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Salvia: the dangerous legal drug taken by 'one-in-ten students'

By source, Nov 5, 2012 | | |
  1. source
    Salvia divinorum, a legal drug which causes powerful hallucinations and has been linked to psychotic episodes, has been tried by one-in-ten students according to a new survey.

    Salvia, a legal drug which causes powerful hallucinations and has been linked to psychotic episodes, has been tried by nearly one-in-ten UK university students, according to a new survey.

    One-in-four students at British universities admitted to having taken 'legal highs', of whom 39 per cent said they had experimented with salvia. Salvia is one of the most powerful known hallucinogenic herbs.

    The drug, which is banned in many European countries, derives from a Mexican plant and was traditionally used by shamans to alter their states of consciousness. It is often marketed as 'herbal ecstasy', can be either smoked or chewed, and can easily be bought online or from 'head shops' as a refined extract at strengths of up to '50x' concentration.

    Commenting on the results Chris Hudson, a spokesman for the government drug education service FRANK, said: "So-called legal highs are not a safer alternative to illegal drugs.

    "People who take salvia have experiences that can vary from fairly mild to strong with hallucinations. At higher doses users can experience dramatic time distortion, vivid imagery and scary hallucinations.

    "As with all legal highs and illegal substances, the risks increase if you combine them with alcohol, or other drugs."

    According to FRANK, physical harm resulting from use of salvia is usually the consequence of people injuring themselves whilst under its influence. The drug causes intense visions and can leave users unable to regulate their physical movements and speech, leading to a YouTube craze of users filming themselves taking the drug and uploading the videos to the internet.

    Other legal highs shown by the survey to be popular with British students included nitrous oxide (or 'laughing gas'), tried by 58 per cent of those who had taken 'legal highs', and smoking blends such as 'Spice' and 'Black Mamba', which are pharmacologically similar to cannabis (27 per cent).

    In total 54 per cent of respondents said they had tried illegal drugs, of whom one-in-four had taken mephedrone (or 'miaow miaow'), the formerly legal drug which was classified as a Class B illegal drug in the United Kingdom in 2010.

    The most widely-used illegal drugs according to the survey were cannabis (tried by 98 per cent of those who had taken illegal drugs), ecstasy or MDMA (48 per cent) and cocaine (36 per cent).

    Two-in-three students said they had been offered illegal drugs while at university, while 27 per cent reported having been offered banned substances while on campus.

    Controversy surrounding salvia, which was linked to the 2006 suicide of Delaware teenager Brett Chidester, has led to several attempts to ban its usage in the United Kingdom.

    "I am very concerned about the use and misuse of Salvia divinorum because it contains an active ingredient that can trigger hallucinations," Professor Fabrizio Schifano, an expert in drug addiction based at the University of Hertfordshire, told the Telegraph in 2010.

    "For some vulnerable individuals, this may mean the onset of a psychotic episode."

    The University Drug Culture Survey was carried out by student research company The Beans Group.

    By Andrew Marszal, Education Digital Editor, Daily Telegraph
    2nd November 2012.


  1. Psii
    My sloth has taken the aforementioned salvia and laughing gas. The conclusion is that the drugs themselves aren't anywhere nearly as harmful as the mindset and misuse of the drug by some young adults. But isn't it to be expected? Treat something as taboo and it is human inclination to ponder the "what ifs?". Salvia is NOT a party drug by any means. If spiritual shaymans took it in order to give them profound spiritual journeys and insights, what sense does it make to administer a 20x concentration in a 40°C, dark claustrophobic environment filled with hundreds of overexcited kids with the bass knocking the teeth out your jaw and lasers filling the air. From the gist of this article, I get the feeling that it won't be long before Salvia is made illegal due to the scaremongering media and the impressionable and passive public. And it really is a shame as the benefits of a substance like this highly outweigh the problems. I think the knowledge of how to use these substances to the fullest potential is all that's needed. Well, that and this bullshit anti-drugs mentality this country has.

    Is it fair to take away the whole birthday cake just because the fat spoilt kid in the corner decided to eat too much whilst getting drunk on Coca Cola and choked?
  2. usually0
    Honestly, Salvia use should have no relative harms to any user, but i can understand how it can be viewed as dangerous. First of all, it's a powerful hallucigen, and should be treated as such, instead it's known as a 10 min acid trip and most people take it without any consideration or thought because it's so available.

    Out of all I've learned from the experience having salvia sold in legal stores, is that all drugs should probably come with an instructional pamphlet explaining their dangers, method of use, etc. Even alcohol, too many problems arise from first-time users who are not knowledgeable about the drugs they are consuming. The amount of times I've been to a party where people drink too much and are throwing up and can't stand, etc. People should be informed about how to use alcohol safely, just like how to use other drugs safely.
  3. Psii
    Sloth has taken salvia 10x three times. Once in a pink room where he had no idea what to expect. His friends weren't the type he was comfortable taking psychedelics around. Especially one as powerful as Salvia. I won't go into it but he learnt from his mistake. That's why he decided to take the next one on the Brighton Beach. This was the first time the sloth had ever seen the sea. Words cannot describe the emotions. He was with his three best friends without a care in the world. I think ge would describe it as one of the greatest days of his life. Make mistakes, they're there to learn from. But make sure you learn. I now know with whom, where and when to take trips... I know when my mind is ready or not.

    As they say, knowledge is power. Timothy Leary once compared water to LSD. He argued that water is an odourless colourless drug and that too much of it in the wrong place (lungs) we die, 15 ft of it going over our heads, we die, and if we get hooked and then stop taking it, we die. So he argued whether we should stop using water, or learn how to properly. Obviously he was mocking the FDA (I think that's what it is) but his inlying argument rings true. Knowledge is the best form of prevention of harm. It has been proven with sex education. Although argued to have sex thrown in their faces, it has been known to cut pregnancies.

    Btw, I'm new here. Could you tell me how you do your quotes?
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