Senator Flanagan Renews Call For Ban Of Hallucinogenic Drug Following Miley Cyrus Video

John J. Flanagan

December 13, 2010

Following media reports that pop star Miley Cyrus was caught on video allegedly using salvia divinorum, Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today called for the Assembly to join him in his effort to ban the sale of this legal hallucinogen throughout New York State.  Senator Flanagan has been pushing for a ban of the hallucinogen, which is widely claimed to have the same effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), for years and has been successful in gaining passage of the ban in the Senate.

Salvia divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage, Sister Salvia, Ska Maria Pastora or simply salvia, is a psychoactive plant from the mint family and is currently available on the Internet and in stores without age restrictions.

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.

On a recently posted video, Miley Cyrus, who is known by millions of children as Hannah Montana, is reportedly seen smoking salvia divinorum from a bong during a recent party.

"As someone who is a role model for millions, the video of Miley Cyrus allegedly smoking salvia has made the public more aware of the dangers posed by this legal and I am hopeful that will inspire the Assembly to join me in fighting to ban its sale in New York State,” stated Senator Flanagan.  “This is a gateway drug that is known to adversely affect people with the possibility of causing long-term damage and we need to get it off the shelves of our community.”

While those long-term effects are still being considered, the National Drug Intelligence Center has indicated that they may be similar to those produced by other hallucinogens such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) including depression and schizophrenia.

Some abusers also indicate that long-term abuse can cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, or "flashbacks."  Numerous individuals report experiencing negative effects during their first experience with Salvia divinorum and indicate that they would not use it a second time.  Some others report that the drug caused them to become introverted and sometimes unable to communicate clearly.

Senator Flanagan’s legislation, which would go into effect sixty days after becoming law, would subject violators to a $500 civil penalty per violation.

Additionally, Senator Flanagan has again called for the state to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana products that are being smoked by teenagers as an alternative to marijuana.  The fake drug is legally available under a variety of names like K2, Spike 99 and Spice at stores throughout New York State including on Long Island and just blocks away from the State Capitol in Albany.

“While it is called ‘fake pot, the reality is that it is just as powerful as the illegal drug and it is completely unregulated in our state.  We need to bring the fight against drugs to the stores that sell this dangerous product so that we can stop the senseless cycle of drug abuse that is invading our streets and our communities,” added Senator Flanagan.

This synthetic is composed of a mix of herbs and spices that are laced with a powerful psychotropic drug or synthetic cannabinoids (pot-like chemicals) that mimic the effect of getting high on marijuana. 

Dangerous side-effects have been reported by those using the synthetic marijuana including hallucinations, vomiting, agitation, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and other adverse conditions.   The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has listed the chemicals on its list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern.  The chemicals that would be banned under Senator Flanagan’s legislation have never been tested for safety in humans as they were created for experimental use in animals and cell cultures.

“The federal government has left it up to the states to regulate these substances and we have a responsibility to get these dangerous drugs off the stores shelves in our state.  These substances are dangerous, they are gateways to further drug use and, unfortunately, they are legal.  That is why I am going to work to get both of these proposals passed again in the Senate and I urge the members of the Assembly to join me in this important fight,” concluded Senator Flanagan.

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