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Trip-killers: a concerning practice associated with psychedelic drug use
  1. Gregory Yates,
  2. Emily Melon
  1. Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gregory Yates, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WL, UK; gregory.yates{at}

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Psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (‘magic mushrooms’) induce hallucinations and distort thought-processes. The intensity of a psychedelic ‘trip’ can cause distress, agitation, and even psychosis. A recent report showed that at least 8.4% of drug-related presentations to European emergency departments involve psychedelics.1 This proportion may increase as the clinical use of these agents expands.2

There are multiple ways to control a ‘bad trip’ and avoid hospitalisation. One is to take psychedelics under the supervision of a ‘trip-sitter’—a non-intoxicated friend who can provide psychological support. Another is to use additional psychoactive drugs—‘trip-killers’—to attenuate or prematurely end the psychedelic experience. Trip-killers are not new, but have received increased attention on social media in recent years.3

Information on trip-killers is not available through drug advice services, despite the probable risks they pose. To our knowledge, no relevant papers have been published in the medical literature. It was the aim of our study to gather descriptive data on the use …

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  • Handling editor Edward Carlton

  • Contributors GPY and EM contributed to planning, data acquisition, interpretation, and reporting. The authors are grateful for the input of an expert patient who suggested online resources to assist with the design of this study after being admitted to hospital with a 2-CB overdose.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.