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Many medications can cause hallucinations as an adverse effect of abuse. These medications are called hallucinogens. Hallucinogenic substances are characterized by the ability to cause changes in a person's perception of reality.
Persons that are using hallucinogenic drugs often report:
* seeing images,
* hearing sounds, and
* feeling sensations that seem real, but do not exist.
Hallucinogens are sometimes called ‘psychedelic drugs’, ‘trips’, ‘magic mushrooms’, ‘LSD’, ‘acid’.
History and statistical data
Hallucinogens have been used for centuries by certain peoples. The Hindus and the Aztecs used them to accomplish meditation state, cure illness, and enhance mystical powers. Many North American tribal peoples still use hallucinogenic mushrooms and peyote in tribal rituals.
After the development of LSD, a synthetic compound that can be manufactured anywhere, the abuse of hallucinogens became more widespread, and from the 1960s it increased dramatically. All LSD manufactured in this country is intended for illegal use, since LSD has no accepted medical use in the United States.
According to the several researches done in 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 34.3 million Americans aged 12 and older reported trying hallucinogens at least once during their lifetime. That is about 14.3% of the population.
Approximately 3.9 million or 1.6% of the population reported hallucinogen use in the past year and 929,000 (0.4%) reported current use of hallucinogens.
Nature of hallucinogens
These drugs have various different sources and structures. Some hallucinogens occur naturally in trees, vines, seeds, fungi and leaves, while others are made in laboratories by mixing different chemical substances. Some drugs, such as cannabis and ecstasy, can cause hallucinogen-like effects when used in high doses or in certain ways. Methods of administration can include sniffing or snorting, injection into the bloodstream, muscle, or under the skin. They can also be chewed, swallowed, applied to mucous membranes, or cooked into food or teas.