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Hallucinogens

  • By: Stephen T. Schroth, Jason A. Helfer & Christian D. Mahone
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Hallucinogens are substances known to cause changes in awareness, thought processes, and feelings, thereby altering perception of reality. For centuries, hallucinogens have been used for medical purposes, recreation, and religious experiences. Scientists began experimenting with various hallucinogens to see what effects they have on the body. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have also used hallucinogens as part of the treatment process for certain mental illnesses.

Hallucinogens, sometimes referred to as psychedelic drugs, became very popular in Western culture staring in the mid-20th century. Hallucinogens played an especially significant role during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, as these substances were widely viewed as initiating a new social movement. Many controversies regarding hallucinogens exist, especially with regard to their place in society. Organizations have been ...

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