A powerful hallucinogenic danger drug, banned in many countries, is available from a shopping centre in Dundee (writes David Clegg).
An investigation by the Tele discovered salvia divinorum — one of the most potent naturally-occurring psychoactive drugs — is being sold at an outlet in the city centre.
A reporter visited the shop and purchased a gram of the herb for under £20.
Although legal in the UK, the drug has been outlawed or its sale and distribution restricted in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden and several US states.
It has been linked to the suicide of an American teenager.
Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie said he is “concerned” about the availability of legal highs, such as salvia.
He said, “We have chemical compounds, very similar to banned, restricted or illegal drugs, available for sale.
“This is a UK Government matter, and I would hope it would want to find a way to close this loophole before a drug causes a great deal of damage.”
Last month the Government passed a law bringing a range of so-called “legal highs” under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act, but did not include salvia in the legislation.
A Home Office spokesman has said the Advisory Council On The Misuse Of Drugs “will be looking at salvia and other legal highs in due course”.
Salvia is a member of the mint family, and is often known as “Mexican mint” by users.
It contains salvinorin A, a dissociative drug believed to reduce signals between the conscious mind and the rest of the brain.
Last year it gained notoriety as the “YouTube drug” due to a craze for users to post videos of themselves laughing uncontrollably while under its influence.
Instructions on the pack obtained by the Tele state, “Place 500mg per person into your favourite vessel and burn until effects occur within seconds. Effects will last 10 – 15 minutes.
“Use with caution: Do not use while operating a motor vehicle, if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are taking any prescription or non-prescription medication or drugs.”
The psychedelic experiences linked to salvia include uncontrollable laughter, perceptions of being in several locations at once and the feeling of experiencing past memories.
There is no evidence it is toxic or addictive, but its powerful psychoactive effects have been linked with the suicide of an American teenager, Brett Chidester.
The 17-year-old from Delaware died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his family garage in January 2006.
His death certificate cites salvia as a contributing factor, and the drug was subsequently banned in the state.
A spokesman for the Advisory Council On The Misuse Of Drugs said, “The ACMD are concerned about the diversity, prevalence and potential harms of substances that constitute ‘legal highs’.
“The ACMD has convened a working group to look in detail at ‘legal highs’ and will provide recommendations throughout the year based on prevalence and harms, with cathinones including mephedrone and salvia divinorum being a priority.”
January 15, 2010
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