English Reading Practice

Drug Education Story Number 3:
LSD

1. Watch the video at the top of the page.

2. Read the story below it. (This story has 3 parts.)

3. Do the exercises at the end. (The exercises are located on a seperate page, after the final part of the story.)

The exercises practice: vocabulary, expressions, grammar, comprehension, and essay writing.

4. Check your answers.


Here is the video. You can watch it in your own language at The Foundation for a Drug-Free World.(Simply click the word "language" at the top right corner of that page.)




Help to educate others so they know the truth about drugs. Click here for drug education tools for teachers and educators.


LSD is one of the most powerful, mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from an acid found in a specific fungus that grows on grains. It is then produced in illegal laboratories, mainly in the United States.

LSD leads to a serious disconnection from reality. LSD users call an LSD experience a "trip," typically lasting twelve hours or so. When things go wrong, which often happens, it is called a "bad trip," another name for a living hell.

Once it starts, there is often no stopping a "bad trip," which can go on for up to twelve hours. In fact, some people never recover from an LSD-induced insanity.

One of the worst parts is that an LSD user is unable to tell which sensations are created by the drug and which are part of reality. Some experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and despair while using LSD.

Many LSD users experience flashbacks, or a recurrence of the LSD trip, often without warning, long after taking LSD.

Now read the story about the LSD drug.


A Week with LSD

I hope my second year of college will be easier than the first. Last year, I had to adjust to the wild parties of college after growing up with very strict parents. I struggled through it, making good grades, but not a lot of friends and definitely no boyfriends. I thought in college it would be easy to finally find a boyfriend, but last year I was too shy to talk to anyone I thought was remotely attractive.

This year is already better, though. Classes only started a month ago, but I have a nice apartment, so I don't have to deal with the dorms, and a really awesome internship working with one of my favorite professors in his lab. It doesn't pay anything, but the experience I get will be extremely valuable.

In my free time, I like to go to chatrooms online. It's easier to talk to people there than it is at parties. That's where I met Max. We talk almost every night now. He's a Marine stationed in Hawaii. In his profile picture, he has the most amazing smile. I've never seen someone look so happy.

When I chat with Max, I don't feel shy or nervous. He makes me comfortable. I just wish he wasn't so far away, which is why I'm so surprised to see his message when I log on to my computer tonight.

"Tara, what would you think about me flying out to visit you?" it says.

"Yes!" I type back. "I would love that!"

"Good. I already bought the ticket. I get there on Monday."

Part of me is a little annoyed by this. I don't like that he just bought a ticket without talking to me first. What if I had plans? Mostly though, I just can't wait to finally meet him.

* * *

I walk in nervous circles around the meeting area at the airport. What if he doesn't like me? What if he doesn't think I'm attractive? I try to push these thoughts out of my head as I look up and see him smiling that big, beautiful smile at me. I run up and hug him. I can't believe I'm finally touching him!

"Well it's nice to see you, too, Tara," he says, holding me tighter.

On the drive home, we talk and it feels like we've known each other forever. He asks me if school is getting better and seems really happy when I say it is. He grew up with strict parents, too, so he knows what it's like to adjust to having your own freedom.

We drop his luggage off at my apartment and decide to take a walk in the park nearby. It's a perfect day. The sky is bright blue and there's a gentle breeze. We find a nice hill to sit on. Max wraps his arm around me and I still can't believe I actually get to hang around with him. My heart races when he looks at me. I think he's about to kiss me, but then he says, "Tara, I think I need to tell you something. I just want to be completely honest with you. The reason I was able to come here is that I got discharged."

I don't know what to say. I always liked the fact that he was a Marine, but it's not like I suddenly hate him because he got kicked out.

"What happened?" I ask.

"I, uh, well I failed my drug test." His words hit me in the stomach. I was raised to just say no to drugs. I can't believe he does them. "Look, it's not as bad as it sounds. It was just LSD."

"That sounds pretty serious," I say, trying to remember what I've heard about LSD. I know it makes you hallucinate, but that's really all I know.

"It's not dangerous like coke or anything. It just helps you feel connected to world. It helps you understand how you fit into the universe. It makes you less lonely." He removes a folded piece of paper from his pocket. It's covered in rows of small, cartoon aliens. He tears off one of the aliens and hands it to me. "See that's all it is. It's not some big scary thing."

I flip the paper over in my hand. I can't believe I'm actually holding LSD.

"It's an amazing day," he says, looking around. "Beautiful weather. A beautiful park. A beautiful girl sitting next to me." I feel my cheeks burn when he says this. "If we took a hit, it could make it even more beautiful."

"I don't know…"

"How many times have you told me you're tired of being lonely? Of being bored? Of feeling like you don't understand anything? That little piece of paper can fix all that."

He smiles at me. I trust him. He knows how much I hate being lonely. I have a bad feeling in my stomach, but I try to ignore it. I want to try it, just to see if it can help.

"Okay, I'll try it," I say.

End of Part 2. Click here to read Part 3.

"Okay, I'll try it," I say.

We each place a piece of paper on our tongues. I feel it dissolve and wait, but nothing happens.

"I don't think it's working," I say.

"Give it time," Max says.

And he's right. I wait and pretty soon it feels like I'm in a whole new universe. The trees bend like they're made out of rubber, their whole trunks swaying back and forth in the wind. A dark shade of purple darkens the sky, slowly spreading out from the clouds like ink dropped in water.

As the sky grows darker, I see things move in the shadows. Thousands of snakes and spiders suddenly pour out of them. They're coming for me. I look over at Max for help, but he's smiling happily. He looks as happy as a dead puppet, under the drug's control.

"I need to get out of here," I say and stand up, pulling him along behind me. If he says anything, I don't hear it. I lead him back to my apartment, trying to dodge the creatures following me. I lock the door behind me as we get inside.

"What's wrong?" Max asks. I look at him and his face looks like a mask. Like he's not really Max.

I try to explain what I saw, but my words all come out in a jumble.

I don't know how long we were in the park, but it takes several more hours of hiding in my apartment before the effects of the LSD start to fade. By the time it's completely over, it's well past midnight and my body aches like I've just been hit by a truck.

"I think I need to go to sleep," I tell him.

"I'm not really sure that's the best idea," he says. "You're not going to be able to fall asleep."

I don't listen to his warning. Instead, I just give him some blankets so he can sleep on the couch and then collapse into my bed. Max is right. I can't fall asleep. I can't stop thinking about the events of the day. How excited I was at the airport. How surprised I was by the LSD. How easy it was for him to get me to take it. I can't believe that I actually did LSD. I still like him a lot, but I don't know if I can actually date someone who does it. I feel depressed and tired, but I cannot sleep.

* * *

My alarm clock goes off, telling me to get ready for class. Max is awake when I walk into the living room.

"What's the plan for today?" he asks when he sees me.

"I have classes," I say. "And I have to go make up the time I missed at my internship yesterday." I was supposed to go after I picked up Max, but that didn't really work out.

"That sounds boring. Come on, let's do something fun."

"I can't miss more classes. I wasn't even planning on missing them yesterday."

Honestly, it does feel kind of nice that he wants to spend more time with me.

"Come on, Tara. I've been waiting so long to finally meet you. I want to actually spend time with you."

I can't resist him. "Fine," I say with a smile. "I guess I can just say I'm sick."

We spend the rest of the day walking around the city. We swap stories from our childhoods. He tells me about the time he tried to run away from home, but got caught because he asked him mom to pack him a lunch. I can't stop laughing. I tell him about the time my dad took me to feed the ducks and I fell into the pond. Neither of us brings up the LSD, and I like it better that way.

I take him to my favorite pizza place and order two slices with my favorite toppings: pepperoni and pineapple. Max tries to order plain cheese instead, insisting that pineapple doesn't belong on pizza, but I won't let him.

"You have to try it," I say, trying my best to look adorable. "You owe me."

"I guess I do," he sighs.

We take our slices and sit at one of the tables. Max rushes ahead of me so he can pull my chair out for me. It reminds me of how sweet and polite he was online. He takes a bite of his pizza, then sticks his tongue out.

"You don't like it?" I ask.

"It's just as gross as I thought it would be," he says as he picks the pineapple off.

"You're crazy," I tease.

"But I'm glad I tried it. Now I can definitely say I hate pineapple on pizza."

"And I can say I don't like LSD." I mean for it to sound like a joke, but we both know it isn't.

"You didn't like it?" He sounds hurt.

"No. Not at all. It was terrifying." I can't believe he didn't notice that.

He puts his hand on mine. "I'm so sorry. That's totally my fault. You just had a bad trip. You need to try it in a better setting. I promise it'll make you feel better."

I don't know if I really want to do it again, but I like the way it feels when he holds my hand. That really does make me feel less lonely.

End of Part 4. Click here to read Part 5.

Over the next few days, Max and I get closer and closer. We go to a movie together, Max takes me to dinner, and we even go salsa dancing. It is so much fun! I have no clue how to dance, but Max shows me the steps. I didn't even know he could dance. The more time I spend with him, the more he seems like the Max I met online, the Max I can trust. So I agree when he suggests I try LSD again.

I cling to Max as we walk into the party. Loud music plays as people dance all around us. I saw someone post about the party on Facebook and Max said it would be the perfect time to try LSD again. Normally I hate parties, but he said it would make it fun.

We took the LSD on the way to the party, so I'm already starting to feel it when we get to there. Max promised me the dose was much smaller this time, so the trip will be much shorter. The music drills into my brain. I see ten copies of each person, all crowding around me. I can't breathe. I reach out to Max for help, but when I look around, he's gone. I can't find him anywhere in the sea of people around me. Where is he?

Lights flash in red and green and blue and I don't know if they actually exist or if I'm just hallucinating. I feel my pulse starting to rise. My face feels sweaty. I want to get out of there, but I don't know how to find the door. Why, why did I take that hit? Now I have to spend God knows how many hours losing my mind.

I keep looking around the room and, after what feels like a few hours, Max is standing next to me again.

"Where were you?" I ask him.

"I wasn't feeling well. I went to find the bathroom," he says. "It's getting pretty late. We should probably go home." I look around and the sea of people is gone. Only a few remain, but I don't know how many of them are real.

I can't believe it. I can't believe he left me and I can't believe I spent the whole party in the corner, popping in and out of reality, praying and wondering when it is going to stop. I thought this was supposed to be fun. I thought it was supposed to make me enjoy myself, not hide in fear.

* * *

I barely sleep that night either and I know I won't make it to my classes. I'm too sore and tired to even leave the apartment. I'm so spaced out I forget that I have a midterm exam in one of them until an hour after it's over.

I walk to the living room and see Max sitting on the couch.

"Hey, babe," he says. "Did you have fun last night?"

"Are you serious?" I ask. "Not at all. Unless you call scary and out of control fun."

He frowns, then says, "Really? Well that's just your body getting used to it. You just need to try it again."

I sigh, realizing what a fool I've been for trusting him. "I don't want to try it again. I don't need to chemically alter my reality and senses to be happy. I thought you could make me happy, but I was wrong. I can find happiness in other places."

"What's that supposed to mean? I'm not happy?" He sounds angry. "I can't believe I was so wrong about you. I didn't think you'd be such a judgmental prude."

I don't care about his insults. I just want him to leave. "You need to get out of my apartment, and take this with you." I reach for the sheet of LSD sitting on top of his suitcase, but he grabs it first. He stares at me as he bites it, consuming twenty or thirty hits.

I don't know why he does it. I guess he wants to prove a point or something. He seems fine for a few minutes, and mostly I'm just annoyed at his childish behavior, but then he pukes all over my couch. My pulse quickens as he starts shouting about seeing things around him, coming for him. He says they're getting closer. I'm terrified. I don't know what he sees, but I worry he's going to attack me. His body starts shaking and I think he's having a seizure.

Mostly, I'm just scared of him, but I'm sad, too. It's heartbreaking to see this person I cared so much about suddenly lose control of his body and mind. My hands shake as I call 911. Max continues to shake uncontrollably and I feel completely helpless. There's nothing to do but wait. A few minutes later, they take him away in an ambulance. I explain about the LSD to one of the paramedics and give him Max's sheet, just happy to have it out of my apartment. I can deal with the legal repercussions later.

The next day, I visit him in the hospital, mostly just because I want to know if he's alive. One of the doctors tells me he has permanent brain damage and will have to be moved to a mental hospital. They don't know how long he'll be there. It could be the rest of his life.

When I get home, I have emails telling me I am failing my class because I missed the exam and I lost my internship because I am failing the class. I feel completely lost. My grades and my internship were the best things in my life and I threw them away. I hate myself for being so dumb and easy to manipulate.

Over the next few months, I try extra hard to save my grades. I think if I can bring them up by the end of the semester, I might be able to get the internship back. It's a lot harder to study now, though. I have LSD flashbacks sometimes. I never know when they're going to come. Sometimes I'll just be in class and start hallucinating again or I'll be studying and black out.

It makes it more challenging, but I'm not willing to let a week with LSD ruin the rest of my life.

The End


And now, practice:

Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "Marine" mean?

a) a person who studies the ocean

b) a person who catches fish for a living

c) a person who is a member of the military and trained to serve on the sea, land, and air

d) a person who travels on a boat for fun


2. What does "stationed" mean?

a) assigned to work or serve in a certain place

b) living on a set schedule

c) freedom to move around

d) having meals provided for you


3. What does "discharged" mean?

a) promoted to a better job

b) going on a short vacation

c) forced to leave a job

d) going on a business trip


4. What does "coke" mean?

a) Cocaine (a powerful illegal drug that is very addictive)

b) a type of coffee

c) a type of tea

d) Coca-Cola


5. What does "hit" mean?

a) a method of taking drugs

b) buying drugs with stolen property

c) trying drugs for the first time

d) a single dose of a drug


6. What does "dodge" mean?

a) run toward something with excitement

b) walk without direction

c) move quickly to avoid something

d) jog past slowly


7. What does "jumble" mean?

a) a confused mix

b) a clear argument

c) an empty promise

d) an annoyed complaint


8. What does "trip" mean?

a) hallucinations after taking a drug

b) the first step in salsa dancing

c) being unable to sleep at night

d) a long distance run


9. What does "prude" mean?

a) someone who is addicted to drugs

b) someone who is easily shocked

c) someone who likes parties

d) someone who is shy


10. What does "911" mean?

a) slang for "information"

b) the police code for LSD

c) medicine used to treat overdoses

d) the phone number for emergency services


11. What does "repercussions" mean?

a) illegal activities

b) negative results of an action

c) payments made to a lawyer

d) memories of bad events


12. What does "flashbacks" mean?

a) sudden memories of moments from childhood

b) experiences where you feel the effects of LSD long after consuming the drug

c) cravings for a drug you haven't taken in a long time

d) regrets about decisions you made in the past


Expressions Questions

1. What does "hang around with" mean?

a) decorating your apartment

b) spending time together

c) attending an important meeting

d) talking online


2. What does "goes off" mean?

a) to stop working

b) to fall down

c) to make a noise

d) to be ignored


3. What does "make up" mean?

a) to compensate for something

b) to work extra time to get extra pay

c) to sleep in too late and be late to work

d) to tell the truth about why you didn't come to work


4. What does "popping in and out" mean?

a) taking more doses of a drug to continue hallucinating

b) talking to many people at the same time

c) walking quickly around a room

d) moving between two different places or feelings over and over again


5. What does "spaced out" mean?

a) having trouble sleeping

b) having a good time

c) having difficulty thinking clearly

d) having to throw up


6. What does "black out" mean?

a) when a person suddenly falls asleep

b) when a person temporarily loses their vision or memory

c) when a person is unable to focus

d) when a person's muscles start to hurt


Grammar Questions

1. I _______ to adjust to the parties.

a) gets

b) got

c) has

d) had


2. We talk _______ the drive home.

a) on

b) in

c) at

d) for


3. Max is smiling _______.

a) happy

b) happier

c) happily

d) happiest


4. Max said it _______ make it fun.

a) was

b) would

c) had

d) do


5. My hands shake _____ I call 911.

a) as

b) to

c) at

d) if


6. He said Max _______ be there the rest of his life.

a) would

b) ought

c) could

d) can


Comprehension Questions

Read the story and watch the video at the top of the page about LSD. Then answer the following questions.

1. According to the video, what are three negative side effects of using LSD?

2. According to the video, what is it like to come down from LSD?

3. According to the people in the video, how does LSD affect their lives years after they last took it?

4. In the story, why did Tara decide to try LSD?

5. How does taking LSD change Tara's relationship with Max?

6. What makes Tara decide to stop taking LSD and tell Max to leave?

Essay Questions

1. Of all the negative effects of LSD that are described in the video and the story, which do you think is the most serious? Why do you think so?

2. Imagine you are Tara on the night of the party. What would you do when Max tries to get you to do LSD again? What would you say to him?

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