AN Ipswich town centre shop will no longer sell a powerful hallucinogenic drug which has been linked to teenage suicides in America, it emerged today.
The Evening Star bought the psychoactive herb called salvia divinorum from The Purple Shop in Fonnereau Road last month.
The drug - which was used in shamanistic rituals in Mexico - is said to provoke uncontrollable laughter and evoke childhood memories.
But following the Star's investigation, the shop's owner, Lindsay Thomas, said he will let the stocks of salvia run out and never order the drug again.
Mr Thomas said: “We are not the only business in Ipswich selling this product.
“We have sold it for many years, but sales are very slow, so we have thought about discontinuing the line for quite a while now.
“With the media coverage of late, it has only reinforced our attitude that as a responsible retailer now is the time to discontinue the product.”
Although salvia is legal to buy - there is increasing concern about the substance in America and the UK.
The mother of 17-year-old student Brett Chidester, from America, blamed the drug for her son's suicide.
The UK government recently asked an independent body to look into the legal highs market and pay close attention to salvia.
The Purple Shop featured in the Evening Star in 2003 for selling magic mushrooms and withdrew sales seven months before the government banned the sale of the drug.
But despite his decision not to stock salvia anymore, Mr Thomas said people who want the drug would still be able to purchase it elsewhere.
“As with the mushrooms, those that still wish to purchase these and similar products only have to go online or go to different retailers to obtain them, and unfortunately they will probably end up in the wrong hands, with no safety information to back them up.
“I sincerely hope that the government bans these products soon, but watch the manufacturers come up with an alternative in no time and the cycle will start all over again.
“We have decided that in the future we will not be stocking any similar or alternative products.”
Mr Thomas added that the shop staff were always “very careful” about who they sold age-related products too.
http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/conten...=xDefault&itemid=IPED16 Jun 2009 10:17:28:537