Legal Drug (Salvia) Gaining Popularity In Pennsylvania

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    Legal Drug Gaining Popularity In Pennsylvania

    There is a powerful drug gaining popularity among local young people.

    It has the power to alter reality in strange ways and those who've used it say they entered another dimension.

    "I fell. I fell on the ground. I felt like I was connected to the earth," a man, who did not want to be identified, said.

    And it's perfectly legal to buy it over the counter.

    Salvia Divinorium is an herb grown south of the border – long-used by Mexican Indians for spiritual enlightenment. It is now smoked by recreational users.

    Videos on YouTube show them almost immediately falling to the ground, babbling nonsensically.

    A young man who spoke to KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan, who is referring to himself as "Justin," smoked Salvia after buying it at a local headshop not knowing what he was in for.

    "All these colors started swirling together, I remember the trees just disappear and it just felt like an out of body experience," he said. "It's way more powerful that LSD, peyote or mescaline."

    Salvia is illegal in states like Delaware where a teenager committed suicide after using the drug, but in Pennsylvania you can still buy it legally.

    Neil Capretto, of Gateway Rehab, supports a bill before the state legislature to change that.

    "It should be made illegal. It's just too potent, too dangerous of an hallucinogen," he said. "It would be like having LSD legal which is absurd in my opinion."

    KDKA-TV Producer Matt Regan was sent to New Indian Summer, a kind of new age store in Castle Shannon, to find out how easy it is to get Salvia.

    In a few minutes, he emerged with the herb.

    "I walked in. I asked them. They went behind the counter. They had it in a metal box," Regan said.

    It was $21 for the lower-grade Salvia and $31 for the high test.

    "One of the women working there told me it would be a, 'vision quest,' which I'm not exactly sure what a, 'vision quest' is but I'm going to have one if I smoke this," Regan said.

    Then KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan went inside and asked owner Lynn Jones just what she meant.

    "I tell everyone who buys it that it is for a vision quest. It's not a drug. It's not a toy. It's something to enlighten you," she said.

    Jones, who has used Salvia herself, says she only sells it to people over 21 and advises them to be sitting down and playing soft music. Other than that, she has no problem selling the stuff.

    Sheehan: "A lot of people think it's dangerous and it should be made illegal."

    Jones: "I didn't have any bad effects from it."

    But Justin thinks Salvia should be banned and says he's threw with it.

    Sheehan: "Don't try this at home, right?"

    Justin: "No, don't try it ever."

    Nov 11, 2009 9:20 pm US/Eastern

    3:37 news story uploaded to the Video Archives

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