Hallucinogen Abuse Facts and Statistics

Prevalence of HallucinogenicsHallucinogens are a unique class of psychoactive drugs that induce temporary hallucinations, as well as changes in mood and perception. Widely known for its perception-altering results, hallucinogen abuse is popular among young people and in subculture party scenes.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that hallucinogen use was prevalent among 6.7 percent of 12th graders in 2016. NIDA also noted that 18.6 percent of adults aged 18 to 25 and 16.2 percent of adults aged 26 or older reported using hallucinogens at some point in their lifetime.

Hallucinogens and their effects are not as widely reported as heroin or cocaine, but these drugs certainly pose a health risk to people across the country. While hallucinogens are not naturally addictive, they have been known to cause long-term brain damage and can encourage users to participate in the reckless, dangerous activity.

It’s important for individuals, especially parents and their children, to learn all they can about hallucinogen abuse so they can avoid the dangers.

Several Classes of Hallucinogenic Drugs

Hallucinogens are broken down into three major categories:


Stats of Hallucinogenic useAlso known as “classical hallucinogens,” psychedelic drugs are known for their ability to produce vast changes in the user’s consciousness. At a chemical level, most psychedelic drugs are activated in the brain by binding to a specific serotonin receptor.

The resulting chemical reaction induces intense, sometimes overwhelming shifts in the user’s perception of reality. Synesthesia, the sensation of overlapping senses, as well as auditory and visual hallucinations are common side effects of psychedelic drugs.

Common examples of psychedelics include:

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Psilocybin (mushrooms)
  • Mescaline (peyote)


Dissociative drugs produce many of the same side effects as psychedelic drugs. Additionally, they induce intense feelings of separation from the user’s body (depersonalization) and the world around them (derealization).

At a chemical level, dissociative hallucinogens operate by limiting signals sent and received by the brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors.

Common examples of dissociative hallucinogens include:

  • Dextromethorphan (DMX)
  • Ketamine (Special K)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)


Deliriants are hallucinogen drugs that, as their name implies, induce a state of extreme delirium when consumed. Once commonly used by ancient civilizations to facilitate spiritual exploration, deliriants are now used recreationally to produce powerful hallucinations in the user.

Unfortunately, toxicity is a major concern with most deliriant drugs. At a chemical level, deliriants work by blocking chemical signals as they enter and exit the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The following is a common example of a deliriant hallucinogen:

  • Antihistamine

Hallucinogen Abuse Treatment

While hallucinogens are not naturally addictive on a chemical level, long-term use can have serious, life-threatening side effects. Furthermore, individuals have been known to develop a psychological dependence on the experience induced by hallucinogen abuse.

Others may risk worsening the symptoms of their mental illness, exposing themselves to a dual diagnosis if they continue to take hallucinogens recreationally. If you or a loved one can’t seem to stop taking hallucinogens, then it’s time to reach out for help.

At The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village, our expert medical staff is well-versed in the side effects and long-term drawbacks caused by hallucinogen abuse. We help patients develop new ways of thinking and perceiving the world, thus eliminating the need to take consciousness-expanding drugs.

Contact our admissions counselors at (866) 295-6003 if you have more questions about undergoing treatment for hallucinogen abuse.

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