In an effort to protect the youth of Long Island, Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today announced that legislation he sponsored that would ban the sale of Salvia Divinorum has successfully passed the New York State Senate. This drug, which has been reported to have the hallucinogenic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), is legally available over the Internet and in stores without age restrictions.
Salvia Divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage, Sister Salvia, Ska Maria Pastora or simply salvia, is a psychoactive plant from the mint family. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Salvia Divinorum is chewed or smoked to induce illusions and hallucinations, the diversity of which is described by users as similar to those induced by ketamine, mescaline, or psilocybin. It is currently under review by the medical and scientific community to determine if it should be a controlled substance.
"We need to protect our young people from this legal hallucinogen. The use of this drug is increasing, especially among young adults and adolescents, and the time has come to ban its sale" said Senator Flanagan. "This is a drug that produces hallucinations similar to those experienced by LSD and it is readily available and legally for sale on the Internet."
Flanagan noted that his office found dozens of web sites offering Salvia Divinorum for sale and tips on how to best use it. Missouri and Louisiana have both passed laws that ban certain uses of the drug and federal legislation has been introduced to schedule Salvia Divinorum as a controlled substance but it has not yet been enacted. It has been listed as a "chemical of concern" by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to a recent USA Today article, the drug is being blamed by the Delaware family of a teenager who committed suicide after using the hallucinogen, which he purchased via the Internet. The note that the teenager left, according to the article, sounded similar to the experiences that other users of the drug have described.
"In the absence of federal action on this drug, the state has an obligation to move to protect our citizens. I am deeply concerned that kids are being attracted to this drug because of its promotion on the Internet and its ease of availability. The public needs to realize that just because Salvia Divinorum is for sale on the Internet does not mean that it is safe," Senator Flanagan said.
The legislation has been sent to the Assembly for further action. Violators of the proposed law would be subject to a $500 civil penalty per violation.
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