Police say that abuse of the hallucinogenic drug LSD, which went out of vogue during the 1970s, is on the rise again among Utah teenagers.
Salt Lake Police Lt. Marty Vuyk, commander of the Metropolitan Narcotics Strike Force, said police have discovered increased abuse of the drug among junior high and high school students in the state. He said parents should be on the lookout for the most common form of distribution for the drug - perforated sheets of heavy paper that look like stamps. The drug is usually ingested by placing the stamp in the mouth.It is an inexpensive way to obtain the LSD effect, Vuyk said.
Vuyk said the cyclical reappearance of LSD may be linked to teenagers' ignorance of the dangers of the drug. Youths in the '70s started avoiding LSD after the hallucinations it caused sometimes ended in death.
"They don't know about the dangers. Years ago people thought that kids were committing suicide when they jumped off buildings while on LSD," Vuyk said, "They were simply convinced they could fly."
On the street, the 3/8-inch stamps sell for between $3 and $5. Often the stamps are printed with Disney characters, musical notes, dragons, dots, a spectrum of colors or obscene pictures. A "trip" on LSD could last as long as eight hours, followed by a long sleep, Vuyk said.
Police believe the LSD they are finding is produced in illegal drug labs in California and then brought into the state. The stamps are often soaked in tubs of the diluted drug or treated with a blotter.
Vuyk cautioned against statements about LSD abuse circulated by local PTA organizations and Sevier County sheriff's office that indicate young children may be in danger of getting the stamps from older children "who want to have some fun or are cultivating new customers."
While the method could be used among teens to cultivate customers, there has been no evidence to suggest small children have been given the drug. However, caution should be taken if the drugs are found. LSD can be ingested through the skin if the stamps are handled, Vuyk said.
If parents discover their children are using drugs, he suggests they should first talk about it with them and then seek treatment.
"They need to start talking to somebody," he said.
For information about LSD abuse or ingestion, call the Drug Referral Center at 468-2009 or Poison Control Center at 581-2151.