Study objective: To report the lifetime prevalence of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and to identify unique correlates of using this substance in the last year among a large multiethnic sample of sexually active adolescent and young adult women aged 14 to 26 yrs.
Design, setting, participants: A cross-sectional survey, administered at university-based ambulatory reproductive health clinics, was completed by 904 women between April and November of 1997 to identify risk factors associated with their use of LSD within the past 12 months. Subjects who reported lifetime, but not past 12 months', use of marijuana, LSD, or other illicit drugs were excluded, leaving a sample of 368 nonusers and 56 users of LSD. In addition, 231 young women who reported only using marijuana in the last year were used as a comparison group to identify unique factors associated with LSD use.
Results: Of the total sample (n=904), 13% (n=119) reported lifetime use of LSD, and 58% (n=536) reported lifetime use of marijuana. Logistic regression analyses controlling for age and race/ethnicity found distinct profiles for those who reported using LSD or only marijuana in the last year when compared to those who reported no substance use. Common to both groups was reporting being drunk at least 10 times during the last year, regular smoking of at least half a pack of cigarettes, and identification as a high-sexual-risk taker. However, LSD users as compared to nonusers were more likely to report white ethnicity (as compared to nonwhite), be less than or equal to 17 years of age (as compared to at least 18 years), report a history of physical abuse, and be categorized as having severe depressive symptomatology. In contrast, those who reported only using marijuana were more likely to report single marital status, young age at first intercourse, having half or more of their friends use marijuana, and poor grades.
Conclusions: The female LSD user presents a distinct profile that might aid clinicians in identifying potential LSD use in this population as well as alerting clinicians to the relationship between LSD use and high-risk sexual behaviors.