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Parents Warned About Legal Hallucinogenic Drug 'Salvia' Under Study By DEA
POSTED: 9:09 am MST February 25, 2004
DENVER -- Here's a warning for parents: information that federal drug agents want you to know.
A new legal drug call 'Salvia' that looks like marijuana (pictured, left), but creates a high much like LSD, 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski reported recently.
"It's legal and very easy for anyone, including teenagers, to purchase," said Kovaleski.
Users say Salvia Divinorum produces a more potent and hallucinogenic high than marijuana.
"It's different because there is no transition," said a head shop employee on our 7NEWS hidden camera. "One minute you're sober, the next minute you're intoxicated."
7NEWS reported that its hidden cameras captured candid testimonials from head shop employees throughout metro Denver.
"It's very popular," said another head shop employee. "People always come in and ask for it."
The Drug Enforcement Administration's top cop in Colorado said the substance is under study.
"There's a lot we don't know about it and there's suggestions that it's harmful and dangerous," said Jeffery Sweetin, DEA special agent in charge.
"What we know the drug to be is a hallucinogenic substance," he said.
Greg Stone entertains listeners as "Uncle Nasty" on KBPI radio. On the air last year, he smoked Salvia for the audience and the experience.
Kovaleski: "Fair to say you were high for a period of time? Stone: "Yeah... 8-10 minutes. I felt the effects of it. It was a jolly good time there for about 10 minutes. A lot of laughing... a lot of laughing. Then afterwards in this order, hunger, headache, nausea for about an hour and a half."
Matt Debaets said he started smoking Salvia 2 years ago.
"It's the best sh** ever, man," said Debaets.
"What bothers me the most about it is there seems to be an assumption that if it were dangerous it would already be illegal," said Sweetin.
But years after hitting the marketplace, Salvia is still readily available, Kovaleski reported.
7News undercover cam: "Why is it legal?" Head Shop Employee: "Because it's chemical make up is unlike anything that's been scheduled."
The chemical makeup of Salvia frustrates the DEA.
"The assumption is made that if I or anybody else in DEA thinks this substance is bad that we just make it illegal," said Sweetin. "It's a very time consuming, difficult process to schedule a drug and make it illegal."
But, with head shops continuing to profit from the product and users boasting of its mind-altering experience, at least one Salvia smoker says the immediate consequences outweigh any perceived benefits.
"Me personally, I haven't done it since," said Stone. "The nausea and headache outweighed the buzz for me."
Kovaleski said that many smoke shop employees told our hidden cameras that it won't be long before Salvia goes from legal to illegal. The DEA says it cannot predict when, or if, the drug will become illegal.
The agency said it hopes that information such as this report will educate parents and detour users.
I sent the newspaper a gripe about their misinformation about the plant and gave them the chemical alkaloids found in the plant. Told them how they report false info concerning entheogenic plants and how the DEA is really stu[pid if they do not know what they are looking for. I told the repoprt that all the information iss in any University library if they were intelligent agents, then they woudl klnow that.
I also sent a similar letter to the DEA. I have been mailing them letters of correct info for almost thirty years.
it doesn't take any time for the DEA to schedule a drug...they just place it in an emergency scheduling status...i think this process can take all of 30 days. it'll stayed scheduled until they study it, and make it permenant.