Authorities ask why hallucinogenic herb is legal
Web Posted: 05/26/2006 01:16 AM CDT
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
A herb that makes you hallucinate is perfectly legal in Texas. The drug is sold without a prescription, and medical experts say it's dangerous.
At the Gas Pipe in Austin, Purple Sticky Salvia is sold for $20, along with a list of safety instructions on how to smoke it.
However, some argue that the list is not enough — the product should be banned by state and federal governments.
Purple Sticky Salvia is an all-natural hallucinogen, made from native plants used in landscaping. In Mexico, it has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries.
"It is something that I think it's very real, and has the potential to do some real damage," said Dr. John Roache, a clinical pharmacologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Roache is skeptical of the herb salvia divinorum, which can also be purchased online. One place it can't be found is on the Drug Enforcement Agency's list of controlled substances, and experts say that's a problem.
"I do consider it very dangerous, and I think it's only a matter of time before it will become illegal," Roache said.
Now teens are using it for their own trips.
"For a few minutes you see stuff, you hallucinate for a little bit," user Steve Fanning said.
D.A.R.E. coordinator Dep. George Little is baffled by the product's accessibility.
"There comes a time when somebody ought to say enough is enough," Little said.
He says if people are smoking it and hallucinating, then it needs to be off the market.
"Just because something's legal, doesn't necessarily make it right," Little said.
So far, a handful of states are considering outlawing this drug. Louisiana and Missouri have already done so, and several other countries have named it a controlled substance.