From a norwegian tabloid.
"I thought I was a coffee table"
Warns against herbal drug bought over the internet.
"We get shipments of this daily, and we´ve seen a drastic increase the last year and a half" says office chief of customs in Oslo and Akershus, Jon Aspelund to Dagbladet.
The herb grows naturally in South America, but has lately been grown commercially in USA and Europe for the drug market.
It is not listed with other illegal drugs on "narkotikalisten" im Norway.
Nevertheless customs do not send the herb to the recipient if they sieze it.
"We treat it as a prescription drug,and since nobody gets a prescription for this we return it to the seller." says Aspelund.
That many Norwegian drug enthusiasts have experimented with the drug is unquestionable. On a norwegian forum related to drugs, hundreds of users share their psychedelic experiences with the herb in so-called trip-reports:
"I lit it the same way and inhaled the smoke, as before I took two hits(...) suddenly the only sensible thing to do and my only calling in life was to run back and forth between the door and the bed. I felt like I was running at 700 km/h, I just had to do it-it was my reality" forum user "Zendelum" writes after smoking the drug last week.
"It felt like I could pull the treshold of the door over my head like a hat, and when I shook my head that half of the earth shook." "Vill" writes about his experience.
Helge Waal, professor of psychiatry and leader of the center for research into intoxication and addiction at the University of Oslo, warns against the drug.
"Salvia divinorum belongs to a group of drugs called hallucinogens. One gets unfamilliar ways to to think and experience the senses with, the drug is related to LSD, mescaline, peyote and many others. These drugs, which have been used for a long time, are listed as illegal and there is no reason to treat this drug otherwise." says Waal.
"This is a relatively new phenomenon, and it is reasonable to expect an increase in after-effects, as we have seen in USA: Psychological instability, flashbacks, anxiety reactions and other psychological difficulties" says Waal.
Posting drug videos
On the video sharing website youtube over 5000 users have documented their experiences with Salvia divinorum. The experience appears to be intense: common themes are uncontrolled laughter, paranoia and a strongly altered perception of reality.
Salvia divinorum can be bought relatively cheap on the internet . One buys leaves or extracts in the form of oil. Most distributors are located in the USA, where federal law doesn´t affect the herb. 13 states have now banned the herb and more will follow.
In Sweden it is illegal to import, redistribute, produce, sell or be in posession of the herb. In Denmark Salvia is listed in category B on the danish drug list, and therefore illegal.
A study done in Sweden indicates the average user to be 23 years old.
Statens Legemiddelverk(medical authorities), who updates the norwegian drug list, will consider including Salvia divinorum at their next revision.
"For the time being this is considered a prescription drug, but we are preparing a revision of the drug list, and will look into including Salvia divinorum." says senior advisor in Statens Legemiddelverk, Anne Sagabråten.
Convinced he was a coffee table
"I found a web site where I could order it, and it came through the mail without any problems." says "Geir" to Dagbladet.
The first time he smoked the herb, was on a field with some friends a few years ago.
"I inhaled and put down the pipe. Suddenly I got the feeling that the world wasn´t real. My field of vision divided into several worlds and I became really afraid" says "Geir".
Afterwards his friends told him he had been rolling around on the ground. Since then he has tried the drug several times.
"At a friend house I was convinced I was a coffee table." he says.
"Geir" has a long experience with psychedelic drugs, but describes the effects of Salvia divinorum as very intense and overwhelming.
"The high is difficult to prepare for." he says.
Despite this he thinks he will smoke the herb again.
"I see few dangers with it. I don´t think it is addictive and the high is so short that it doesn´t make you indisposed for a long time."
Anders Holth Johansen