A trendy new drug is targeting teens. It's easily accessible and some say highly dangerous.
Salvia is a hallucinogenic that has been outlawed in 14 states, but it is still legal in Georgia and there are no laws limiting who can buy it. CBS Atlanta’s Wendy Saltzman found Salvia for sale in several metro Atlanta stores.
Most smoke shops like Smoke 9-Eleven here in Roswell don't allow kids under 18 into their stores to buy Salvia, but it only takes a few clicks of a mouse for kids of any age to get on line and get this drug delivered to their door.
Salvia is the hottest high for teens looking for a rush. They can smoke it, chew it, or drink it.
The new "it" drug is being splashed across the internet with teens marketing to teens, posting their experiences online for everyone to see. Shawn Burdge of Smoke 9-Eleven says Salvia hits within 30-seconds of smoking it and the high, which he describes as an "out of body" experience, lasts for several minutes.
"It's a hallucinogen and it's potent,” said Burdge. “Basically what I was seeing was the room, but basically like a cartoon version of the room.”
That escape has been compared to using LSD and may sound inviting to thrill-seeking teens.
“Even if it affects you just a little bit, it is still drastic at the same time. It's still a removal from day to day life,” said Burdge.
But the Drug Enforcement Administration said Salvia is potentially dangerous and officially tagged it as a "drug of concern."
“What we are seeing are some very extreme psychoactive reactions to the substance. Basically losing all control at that time, of where they are at, what they are doing. Sometimes you will see them fall over from uncontrollable laughter, things like that,” said DEA spokesperson Rodney Benson.
Benson said the DEA is evaluating Salvia to potentially place the drug on the federal controlled substances list.
“Clearly there is an abuse. We are starting to see states around the country on their own beginning to outlaw that substance,” said Benson. In Georgia, not only is it legal, but there is no age limit on who can buy it.
“Another concern for me is the ease on the availability to get that substance,” said Benson.
Anyone can buy Salvia online with no ID and no age restrictions and have it delivered overnight.
But what some say is a dangerous substance that needs federal control, others say is mostly hype.
“It’s not as deadly as they seem to think it is,” said Burdge.
It could took take the DEA a year or more to make that ruling about whether or not to regulate Salvia and make it a controlled narcotic.
October 5, 2009