FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An alarming trend is causing concern for California health leaders.
A team of Stanford doctors recently published data that shows hallucinogen-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations jumped more than 50-percent between 2016-2022.
Hallucinogens are what's known as "magic mushrooms," ecstasy or ketamine.
"I feel like it's mostly happening in Northern and Southern California, with very few instances here in the Central Valley," Dr. Rais Vohra said.
Dr. Rais Vohra, with Fresno County Health Department, says it's still a trend being monitored locally...as access to psychedelics is becoming much easier.
"I work over at the Poison Control Center so I do hear about these cases. Mostly in the form of edibles, because there's a large industry now that is putting out edible mushroom products, other psychedelics. These things are also found in different street drugs and club drugs," Dr. Vohra said.
According to the Stanford report, more people are using these drugs for health reasons.
However, Dr. Vohra says there isn't enough research to prove any benefits...but there are potential risks.
"Heart rate going out of control. Blood pressure going out of control. Some people can have seizures, and then you can have a lot of secondary injuries just related to self-harm, trauma, forgetting to drink water and getting dehydrated, overheating, and having a heat stroke," Dr. Vohra said.
While the hallucinogen-related hospital visits are increasing, Dr. Vohra says it's also important to keep in mind patients are still coming in after using alcohol, cannabis and opiates.
"Our behavioral health colleagues, all of our hospitals are ready to help people enter into recovery," Dr. Vohra said.
Substance use disorder services can be found on the county's Behavioral Health website.