Why Does LSD Addiction Escalate?

Why Does LSD Addiction Escalate?

Many LSD users develop a life-controlling psychological addiction to the drug that can escalate quickly

The US Government passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970. This act created the drug classification system we use today. It divides drugs with the potential for abuse into five categories or schedules. Schedule I drugs are considered the most harmful or dangerous drugs while Schedule IV drugs are seen as the least harmful. LSD is considered a Schedule I or most dangerous drug. This classification reflected the public and political opinions and the science of the ’70s. Because LSD remains a Schedule I drug, perceptions of the drug and its users remain outdated. This affects addiction and recovery.

LSD’s Classification Affects Perceptions of Danger and Safety

The classification of one drug can affect the use and abuse of another. LSD is labeled a “most dangerous” drug. This leads to the incorrect assumption that other drugs are safe or at least “safer” to use. However Drug War Facts[1] explains that in a, “Comparison of Lethal Dose Versus Recreational Dose for Alcohol Compared With Other Drugs, the lethal dose of alcohol divided by a typical recreational dose (safety ratio) is 10, which places it closer to heroin (6), and GHB (8) in terms of danger from overdose, than MDMA (‘Ecstasy’ – 16), and considerably more dangerous than LSD (1000) or cannabis (>1000).” Alcohol is not scheduled, yet it nearly as deadly as heroin, a drug that shares LSD’s Schedule I classification.

Classification and actual danger vary regarding prescription substances as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[2] explains, “In 2014, 61% of drug overdose deaths involved some type of opioid, including heroin…The largest increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids, other than methadone, which nearly doubled from 1.0 per 100,000 to 1.8 per 100,000. Heroin overdose death rates increased by 26% from 2013 to 2014…to 3.4 per 100,000 in 2014. In 2014, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids (e.g., morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone), 3.8 per 100,000, was the highest among opioid overdose deaths.” Well over half of all overdoses involve opiates, and most of these opiates are prescription drugs. These opiates are typically Schedule II substances, while heroin is Schedule I. Overdose statistics show that heroin does deserve its label as dangerous. However, prescription opiates causes more overdoses. Even more troubling is the fact that all overdose rates are increasing and those related to prescription substances are increasing fastest.

Classification affects abuse and addiction. Few people think twice about serving or consuming alcohol. They rarely question a doctor’s prescription or worry that using a friend’s medication could be harmful. If you think a drug is harmless or relatively harmless, you are more likely to experiment. You may be able to minimize or deny a substance abuse problem for longer. Procrastination and denial allow addiction to sink its roots further into your life and your mind.

Considering one drug “safer” does not make other drug use and abuse go away. In fact it is just as harmful to users of substances like LSD as it is to those who turn to alcohol or opiates. Greater public stigma, and therefore greater personal shame, is attached to more strictly scheduled substances. This causes many to hide LSD use or to continue using long after they recognize a problem and would otherwise like to stop. When you use in secret, you isolate yourself from the people, activities and places that support a healthy lifestyle. You feel too embarrassed or unsure of how to reach out for help. Secrecy allows addiction to grow in silence.

LSD’s Classification Affects Treatment and Recovery

A drug’s classification affects more than what is used, how it’s used and public perception. It affects recovery. This begins when individuals deny or hide problems using classification as justification. It continues when treatment laws connected to scheduling limit treatment. It is legal to have and use alcohol or a drug you were prescribed. It is not legal to have LSD or other scheduled substances. Legal concerns create yet another stumbling block toward recovery. They also challenge recovery research. Because Schedule I substances are considered substances with no medical use, they cannot be studied. Scientific American[3] explains, “The paucity of research is the direct result of a federal blockade on such research by the DEA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).” LSD’s classification limits knowledge about LSD addiction. The more we know about addiction, the better we can treat it. The public once saw addiction as a moral failing. This created misunderstandings that activists are still fighting hard to reverse. This addiction-related stigma led to inaccurate, ineffective treatment at best. At worst addiction was left to run its course. Addiction does not solve itself, so ignoring it results in an escalating problem. Now that we understand addiction as a chronic disease, we can treat it appropriately and compassionately. Changes in classification can make this treatment even more effective.

Finding Effective Treatment for LSD Addiction

A drug’s schedule does not necessarily reflect its comparative danger, addictiveness or effects. However it does affect addiction and recovery. Scheduling impacts a person’s willingness to ask for help and to receive immediate, appropriate help. We are here to help remedy this situation. Effective, compassionate LSD addiction treatment exists. We can connect you to top-level programs offering the most up-to-date treatment options. We can help you find complete wellness. Call our toll-free helpline today. Begin your free and confidential conversation about recovery.


[1]    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Causes_of_Death#sthash.OBbQnCas.enKmJawW.dpbs. “Annual Causes of Death in the United States.” Drug War Facts. 2014. Web. 5 Aug 2016.

[2]    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm. “Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths—United States, 2000-2014.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1 Jan 2016. Web. 5 Aug 2016

[3]    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-behind-the-dea-s-long-war-on-marijuana/. “The Science Behind the DEA’s Long War on Marijuana.” Scientific American. 19 Apr 2016. Web. 5 Aug 2016.