A flyer warning of LSD-laced bits of paper decorated with cartoon characters has been sent to parents of small children by the Palos Verdes Peninsula school district.
Although police in the South Bay said that they believe LSD use among teen-agers is increasing, they said they know of no cases involving young children.
"Over the years, LSD has been packaged in the way described by the flyers," said Capt. Bob Wilber of the narcotics division of the Sheriff's Department, which patrols much of the Peninsula. "But I have no reports of small children being injured by coming into contact with it."
The originator of the flyers has not been determined, officers said. One version obtained by The Times apparently originated in the San Fernando Valley.
Beth Lundy, coordinator of anti-drug programs in the Peninsula district, said she obtained a flyer from a friend. As a "precautionary measure" she decided to give copies last week to several thousand children in kindergarten through fifth grade to take home to their parents.
"I understand there has been an upsurge in LSD use in the South Bay lately and so I was concerned that some of it might fall into the hands of little kids who wouldn't realize the danger," she said.
The flyer states that drug peddlers are using innocent-looking pieces of paper, often printed with pictures of stars, pyramids, the earth, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, to distribute LSD, a hallucinogen. If a child puts the paper in his mouth, or uses it as a tattoo, the result could be a "fatal trip," the flyer says.
Steve Unglaub, a juvenile officer in the Torrance Police Department, said he has received numerous calls from concerned parents who picked up the flyers at PTA meetings and other events. LSD-laced paper tabs printed with symbols and comic-strip characters have been confiscated from local teen-agers, the officer said, but he also has heard of no cases involving younger children.
"There has been an increase in the number of arrests for LSD possession on the streets and in and around the schools," said Unglaub, who declined to estimate the extent of the increase. "It seems that whenever there is a rock concert by the Grateful Dead, wherever they play, the teen-agers return with fresh supplies of LSD."
Unglaub said that interviews with drug users indicate that LSD sold today is weaker than the powerful potions that first appeared in the 1960s. That factor and a much cheaper price, compared to cocaine, PCP and marijuana, may account for the LSD revival among some teen-agers, he said.
Tom Vanderpool, a Palos Verdes Estates police officer, said LSD does appear to be making a comeback, although other drugs are still far more widely used. His arrests in the last year, he said, included a high school girl caught selling LSD paper tabs on a Peninsula campus, and a "local doper" who carried the tabs in his marijuana bag.
As for the current wave of flyers, Vanderpool said he hasn't run across any of them yet. "But I remember the 1960s when LSD was the big drug," he said. "There were a lot of flyers going around, warning people to beware of these little pieces of paper with the pictures of Mickey Mouse and the stars and pyramids on them."