Hallucinogens

From plant-based psychoactive substances, phencyclidine (PCP) derivatives, and tryptamines to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), hallucinogens – also known as psychedelics – remain popular drugs of abuse due to their ability to alter perception, thought, emotion, and consciousness. Abuse of hallucinogenic substances is widely prevalent around the world. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in a 2011 report estimated the number of teenage students using psilocybin and psilocin at 1 to 7 percent of the population in the 24 EU member states and Norway.1 A 2013 study in the United States revealed a lifetime prevalence of 17 percent for LSD, psilocybin, and peyote use among people aged 21 to 64 years.2

Over the last few years synthetic and plant-based hallucinogenic substances have appeared on the clandestine drug market. These emerging hallucinogens produce sedating and anesthetizing effects in addition to distorting the sensory perceptions of users. Newer hallucinogens include Kratom, Salvia divinorum, Khat and the phencyclidine derivatives 3-methoxy-PCP and 4-methoxy-PCP.3,4,5 Tryptamines, a class of hallucinogens that includes drugs such as 5-methoxy-DMT and 5-methoxy-DALT, represent 10 percent of total new psychoactive compounds according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their 2013 report.6

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