Hallucinogens


Definition - What does Hallucinogens mean?

Hallucinogens are a class of psychoactive agents that can induce auditory and visual hallucinations combined with dissociative properties characteristic of distortions of perception and reality. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a majority of hallucinogens fall under the Schedule 1 controlled substances mandate. This means there is inadequate medical evidence to warrant their use and a contingency for sustained abuse and dependence.

WorkplaceTesting explains Hallucinogens

The use of hallucinogens stems from their cultural influence as a substance with the potential to relieve stress and inspire spiritual enlightenment, along with negative implications of engaging their use for recreational purposes. Although hallucinogens are not generally addictive, biochemical effects of euphoria and relaxation are secondary to epidemiological and psychological consequences where cardiorespiratory issues, cognitive impairment, depression, erratic moods, memory lapses, and seizure are common. Moreover, two subclasses of hallucinogens exist including classic hallucinogens and dissociative hallucinogens, where individuals are susceptible to tolerance issues and, in some cases, dependence.

Hallucinogens can include ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), peyote, phencyclidine (PCP), and psilocybin, with each drug corresponding to the federal drug schedule system, a graduated tier that classifies the potency of drugs based on a drug's current medical use and likelihood for dependence. While hallucinogens have a low incidence rate for addiction, developing a tolerance serves as a conduit to experimenting with more drugs to acquire the initial high. Given the polarizing opinions surrounding the term addiction, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes substance abuse disorder as a legitimate mental health condition where repeated drug use can have detrimental ramifications to the user.

In the workplace, drug-free policies set a precedent in fostering a culture of health and safety against chronic alcohol and substance abuse where accidents and injuries can escalate, posing liabilities to employers. Pre-employment and random drug testing, employee education, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) are milestones in helping individuals struggling with alcohol and substance abuse.

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