Drug Use and Abuse: Perspectives of A Teen User Part 3
In parts 1 & 2, I summarized the first part of an interview I did with an 18 year old who uses drugs on a regular basis. Part 3 includes another story from Jane of an LSD trip gone bad, and some background information on LSD highlighting medical uses.
THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD TRIP
One more story from Jane - at the time I interviewed her, she was only 18 and this had just happened to her. I am interested to hear what you think about her story. This is what is happening out there with our kids. I wish I knew a way to keep them safe, but in the absence of that knowledge, I can offer education and information. I hope this helps someone, and I know Jane does as well. I originally posted the podcast interview of this as "vigorous hula hooping" - keep reading to find out why (link to podcast is in references)1.
Jane was camping in the woods with five other friends, including Lisa, who was a relatively new friend.
Lisa was pretty different from me, and the people I normally hang out with. The friendship was hard because we were so different, but I was trying to branch out and make new friends. She had never gone camping without her parents. We went to the woods and camped in an illegal spot far from town. It was cold, rainy, wet, and the phones didn't work.
We decided to just take the acid we brought for the trip hoping it would improve our situation. We got the acid from someone's mom - it was triple dipped sugar cubes, super fancy, not the cheap blotter you get on the street. Lisa really wanted to try psychedelics, and I told her I would be there for her. Bad trips can happen - sometimes it is inevitable, and it's good to have someone you trust to help you through it.
One of my friends took 6 sugar cubes, which is equal to 18 tabs of acid. He was freaking out, slapping at bugs and he walked off by himself and vomited a bit. He came back and we turned on some music and he picked up a hula-hoop and started to go at it. He was so talented. He was seriously, vigorously hula hooping. He hooped himself out of a bad trip.
Lisa was feeling uncomfortable, she wasn't sure how to be around us. We suggested she take ½ of a cube, but three hours later she said she was feeling nothing. We said to wait - we were all in another dimension. The people camping next to us were in drunk town, and we were in trip town. She was whining about not tripping, so we gave her the last ½ after reassuring her that she didn't have to take any more - that it was no big deal, but she begged for it.
Time went by and Lisa finally said, "I'm tripping!" We all cheered and offered her some water. Lisa suddenly starts screaming. She is pulling her eyes down with her fingers, and trying to pull out her own hair. We all went rigid when she screamed. It was so scary. I thought, I need to be present and deal with this. The rest of the people went into the tent and left me alone with her. She was screaming and running around in the mud in her socks saying, "Water, water, water!?" I would hand the water bottle to her and she would slap it away. It seemed like she was in a state of psychosis.
It was pitch black, there was no cell service, people were doing molly and LSD, and weed, some of us were underage and we were camped in an illegal camp site. If the cops had come, the people there over 18 would have been screwed. This dude in an orange vest came up at one point with a shotgun, said that it sounded like my friend was being murdered. "Ya'll need to shut up." We were like, "duh". No one was sober enough to drive, there was no uber...it was the witching hour. She screamed the entire night. I have seen people on bad trips, but they usually just get quiet. At one point I thought she would run off in the woods and kill someone. To distract her I kept her in continuous conversation for 10 hours, until 6:30 a.m. when she finally calmed down.
I left the tent to (relieve myself) and when I went back in she claimed she didn't recall what happened. She didn't help break down the camp or clean up. I had to break down and pack all her stuff. She asked to come to my house, and I remember thinking, you ruined our camping trip. I wondered if she did it for attention because she felt so insecure in a group setting, but that's a long time to sustain an act.
I've only done acid once since then...oh wait, it's three times, but I used to do it all the time. It was the worst night ever.
LSD (D-LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE)
No matter what you call it: Acid, Blotter, Cheer, Dots, Hit, Mellow Yellow, L, Lucy, Tabs, Window Pane, Yellow Sunshine, Blue Heaven, Microdot, Cubes, it's still LSD, the most common hallucinogen2. Hallucinogens are a group of drugs that alter your awareness of perception, thoughts and feelings. They are powerful, mood-changing chemicals. The source of LSD is lysergic acid. This acid is derived from ergot (a fungus), found growing on rye and other grains. It was first made in 1938 when the maker accidentally ingested it and had a very interesting day. Despite early success with treating alcoholism with LSD, the psychedelic antics of the 1960's led to LSD and other hallucinogens becoming schedule I drugs - meaning in 1970 they became illegal with no known medical use.
There is a great deal of information about LSD out there - I always go to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) first3. The link in the references will get you to evidence-based information about LSD, as well as other, FREE resources. If you are worried that someone is abusing hallucinogens or any other drug, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) any time day or night, 24/365 to get resources and information to address your concerns4.
SAMHSA's National Helpline - 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
I am not advocating for making LSD and other hallucinogens legal so we can play, I am advocating for making them available to treat medical problems. I am currently reading a book that I highly recommend by Michael Pollan: How to Change your Mind - What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. You can read a review of the book in the NY Times (and many other places)5.
What Pollan reveals is in alignment with my personal experiences back in college when I "dropped acid." I did it because it was fun, but what happened while I was doing it was life changing. I had many spiritual experiences, and I never had a "bad trip." I am sharing this with you because I am a mental health advocate, and I believe legalizing the use of LSD and other hallucinogens for medical use will drastically improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable patients - veterans with PTSD, those with a terminal diagnosis, and those who have tried "everything" to deal with crippling depression.
In Pollan's book, he describes a dying cancer patient enrolled in a study of the effects of psilocybin on anxiety in cancer patients. The patient said, "Everyone deserves to have this experience." A 2016 study showed that 80 percent of cancer patients responded positively to treatment. The study revealed the more intense their trip, the more positive and long-lasting the benefits. "If it gives them peace," one psychedelic researcher told Pollan, "I don't care if it's real or an illusion."
While it is unknown from a medical standpoint what exactly happens to the brain under the effects of LSD, the psychoactive ingredients interact with the brain's filtering system and allow for suppressed thoughts and feelings to reveal themselves, making way for confrontation and potentially for healing6.
Johns Hopkins University is currently conducting a study of psilocybin (the psychedelic compound found in certain mushroom species) and its effects on cancer patients to find out if the substance can produce personally and spiritually meaningful experiences7. New York University's Psilocybin Cancer Project is investigating its effect on reducing depression and anxiety in cancer patients. Harvard Medical School is studying the effect of MDMA sessions on cancer patients suffering from end-of-life anxiety.
I went to www.clinicaltrials.govand entered "Hallucinogens" in the search terms and 232 trials came up: antidepressant effects of Ayahuasca8(used in the basin for religious practices), psilocybin for major depressive disorder, cancer anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, alcoholism; LSD for psychiatric anxiety disorders, MDMA (also known as ecstasy) for PTSD9. The list is long and exciting. There hasn't been a breakthrough in treatment for alcoholism, PTSD or depression in a long time.
I hope you will explore the resources below and share this information with your patients. It is important to be aware of clinical trials available for our clients - I always encourage them to search the clinical trials page. You never know when a good fit might be found. I also want to send love and light to those who have lost loved ones to drug abuse. I can't imagine the pain you feel. My goal in writing about drug abuse is to prevent further loss of life.
1. Safety Rules by Kristi Miller, RN, PhD, CPPS, HNB-BC on Apple PodcastsOR Safety Rules - Vigorous Hula Hooping: More Teen Stories of Drug Use in Dixie Ep12 | Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand
2. Parent Drug Guide: Know the Facts about LSD
3. Hallucinogens | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
4. National hotline for help: National Helpline | SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
5. Michael Pollan Drops Acid - and Comes Back From His Trip Convinced - The New York Times
6. First LSD Study In 4 Years Shows Promising Medical Uses | HuffPost
7. JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICINE - Psilocybin Cancer Project
8. Ayahuasca - Wikipedia
About SafetyNurse1968, PhD, RN
Dr. Kristi Miller is a mother of four who loves to write so much that she would probably starve if her phone didn’t remind her to pick up her children. Her work experiences as a hospital nurse make it easy to skip using the bathroom to get in just a few more minutes at the word processor. Please read her blog, Safety Rules! on allnurses.com, and listen to her podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also get free Continuing Education at www.safetyfirstnursing.com. In the guise of Safety Nurse, she is sending a young Haitian woman to nursing school and you can learn more about that adventure: https://www.youcaring.com/rosekatianalucien-1181936
Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 142; Likes: 372
Nurse Entrepreneur; from NC , US
Specialty: Oncology, Home Health, Patient SafetyAug 1Occupation: RN and blogger extraordinaire Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych ; From: OR, US ; Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 27,023; Likes: 45,065I experimented with LSD once. Just once. I had an interesting trip...my green shag carpet turned into a forest complete with little animals running around, and I "saw" music coming out of the stereo. I don't remember how long it lasted, because one completely loses track of time. But it satisfied my curiosity, and I never saw the need to repeat the experience. I also tried cocaine and PCP (although the latter wasn't on purpose, I smoked some marijuana that had been laced with it and was essentially psychotic for three days). Again, I didn't see the need to do it again. I was lucky, because some people get hooked the very first time they try something. I think God was watching out for me.Aug 5Joined: Sep '16; Posts: 548; Likes: 1,655OWe did quite a bit of acid in high school in the early 80's - not a memory I am proud of, nor would I have been happy had my son followed suit. Nothing awful happened, but the inability to sleep for 12 hr's, gigantic pupils, and laugh lines from constantly laughing were not that fun either.
On a side note, my parent's were hippies from the days of Haight-Ashbury summer of love days - they had quite a few friends amongst the interesting and famous of the day. One such friend was a psychiatrist they knew back in the city of Cambridge, MA where we had been living at the time in the early 70's. My parents had been gifted a dose of pharmaceutical grade LSD they had received their psychiatrist friend he had for "research" (apparently be researched on himself). They all took the acid and went to a Rolling Stones or Who concert at the original Boston Garden ... my mom told me "the shrink" as he was lovingly monikered, bought the jacket, hat and tray of the roving concessions seller and quickly vanished into the crowd. My parents somehow got separated too. My mom told me she was walking on the ground floor between shows when she looked up into the stands and spots a frisby sailing lazily toward her. She said she was rooted to the spot and it whacked her between the eyes. From some reason my mom decided it was my dad's fault that it happened, and spent the remainder of the concert once the 3 of them met up again not speaking to my bemused dad.Last edit by 3ringnursing on Aug 5
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