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Two Swiss chemists experimenting with a fungus created lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938. The story goes that one of them, Albert Hofmann, accidentally took the first acid trip five years later by swallowing a small amount.

LSD became a widely used and abused drug by the 1960s and early 1970s in the United States, but the drug - and terms such as ``bad trip' and ``flashback' - eventually fell out of favor among drug users.Now LSD is making a comeback, according to law enforcement officials and North Carolina and national drug abuse experts.

Nothing to get all that alarmed about yet, but the hallucinogenic drug is slowly becoming popular again, especially among teenagers and college students, they said.

``LSD is making a small resurgence,' said Sgt. Bill Barnes of the Greensboro Police Department's vice and narcotics squad.

``In 1989, we seized 70,336 doses of LSD. That has a street value of $275,610. That's enough to get half the people in Greensboro high.'

Sgt. Lee Caviness said arrests in Greensboro aren't that frequent, though, and the last one was March 21 when a man sold 40 doses, sometimes called hits, to an undercover cop. The same day, a report was released saying 1,100 doses of LSD, also called acid, were seized in 1989 in and near Asheville, where only 150 hits were seized the year before. No 1988 figures for Greensboro were available.

``The return of LSD comes at a time when we're seeing a boom in production of other synthetic drugs from clandestine labs,' said Jim Hall, executive director of Up Front Drug Information, a Miami research and information center.

Hall referred to several man-made drugs, including Ecstasy (a hallucinogenic amphetamine) and several forms of methaphetamine including ``crank,' ``crystal meth' and ``ice.'

``From all parts of the country we are receiving many reports concerning the return of LSD, particularly among high school kids,' he said.

Hall and Con Dougherty, of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington said hits of LSD aren't as potent as they were 20 years ago but are easily affordable, at between $3 to $5 a single dose, less if bought in quantity.

Still, it's a drug to beware, he said.

In 1988, the most recent year figures were available, there were 1,317 hospital emergency room visits by people experiencing the effects of LSD in 20 cities monitored by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, a project of the National Institute for Drug Abuse.

People 10 to 17 made 30 percent of those emergency room visits. In the same cities, cocaine was blamed for many more emergency room visits - 62,141 in 1988 - but 10 to 17-year-olds made only 2 percent of those, according to the network.

Hall said he wouldn't be surprised if more LSD is seized and the emergency room visits increase, because of the volume of reports he's been getting from those in drug treatment, education and law enforcement.

Although many scientists don't feel that LSD is addictive, people can become psychologically dependent and more tolerant of it, the officials said.

It's also not a drug to be caught with when searched by a law officer. The possession of even one hit is considered a felony offense, Barnes said.


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