Sheryl is on the dance floor. The music is pumping. The colors cast by the lights of the club seem more vivid and the beams of light appear three-dimensional. Suddenly, the beams of light begin to wiggle. At first the motion is reminiscent of snakes moving across smooth desert sand but it quickly becomes fast and violent.
She goes from startled to terrified in the time it took her to gasp in fear. Her heart is racing and an icy panic begins to move slowly up her spine. She tries to scream but can't. A bright red anaconda like beam of light is wrapped around her throat and she can feel it crushing her windpipe. Her eyes are huge and filled with the terror of what is happening to her. She starts to try and free herself from this monster.
Her fingernails are dug deep into the beam of light and its purple blood is running down her arms, but still its grip around her neck tightens. Sheryl falls to the floor fighting frantically with the beast. A crowd has gathered around her, and the other party goers look on in horror. The girl in the sexy black mini-dress is rolling around on the floor. She is clawing at her neck and her arms are covered in her own blood. The music stops and someone yells, "Call 911." Sheryl is on a trip.
She was hoping to go to "Fantasy Island" but wound up in "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Sheryl is high on LSD, lysergic acid diethyl amide. The most potent hallucinogenic known to man. LSD was developed in 1938 by Arthur Stoll and Albert Hofmann. Two Swiss chemists hoping to create a headache cure. Hofmann accidentally ingested some of the drug and discovered its hallucinogenic effect (Fact Monster 2003).
Although the drug does not appear to any cause psychological or physical dependence. The danger of LSD is that its effects are unpredictable, even in experienced users. "What happens with the use of LSD is that the intense visual illusions triggered seem real and become overpowering, prompting the user to want to withdraw from the drug- state immediately." (DEA Publications - LSD in the US - Use and Effects). According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (2003), "The effects of LSD on ones health are unpredictable. It depends on the amount taken; the user's personality, mood, and expectations; and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Some users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and despair while using LSD.
Some fatal accidents have occurred during states of LSD intoxication." The late 1960's and early 1970's are ripe with tales of young adults, known as hippies, who got high on weed and dropped tabs of acid to achieve a deeper emotional and spiritual connection nature and each other. Unfortunately for them all they really got was high. They did attend Woodstock and a few Grateful Dead concerts though. One of the most dangerous side effects of LSD use is flashbacks.
Flashbacks or "free trips" are the recurrence of a person's experience without them having taken the drug again (Drug Enforcement Agency). A flashback occurs suddenly, often without warning, and may occur within a few days or more than a year after LSD use. Sadly, there are some that see this as a benefit. What started out as a cure for headaches has turned out to be one big pain to society. LSD is relatively inexpensive and this makes it more attractive to those who use it, teenagers especially and the fact that the high that it induces can last from eight to twelve hours doesn't hurt either.
This drug, that was once so popular in the 60's and 70's, has made a comeback. It is one of the favorites among adolescents who frequent raves and other teen nightspots. It is a sign that the war on drugs is not over and that the front lines are very close to home.