But don't make the mistake of thinking the hippie-looking kids are the only ones in the suburbs who use LSD, warns Caroline, a 15-year-old Dulaney High School student who tripped several times a week until seeing friends having bad trips scared her into giving it up. She claims that more than three-quarters of her friends at school have at least tried the drug.
"There is no one type of person," said Caroline (who also asked that her full name not be used). "I know a girl who is totally prep. She does it. A lot of jocks do it. The people who are into heavy metal, they do it. The ones who take all G. T. [gifted and talented] classes, they do it. Everybody, everybody does it."
But city youth express bewilderment about the appeal of the drug.
"I just can't understand why you'd want to do that stuff," said Alan, 17, who used heroin, marijuana, cocaine and alcohol before he became a patient at the Oakview Treatment Center in Ellicott City. "It's not in my world. Just listen to the name -- acid. If one of my buddies told me he was doing acid, I'd say, 'What for?' "
Dave Ennis, director of Oakview's adolescent program, is not surprised at the dichotomy. "In inner city areas, you want to kill the pain," he explained. "So the inner city kids do heroin. The kids in the suburbs want to alter their reality, because they're bored to death."
Gaffney, from Sheppard Pratt, has found young people usually have a different attitude about LSD than they do about other drugs.
"The experience lasts eight to 10 hours, so it's not a drug that people take and then go out and have a normal day," she explained. "They tend to plan their day around it. Taking it is a big event. In that sense they respect it."
But, she quickly added, teens have a "casual" attitude about the possible dangers of LSD, and that is cause for concern.
"Kids are basically not afraid of LSD. Most haven't had a bad experience," she says. "I don't hear kids admitting that they've had problems with LSD. Which is scary."