Toward a typology of hallucinogen users in the United States

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, James C. Hodges, Audrey Hang Hai, Abdulaziz Alsolami, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Roughly one in ten American adults have used hallucinogens, and emerging evidence suggests that the prevalence of use is increasing. However, our understanding of the degree to which individuals “specialize” in the use of a particular hallucinogen or are poly-hallucinogen users remains incomplete. Methods: This study examined data from 6381 individuals reporting past-year hallucinogen use in the 2016–2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Logistic regression examined the association between the number of distinct hallucinogens used and psychosocial/behavioral risks, and latent class analysis (LCA) characterized subgroups of hallucinogen users. Results: The vast majority of hallucinogen users, roughly 70%, are not “specialists” who use only one hallucinogen type; rather, lifetime poly-hallucinogen use is the norm. Critically, however, we also see that important differences exist within the population of hallucinogen users—half (51%) could be classified as LSD-Mushroom-Ecstasy users only (this group was disproportionally comprised of youth), nearly one third (30%) were Poly-Hallucinogen users (this group was disproportionately male and non-Hispanic White), and smaller proportions were limited primarily to use of LSD-Mushrooms (6%; these individuals were almost exclusively ages 35 and older) or Ecstasy Only (12%; these individuals were mostly younger adults ages 18–34). Conclusions: Findings provide a fresh contribution to our understanding of poly-hallucinogen use in a time in which local and state governmental leaders, and people across the country, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of legalizing specific hallucinogenic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109139
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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