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Hallucinogens

Hallucinogenic drugs distort the senses and often produce hallucinations--experiences that depart from reality.

Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the function of the neurocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check, because the drug blocks pain receptors. Violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF USE

  • impaired concentration
  • confusion and agitation
  • muscle rigidity
  • profuse sweating

The effects of PCP vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movement is slowed down, muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Also, speech is blocked and incoherent.

HEALTH EFFECTS

  • Chronic users of PCP report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties.
  • Some of these effects may last six months to a year following prolonged daily use.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety and violent behavior, also occur.
  • In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations.
  • Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, as well as heart and lung failure.

Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline and psilocybin also are hallucinogens that cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness and tremors. Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. It is common to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control. Delayed effects or flashbacks can occur even after use has ceased.

WORKPLACE ISSUES

  • Employees who fall under Federal guidelines such as the Department of Transportation’s testing regulations are prohibited from using PCP.

  • Use causes severe disorientation.

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