Small pieces of paper with LSD, called “stamps” by dealers in Vietnam. Photo: Xuan Phuong
A growing number of Vietnamese youths are being introduced to LSD, one of the most potent, mood-changing hallucinogens, through social networking sites, especially Facebook.
The drug is usually placed on absorbent blotting paper and swallowed or kept in the mouth until it dissolves.
It is not difficult to find blotters, as they are known, with a myriad offers to sell them seen on personal Facebook pages and popular fanpages.
Many youths share their experience of using acid on these pages, offer tips on usage and hold forth on where to buy the drug and how to distinguish between fake and genuine blotters, and even post the phone numbers of drug dealers for the public to see.
According to these ads, the blotters can be bought in many parts of the country, not just in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Those who want to buy them can pay directly to drug dealers or transfer money via bank accounts.
On September 8, Thanh Nien reporters posing as potential acid users contacted a person who advertised he was selling blotters on his Facebook page and made an appointment.
The man brought with him blotters measuring 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm, which he called stamps, and said they cost VND250,000 each if they buy more than two, and VND300,000 if they buy fewer.
He said the stamps's effect would last for up to eight hours.
When asked about the risks involved, he said "LSD is not addicting and Vietnam has not outlawed it."
Another drug dealer named C. told Thanh Nien reporters, again posing as buyers, that the drug is imported.
He said there are dozens of pushers in HCMC, revealing that many imported blotters from China but advertised them as being from Europe.
A drug dealer holds a blotter, which he calls a stamp, in his hand. Photo: Xuan Phuong
H.L., a 17-year-old schoolboy, told Thanh Nien he had taken the drug for some time and it gave him a relaxed feeling.
“It is not addicting or harmful to your brain or body like many people said. Just keep it in your mouth.
“Whenever LSD starts to spread in my body, I have strange feelings all over my body. My eyes start seeing visuals everywhere. The hallucinations increase gradually, and then I feel like I have entered a different world.
“Generally, LSD is great.”
K., a 21-year-old user, said he took LSD to reduce stress. He usually keeps the blotters in his mouth when he goes to discos or bars, and it makes him more confident.
A 26-year-old man named T.M.T. said he has been addicted to LSD for a long time, and now he often has muscle and heart pains.
“Sometimes I feel disconnected from the world and unable to control my words.”
Senior Lieutenant-colonel Vo Van Trai, deputy head of HCMC’s Narcotics Police Division, told Thanh Nien that the police had recently become aware of LSD, which is banned, being sold in Vietnam and are investigating.
He said anyone who discovers trading or possession of LSD should inform the police immediately.
Dr Trinh Tat Thang, director of the HCMC Mental Hospital, said LSD use by youths is worrying. The drug is addicting and may lead to altered behavior, he said.