It’s a testament to the power of celebrity. The popularity of an herbal hallucinogenic has skyrocketed since Miley Cyrus was caught smoking it in a video that went viral.
Salvia sales reportedly tripled after Cyrus, a singer and teen TV star, was seen sucking smoke from a bong on gossip website TMZ.com.
“Salvia is a plant that grows out of the ground,” explains Shelly Higgins with the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol. “It’s actually in the mint family. Mostly it’s smoked, like we saw Miley Cyrus, the kids will use bongs to smoke it or they’ll roll it like they would marijuana.”
Shelly Higgins: The thing is, kids think they’re going to smoke it and get a high like a marijuana plant would do. But in actuality it’s more of a hallucinogen. Within 2 minutes of smoking it, short term effects are hallucinations. It usually lasts for about 20 minutes; it’s a scary drug.
FOX 26 News: And yet here in Texas, it’s completely legal. The last bill that was filed (in the legislature) that would have made it illegal was left stranded in committee, two years ago.
Shelly Higgins: I think the publicity that we’re getting on it nowadays, it’s definitely going to be brought (back) up.
FOX 26 News: On Yahoo Answers, Monday, someone was asking, “Where can I get Salvia in Houston, Texas?” So clearly people are responding to this video that’s been bouncing around, and it’s creating demand for Salvia.
Shelly Higgins: It’s a sad situation. Miley Cyrus is looked up to by all kinds of kids so they’re definitely going to want to look into it.
FOX 26 News: What should parents be able to look for to figure out whether Junior’s got his hands on this stuff?
Shelly Higgins: It would be hallucinating, not talking like they’re in reality, dizziness, passing out.
FOX 26 News: How dangerous is it to use it, especially if you’re using it regularly and you’re a teenager. Your brain isn’t fully developed yet.
Shelly Higgins: We don’t know exactly what it’s going to do, long-term. Scientists do believe that it is linked to schizophrenia, depression as well as suicide.
Salvia remains legal in most states, although a few prohibit its sale to anyone under 18.
This herb has half a dozen street names. You’ll find them in a Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet available at this website: http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/salvia_divinorum.html