
It is known as ‘‘acid’’ and also carries other street names and is sold on the streets in small tablets (microdots) or gelatin squares (windowpanes). It is sometimes added onto paper that is absorbent, which is then divided into squares bearing loony cartoon characters as decoration.
At times it is sold in liquid form, but no matter the form it comes in LSD has the same effects of disconnecting one from reality. The users call the LSD experience a ‘‘trip’’ which usually lasts 12 hours or so. When things go wrong during the ‘‘trip’’ which is often the case, it’s called a bad trip another name for living hell.
Other street names are battery acid, yellow sunshine, loony toons, boomers, hippie dots and many more. LSD is a hallucinogen, these are drugs that makes the user see images, hear sounds and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce sudden unpredictable changes in the moods of those who use them.
The effects of LSD are unpredictable, they depend on the amount taken, the person’s mood and personality and the surroundings in which the drug is used. It can be a racing distorted high or a severe paranoid low due to the above factors.
Normally the first effects are experienced 30 to 90 minutes after taking the drug, often the pupils become dilated.
The body temperature can become high or low, while the blood pressure and heart rate can increase or decrease. Sweating or chills are not uncommon.
Users often experience loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors. Visual changes the user can become fixated on the intensity of certain colours. Extreme changes of mood from a high bliss to intense terror are also experienced. The worst part is that the user is unable to tell which sensations are created by the drug and which are part of reality.
Not only are the users disassociated from their usual activities in life, but they also feel the urge to keep taking more of the drug in order to re-experience the same sensation. Others experience severe terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death and despair while using LSD.
Once it starts there is no stopping a ‘‘bad trip’’ which can go up to 12 hours. Some people never recover an acid-induced psychosis and end up in mental institutions or disoriented for life.
As schools close may we take an active role as the welcome back VUZU party invites are in the air.
To be continued . . .
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l Mthandazo Ndlovu is a Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation Specialist.