How LSD Addiction Is Represented in the Media

How LSD Addiction Is Represented in the Media

The media has a strong influence on how we view certain issues

The media has a strong influence on how we view certain issues and how seriously we take certain actions. According to “Media Portrayal of Drugs” published by ABCNews (2002), “40 percent of teens in 2000 said programs make drugs seem OK.” TV shows and movies regularly portray drug use, and it is not always in a negative light or in a way that shows long-term consequences of use. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against media marketing toward youth that involves alcohol and prescription drugs. They cite that early exposure to viewing these experiences can lead to more prevalent alcohol and tobacco use.[i]

Portrayals of LSD in the Media

LSD has appeared in big-name movies such as Men Who Stare at Goats and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The first takes a humorous look at drug use, and the second goes so far as to credit author Hunter S. Thompson’s success to his experiences while on LSD. Thompson’s work is not the only literature or art to be linked to LSD use. Actor Cary Grant claimed to be influenced by LSD, as did the founders of Time magazine, and Apple founder Steve Jobs is rumored to have used the drug. The prevalence of LSD use by successful individuals suggests that drug use may lead to creativity or innovation. However, these individuals are already highly creative, and regular drug use is more likely to limit rather than enhance artistic or professional pursuits.

LSD and Image

LSD is a schedule I substance, meaning it is a drug with no legal usages. It is known commonly for its psychedelic properties. It induces a high causing delusions and hallucinations. These trips cause users to experience strong mood swings and intense emotions.[ii]

LSD is sold often on pieces of blotter paper, and these come in fun colors or stamped with logos that represent certain distributors or manufacturers. This method of dispersal suggests a fun and lighthearted activity rather than one that is serious and can lead to addiction and additional negative consequences. The book, Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse (2003) by Paul Gahlinger lists the following potential consequences of LSD use:

  • Rapidly changing moods
  • Depersonalization
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Extreme fear of losing control
  • Permanent insanity
  • Accidental or intentional injury
  • Death

The media rarely portrays these negative side effects, yet the effects are very real and likely outcomes of use. However, LSD use causes people to lose control of themselves and their faculties. LSD trips are unpredictable and often are terrifying for users causing them to act based on the induced unrealistic fear rather than reality.[iii] Learning the facts about LSD rather than relying on glamorous or idealized images of use is important for addiction prevention.

Ending LSD Abuse

As idealized as LSD abuse may be, it comes with real, dangerous and serious consequences. If you are ready to end LSD use or help a loved one step away from addiction, call our toll-free helpline today. We are here 24 hours a day to connect you to real solutions for addiction. We can even check your insurance coverage to see what help may be available to you in your journey toward a sober life. We can help. Please call today.


[i] Victor C. Strasburger, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/4/791.full/

[ii]https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4260/index.htm

[iii] L. Anderson, https://www.drugs.com/illicit/lsd.html