Recreational LSD Use among 18-25 Year-Olds

Recreational LSD Use among 18-25 Year-Olds

It is easy to get bogged down in statistics and miss the truths of recreational drug use and addiction. 18-25 year-olds are using LSD, other hallucinogens and a variety of drugs. If you are a young adult, you are not immune to addiction. If you are a parent worried about an adult child, don’t deny suspicions or warning signs. Understand what recreational LSD use is and how it can affect you and your family.

Are Young Adults Using LSD?

LSD was first synthesized in 1938. Scientists and the public began experimenting with the drug, and by the 1960s it had entered popular culture and become a common drug of choice for 18-25 year-olds. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World[1] shares, “The ‘60s counterculture used the drug to escape the problems of society…Use of LSD declined in the 1980s, but picked up again in the 1990s. For a few years after 1998 LSD had become more widely used at dance clubs and all-night raves by older teens and young adults. Use dropped significantly in 2000 or so.” This dip in use did not last long. LSD may have lost some popularity in the early 2000s, but it is gaining a foothold among young adults once more. The Science Explorer[2] explains, “Aside from the top three legal drugs — alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine — the top 10 drugs used across the world were cannabis, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, prescribed and non-prescribed opioids, nitrous oxide, and ketamine.” LSD may seem like an outdated drug in this era of powerful prescription drugs, notorious street drugs and synthetic substances. However LSD use is anything but obsolete. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse[3] (NIDA), many individuals enter the 18-25 year-old range already familiar with LSD and its effects. NIDA reveals that 4.3% of 12th graders have used LSD at least once in their lifetimes. By the time individuals reach ages 18-25, that percentage has increased to 7%. Although LSD has long been associated with the hippie movement and counter-culture, there is no stereotypical LSD user. A drop-out festival-goer is as likely to be a member of that 7% as a straight-A pre-med student.

NIDA reveals that 4.3% of 12th graders have used LSD at least once in their lifetimes. By the time individuals reach ages 18-25, that percentage has increased to 7%.

LSD use is increasingly common for several reasons. One is a return to counter-cultural ideals, or at least hippie fashion. The Tab[4] explains, “Trends in fashion and culture could be part of the cause…” of the recent increase in LSD use among young adults. Another reason for LSD use is changing trends in what young adults seek from a recreational high. The Tab continues, “The surge in acid use is part of a bigger trend where young adults are looking for a more sociable high.” Young adults looking to connect with others and the world around them will pursue different drugs than those seeking all-night parties or escape from personal mental or physical pain. Drugs are not shortcuts to any of these goals, but different substances will still appeal to different individuals.

Another reason LSD is surging in popularity, and another reason why any young adult may be experimenting with or addicted to the drug, is because of ease of access. While individuals once had to meet dealers in person or get any available drug from friends, substances like LSD can now be bought online. The Science Explorer explains, “The most commonly bought substances off the dark-net were MDMA, cannabis, LSD, and novel substances like 2C-B and DMT. The survey results found that 58 percent of novel psychoactive substances were purchased off the dark web.” Young adults in the 18-25 year-old age range have both technological savvy and independent income that can go towards purchasing drugs. Parents and friends may not be aware that an individual is using any substance at first, although drug use becomes increasingly hard to mask as use and addiction progress. Being aware of LSD, its side effects and the possibility of its use helps family members and friends take quick action if a problem arises.

Helping a Young Adult

You can step in and take action. No one is too old to become addicted, and no one is too independent to need help. Family interventions are effective, caring and compassionate. Treatment works, and recovery is real. Do not ignore the signs of LSD or other addiction. Addiction can happen to your child. Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about assessing your adult child’s drug use and helping him or her end substance abuse. There is no wrong time or reason to call; we are here to offer support and information 24 hours a day. We can connect you to professional interventionists and the most appropriate treatment resources. We can simply listen to your concerns and help you decide what to do next. All calls are free and confidential. Please reach out today.


[1]    http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/lsd/a-short-history.html. “LSD: A Short History.” Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Web. 7 Jul 2016.

[2]    http://thescienceexplorer.com/brain-and-body/global-drug-survey-warns-it-s-worst-time-generation-take-mdma. “Global Drug Survey Warns It’s the ‘Worst Time in a Generation’ to Take MDMA.’ The Science Explorer. 20 Jun 2016. Web. 7 Jul 2016.

[3]    https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogens. “Hallucinogens.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. May 2014. Web. 7 Jul 2016.

[4]    http://thetab.com/2015/07/30/a-new-summer-of-love-lsd-use-hits-record-high-for-15-years-47199. “How LSD Became the Drug of Summer 2015.” The Tab. Jun 2015. Web. 2016.