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LSD popular for college students

By Caroline A. Loglisci
On April 25, 2001

Acid, blotter, cid, doses and trips are just a few of the over 80 street names for Lysergic Acid Diathylamide. LSD is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug that comes in a variety of forms but is most commonly sold in the form of blotter paper, which is small paper squares, or tabs that have been dipped in LSD. The tabs are often dipped in another chemical agent in order to bind the LSD to the paper. The binding chemical agents can often cause side effects, such as grinding of the jaw and restlessness. The drug can also be found in several other forms, including a power, crystal, liquid, gelatin squares, laced on a sugar cube or capsules, or as a small pill.

More than 200 types of LSD tablets have been encountered since 1969 and more than 350 paper deigns have been acquired since 1975. Designs range from simple stars in black and white to exotic artwork in full four-color print. LSD is relatively inexpensive, prices range from two dollars to five dollars per dosage unit or “hit,” wholesale lots often sell for as little as a dollar or less. Inexpensiveness, easily availability, alleged “mind-expanding” properties, and intriguing paper designs make LSD especially attractive to teenagers and college students.

Compared to other hallucinogenic substances, LSD is 100 times more potent than psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) and 4,000 times more potent than mescaline. The dosage level that will produce a hallucinogenic effect in humans generally is considered to be 25 micrograms. Over the past several years, the potency of LSD obtained during law enforcement operations has ranged between 20 and 80 micrograms per dosage unit.

LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by a chemist working for Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland. It was initially developed as a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. However, no real benefits of the compound were identified and the study was discontinued. In the 1940’s, interest in the drug was revived when it was thought to be a possible treatment for schizophrenia and was used as a research tool in studies of mental illness.

Sandoz Laboratories, the drug’s sole producer, began marketing LSD in 1947 under the trade name “Delysid” and it was introduced to the United States a year later. Sandoz marketed LSD as a psychiatric cure-all drug and hailed it as a cure for everything from schizophrenia to criminal behavior, sexual perversions and alcoholism. LSD was prescribed as treatment to over 40,000 patients. All such “cure-all” claims were later found to be false.

The late Timothy Leary gave LSD its fame after being kicked out of Harvard University for using students and other volunteers to study the effects of the drug on the brain. He later became an advocate of the drug, promoting its “mind expanding qualities.”

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the drug culture adopted LSD as the “psychedelic” drug of choice. As a casual drug of abuse, LSD remains popular with high school and college students.

“College students should not experiment with the drug since it has psychological risks. This will affect the students’ concentration on schoolwork and their grades would most likely suffer. On the other hand, college is a time when students are encouraged to explore new thinkings and experiment new things. So long as students don’t become dependent on the drug and have the will power to stop using it, then I really see no problem in recreational experimenting,” said Dave Tran, a 2nd- semester pre-pharmacy major.

The effects of LSD are unpredictable and they depend on the amount taken, the user’s personality, mood, expectations and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors.

Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations, the user’s sense of time and self also change. Sensations may seem to “cross over,” giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Users refer to their experiences with LSD as a “trip” and to acute adverse reactions as a “bad trip”. These experiences are long, lasting about 12 hours.

Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity, death, and despair while using the drug.

Many LSD users experience flashbacks, recurrence of certain aspects of a person’s experience, without the user having taken the drug again. A flashback occurs suddenly, often without warning, and may occur within a few days or up to over a year after LSD use. Flashbacks usually occur in people who have underlying personality problems; however, otherwise healthy people who use LSD occasionally may also have flashbacks.

Most users voluntarily decrease or stop using LSD over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior like cocaine, heroin, alcohol and nicotine. However, like many of the addictive drugs, LSD produces tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This becomes extremely dangerous given the unpredictability of the drug.

According to the UConn Student Conduct Code, while on UConn premises or when involved with off campus University activities, students are also subject to the provisions of the Student Conduct Code. The section on Acts of Misconduct (Article III, Section 7) specially prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale, use, offer for sale, or possession of drugs or narcotics or drug paraphernalia.

Conviction for the possession or distribution of drugs carries no mandatory minimum sentence but the following maximum sentences do exist for first-time offenders: five years or $2,000 or both for possession of a quantity of a hallucinogen (such as LSD). For knowing or intentional manufacturing, sale or possession with intent to sell, or large amounts of any narcotic including LSD has a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment a 4 million dollar fine or both.

For further information concerning general drug abuse refer to or call 1-888-NIH-NIDA. For more details regarding the UConn policies refer to .

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