DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
LSD in the United States

Administrator's Message

Dear Reader:

In the early 1960’s, d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) emerged as a drug of abuse within a small group of individuals who were attracted to the drug’s alleged mystical properties. Spurred by the initial reports of the drug’s hallucinatory powers, during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, LSD became the psychedelic drug of choice among certain enclaves in the drug-abusing population. Since then, use of this powerful hallucinogen has been a persistent problem among some high school and college students and other young adults.

However, recent investigative intelligence and indicator data point to an increase in the trafficking and abuse of LSD in many areas of the United States. More than half of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) field divisions report increased availability of LSD within their respective jurisdictions, and the remaining field divisions report that LSD is readily available. In addition, the popularity of LSD is increasing in many areas across the United States, particularly among young people. For example, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the number of Americans 12 years of age or older who reported having used LSD at least once increased by more than 60 percent over the past decade. Also, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey, use of LSD among high school seniors has increased to the highest level since at least 1985. Moreover, this survey reveals that, since 1991, the percentage of high school students who associate a great risk with use of a number of illegal drugs, including LSD, has been declining significantly. There is a growing population of young people who erroneously believe that this powerful hallucinogen is “safe.”

LSD is manufactured illegally within the United States, primarily in northern California, and is trafficked domestically as well as internationally by small, close-knit criminal organizations that successfully have evaded drug law enforcement authorities for many years. DEA is committed to dismantling the highest level LSD trafficking organizations. DEA’s San Francisco Field Division, in cooperation with the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley Police Departments, has taken the lead in this effort.

Thomas A. Constantine
Drug Enforcement Administration


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