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  1. torachi
    In a video interview today with ABC, a high school friend of the alleged gunman behind the Arizona shooting massacre said that Jared Loughner had used salvia. Zach Osler spoke with Ashleigh Banfield and described how Jared Loughner had changed into someone he now describes as “looking like a monster.” Jared Loughner is accused of opening fire on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at a Tucson, Arizona public rally shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head at point blank range and wounding 13 others; six people died.

    Represented by Judy Clarke, a death penalty expert who represented Susan Smith and the Unabomber, there is no doubt that Clarke will go for an insanity defense. It doesn’t appear it will be hard to do. Reports from Loughner’s friends and former teachers lay the foundation for someone mentally disturbed. Could Jared Loughner’s salvia use have triggered or exasperated an underlying case of schizophrenia?

    Salvia Divinorum is a drug, legal in some states, and is a hallucinogen. Though proponents of the herb that is either smoked, chewed, inhaled, or its juice drunk believe salvia is safe, the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA says otherwise.

    The NIDA says about Salvia, “People who abuse salvia generally experience hallucinations or “psychotomimetic” episodes (a transient experience that mimics a psychosis).

    Subjective effects have been described as intense but short-lived, appearing in less than 1 minute and lasting less than 30 minutes. They include psychedelic-like changes in visual perception, mood and body sensations, emotional swings, feelings of detachment, and importantly, a highly modified perception of external reality and the self, leading to a decreased ability to interact with one's surroundings.

    This last effect has prompted concern about the dangers of driving under the influence of salvinorin. The long-term effects of Salvia abuse have not been investigated systematically.”

    In the book, “100 Questions and Answers about Schizophrenia: Painful Minds” by Lynn E Delsi, a section of the book discusses whether drug use causes schizophrenia or if those who are schizophrenic tend to use drugs more frequently. In chapter 73, Lynn Delis asks which comes first, drug use or schizophrenia. The answer is that no one knows, and it may be that those with a genetic predisposition to developing schizophrenia will experiment with drugs in order to alleviate symptoms.

    Lynn Delis says, “Drug use has been associated with an earlier age of onset of schizophrenia and with a poorer outcome and is particularly relevant to males with the illness, as males tend to abuse drugs significantly more than females.”

    In chapter 74, Delsi speaks of a link between the development of schizophrenia and marijuana. She writes, “It would not be advisable for people already diagnosed with schizophrenia to use marijuana.”

    It is too early to tell whether Jared Loughner has schizophrenia and if so, whether drug use attributed to the disease. What we do know is that judging from accounts from friends, teachers and neighbors, there was a drastic change in Jared Loughner’s appearance and behavior that transpired in the past two years. Reports also indicate that he exhibited many symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

    Those who are dealing with behavioral or mental health issues should avoid illegal drug use and seek help from a professional who will determine whether or not prescription drugs should be used to treat the condition.
    Jared Loughner has not released a formal statement since facing five federal counts for murder and attempted murder. Some of Loughner’s MySpace posts have been published online and indicate strong delusions and disorganized thinking.

    January 12th, 2011 6:14 pm ET

    http://www.examiner.com/us-headline...oughner-used-salvia-says-friend-schizophrenia

Comments

  1. Moving Pictures
    His drug use could have aggraveted his mental illness but it certainly is as simple as the salvia caused him to do this.

    But people with mental illness, esp. schizophrenia, shouldn't uses hallucinogens or stimulants. They mess with the brain chemical that are involved with schizophrenia (this is my understanding) and can make it worse. A friend of mine got diagnosed as a teenager and he was a big pot head and the doctors told his parents that if he was going to use drugs, the ones that would affect his condition the least were alcohol, benzos, and opiates. They warned he shouldn't smoke marijuana or use hallucinogens. He kept on smoking pot and tripping and shit and ended up in and out of mental hospitals before I lost touch with him.
  2. Killa Weigha
    Miley Cyrus hit it too! Bet she doesn't go on a shooting spree any time soon. Some assholes use drugs, some don't. Some criminals do, some don't. There's no 100% correlation either way.
  3. godztear
    I think it is just media sensationalism at play here in the wake of the whole Miley Cyrus fiasco. I have never seen anyone react violently while on salvia, or even be able to make conscious movements. There is really no telling what substances, if any, that this man was using.

    I also have to disagree with the mental illness defense and I think it is a damn shame that the same lawyer for the uni-bomber is going to step up to this guys defense; there are plenty of innocent people who would love to be able to afford a lawyer let alone get a top notch one for free. Someone does not just all of a sudden decide to go to a political rally and attempt an assassination/massacre on a whim, this shit was well planned out and he deserves to burn.
  4. cra$h
    Guaranteed the kid ate fast food recently before this event. Whos to say it wasn't the secret chemicals in our food? People have to stop playing the blame game with everything that goes slightly wrong.
  5. MrG
    Or you could try using the correct word, 'exacerbated'.

    Sensationalist, speculative nonsense, betrayed by shoddy use of language and ludicrous contradictions.

    "'Drug' use can cause schizophrenia. Or maybe it doesn't cause schizophrenia. Did his 'drug' use trigger his schizophrenia? It's too early to tell if Loughner has schizophrenia, or if his drug use 'attributed' (wrong word again doofus) to his disease, which he may or may not have".

    Jeez, go back to school, you are hereby banned from posting anything other than LOLCatz pics until you have learned to write properly.

    An utterly pointless article.
  6. godztear
    Shooting Suspect Had Been Known to Use Potent, and Legal, Hallucinogen

    TUCSON — No one has suggested that his use of a hallucinogenic herb or any other drugs contributed to Jared L. Loughner’s apparent mental unraveling that culminated with his being charged in a devastating outburst of violence here.
    Yet it is striking how closely the typical effects of smoking the herb, Salvia divinorum — which federal drug officials warn can closely mimic psychosis — matched Mr. Loughner’s own comments about how he saw the world, like his often-repeated assertion that he spent most of his waking hours in a dream world that he had learned to control.

    Salvia is a potent but legal drug marketed with promises of producing a transcendental spiritual journey: out-of-body experiences, existence in multiple realities, the revelation of secret knowledge and, according to one online seller, “permanent mind-altering change in perception.”
    Mr. Loughner, 22, was at one point a frequent user of the plant, also known as diviner’s sage, which he began smoking while in high school during a time in which he was also experimenting with marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other drugs, according to friends. Mental health professionals warn that drug use can both aggravate and mask the onset of mental illness.

    “He always had it on him,” said George Osler IV, whose son, Zach, was good friends with Mr. Loughner in high school. It is unclear when Mr. Loughner last used the drug.
    It remains unclear what, if any, role salvia played in shaping Mr. Loughner’s views. But the shootings have once again drawn attention to a drug that — for little more than the cost of a pack of cigarettes and without the hassle of showing a driver’s license — a growing number of young people here and throughout much of the country are legally buying and using.

    “It’s a draw for adventure seekers — the people who are attracted to the sort of bungee-jumping attempt in psychopharmacology,” said Matthew W. Johnson, a professor of behavioral pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University medical school, who has studied the effect of the drug on humans. “They are looking for that sort of thing as a part of their belief system. Sometimes they are extremely compelled by what they are experiencing.”
    A perennial in the mint family related to the ornamental plant popular with gardeners, Salvia divinorum is native to Mexico and has historically been used by Mazatec shamans in religious rituals, where the large green leaves are chewed or made into a tea. (Some researchers have said the herb holds promise for developing new medicine to control pain and treat drug addiction.)

    Smoked, the effect is shorter and more intense, typically lasting just a few minutes.
    People who have smoked the herb say the experience is often unpleasant, and many never use it again. The powerful effects have been documented in thousands of online videos documenting experiences on the drug — including a recent video of the teenage music and television star Miley Cyrus laughing hysterically and babbling nonsensically after smoking the drug. Nearly 6 percent of high school seniors and college students reported using the drug in the previous year, a higher percentage than used Ecstasy or cocaine and more than twice as much as LSD, according to a federal survey released in 2009.

    “It pretty much puts you in a different world,” said Casey Hazelton, 19, describing his own experience with the drug while visiting a local smoke shop that sells packets of the herb. “It’s like you’re dreaming if you’re awake.” Nationwide, poison centers treated 117 Salvia divinorum exposures in 2010, up from 81 the year before.
    Salvia’s growing popularity has led nearly half the states to ban or restrict the sale of the herb, which is often treated with concentrated extract of the active chemical to make it more powerful. The push coincides with recent efforts by states around the country to outlaw a number of other legal drugs that often sit alongside salvia on the shelves that use chemical additives to mimic the effects of illegal drugs like marijuana.

    “It’s an issue that the states are increasingly paying attention to,” said Alison Lawrence, policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
    In Arizona, however, salvia and other synthetic drugs like Spice and K2 can legally be sold to anyone, including minors, and are available at smoke shops, liquor stores and even grocery stores. The drug is also widely sold on the Internet with more potent versions accompanied by warnings like “reality is ripped to shreds.”
    Eric Meyer, a doctor and member of the Arizona Legislature, has introduced bills each of the past two years to restrict the sale of salvia to those 21 and older (three states, including California, have age restrictions). Both years the bill died without coming to a final vote. Mr. Meyer said he planned to introduce the legislation again next week, with the hope that the increased attention would allow the bill to go forward. “It’s a first step to get some control over the drug,” he said.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency has listed salvia as a drug of concern and is considering classifying it as a Schedule I drug, like LSD or marijuana, according to the National Institutes of Health.



    Michael Luo contributed reporting.

    By A. G. SULZBERGER and JENNIFER MEDINA
    Published: January 17, 2011
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/us/18salvia.html?src=twrhp
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