A PSYCHEDELIC drug which the government has been advised to ban is being sold in Bolton.
Salvia divinorum can produce short but intense periods of hallucination — but it is perfectly within the law to buy and use in this country.
The Bolton News has discovered that salvia can easily be bought for as little as £10 in at least two town centre shops.
But the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an independent body which advises the government on drug issues, has told the Home Office that salvia should be made illegal.
The government’s drug advice service, Frank, said that there are risks involved in taking salvia.
Chris Hudson, from Frank, said: “It can cause hallucinations, which while sometimes brief, can be frightening.
“While not illegal at the moment, salvia divinorum is one of the so called ‘legal highs’ being reviewed by government.
“All drugs carry risks, you never truly know what you're going to get or how it will affect you."
The substance, which is derived from a Mexican herb, is available in varying strengths based on its concentration.
It is sold as a “legal high”, and packets often contain references to spiritualism, ancient shamanistic rituals, out of body experiences and connections with nature.
Salvia is usually sold in a dried leaf form, which can be smoked, but it can also be bought fresh and chewed.
A drug worker told The Bolton News that use of the substance is on the rise and that the authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about it.
So little is known about the drug, however, that none of Bolton’s drug services were able to comment on it.
A police spokesman said that officers were aware of the drug, but it was not their place to comment because it was legal.
Some users have recorded themselves taking the drug and posted them on websites.
Videos show people smoking salvia, then within minutes laughing hysterically or cowering in fear.
One user wrote on an internet forum: “Had this for the first time last night, and it twisted me sideways.
“Utterly lost my mind on it. Nothing like any other hallucinogen I have ever had.”
October 31, 2009
The Bolton News