Psychedelic drugs are no longer reserved for the counterculture.
Americans are “turning on, tuning in and dropping out” more than ever, according to a new study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
The use of hallucinogenic drugs among teenagers and adults combined rose from 1.7% in 2002 to 2.2% in 2019 — now an estimated 5.5 million people in the US ages 12 and older.
The rate of increase was even more pronounced within certain age and specific drug groups. For example, the rate of LSD (acid) use increased overall, but most of all in young adults, ages 18 to 25, who quadrupled their cohort, from 0.9% to 4%, during the 18-year study period.
On the other hand, the use of hallucinogenic drugs, broadly, for adolescents ages 12 to 17 has more recently decreased. Across age groups, the use of PCP (angel dust) and MDMA (ecstasy or molly) have also reportedly declined.
These were just a few of the telling trends that researchers derived from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published Thursday in the journal Addiction.
Senior study author and epidemiologist Deborah Hasin said in a statement that their findings “suggest that the increasing risk of potentially unsupervised hallucinogen use warrants preventive strategies.“
“Researchers, clinicians and policymakers should increase their attention to the rising rates of unsupervised hallucinogen use among the general public,” Hasin added.
The authors credited “popular media reports” for Americans’ growing interest in hallucinogenic drugs, in light of new scientific evidence that the drugs show promise in therapeutic settings.
Certainly adding to the mystique, stars of all stripes are now tripping out in the open, including entertainers Queen Latifah and Chelsea Handler; pro-athletes Aaron Rodgers and Mike Tyson; and even our nation’s embattled first son, Hunter Biden.
With so many celebs riding the psychedelic wagon, it was only a matter of time before their fans followed suit. But users, such as 40-year-old Victoria Barbara, have said it’s high time.
The Cubana socialite told The Post in an emotional interview last spring that one lesser-known psychedelic had transformed her life: toad venom, or “Bufo.” Inaccessible to most — it’s cultivated from a wild frog in the Sonoran desert — the drug’s stock is rising among the elite who know where to get it.
But Barbara wishes everyone could try it. “I believe that every human on the planet should do Bufo once a year,” she told The Post — and echoed the researchers who push for further study.
“If people understood what the medicine is for, we’d all be healed,” she said.
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