Alarmed about health risks to Baltimore County teen-agers who have bought batches of LSD possibly laced with another drug, officials have issued an alert to hospitals, school officials and emergency medical workers.
Five teen-agers, one from the eastern side of the county and four from the northern county, have been hospitalized in the past two weeks for bizarre behavior that occurred after taking what they may have believed was LSD, officials said.
But Michael M. Gimbel, coordinator of the county Office of Substance Abuse, said their behavior was so unusual he suspects the drugs may have been doctored with or may be exclusively PCP, or phencyclidine, a powerful animal tranquilizer that sometimes has violent effects on humans.
The hospitalized youths, one at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Rosedale and four at Sheppard Pratt psychiatric hospital in Towson, have damaged their surroundings, injured themselves and exhibited paranoia, high blood pressure, stomach pains, disorientation and uncontrolled violence, Gimbel said.
One youth tried to cut himself. Another wrecked his parents' home.
A 15-year old female student at Eastern Vocational-Technical High School in Essex was admitted to Franklin Square Feb. 5, police said. She still has delusions, Gimbel said.
Michael G. Maskovyak, a chemical-dependency-treatment coordinator at Sheppard Pratt, said the four youths admitted there attend Dulaney, Towson and Hereford high schools.
Two are "actively psychotic" and results of tests on urine samples proved negative for LSD and PCP, Maskovyak said. If an illegal drug were "not cooked or mixed right, it could change the molecular structure," producing the negative test results, he said.
Besides the five hospitalized teen-agers, seven others who are students at Eastern Vo-Tech were expelled in December, principal Raymond G. Pluemer said.
"I've never had LSD in this building for 20 years," he said. "The kids say it's cheaper" than other drugs. "They wanted a high."
The drug is being offered for sale for $10 as a blotter on a piece of paper, a picture of a cartoon character that can be licked off or simply eaten with the small tab of paper, officials said.
Word among young drug-users is already spreading that LSD sold in the form of a picture of Bart Simpson on paper is "bad stuff," Gimbel said.
Another drug, being offered as a picture of a blue Smurf, a cartoon character, is a white, milky substance on paper and is wrapped in aluminum foil, which is the way PCP is often sold.
The last state-sponsored drug survey of county schools, taken in 1988, showed PCP use had about doubled since 1984 and LSD use was up slightly during the period, Gimbel said.
Through Jan. 30, county schools expelled 22 students for possessing alcohol or drugs on school grounds, said student personnel director Thomas J. Jordan. County school policy since 1978 is automatic expulsion for students caught on school grounds with drugs or alcohol.