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Ancient Dreams, Modern-Day Dreamers

From Medical Practice To Peace Rallies

While researchers were discovering the downsides of hallucinogens, young people were discovering their upsides. Those involved in the drug culture of the 1960s took an interest in hallucinogens as agents of love and peace. They produced and sold PCP, for example, as the “peace pill.”

Since then, new generations of young people have been intrigued by hallucinogens. Some begin using it as preteens. Antidrug efforts of government agencies, community organizations, and schools appear to have succeeded in lowering the usage rates of certain substances during the 1980s and 1990s. These successes may not be permanent, however. The temptation to experiment with so-called dream drugs continues.

Myths and Facts

Myth:  Hallucinogens are illegal because they are addictive, like alcohol and cocaine.

Fact:  They are illegal because they can harm the body. Most hallucinogens are not clinically addictive, but heavy users can become dependent on them. Some users require greater and greater doses in order to obtain the desired effects. The greater the intake, the greater the health risk.

Myth:  Hallucinogens pose no harm to society. If anyone gets hurt at all, it's only the user.

Fact:  The price of hallucinogen dependency and trafficking has ruined individuals, families, and communities. Regular use can damage the body. And the user's reactions to a bad trip can definitely injure other people.

Myth:  Ecstasy is the ideal recreational substance because it produces wonderful feelings and is safe to use.

Fact:  Ecstasy increases the user's pulse rate and blood pressure. It also increases body temperature. These effects can produce immediate physical problems. Some research suggests that heavy use of it may affect memory and other brain-related functions.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaCommon Street DrugsAncient Dreams, Modern-Day Dreamers - Natural Hallucinogens, Synthetic Hallucinogens, Hallucinogens Throughout History, Medical Experiments, From Medical Practice To Peace Rallies