New York Sees Rise in Number of Young Hallucinogen Drug Users

by Rajashri on Sep 30 2008 3:44 PM

Drug abuse in young people continues to be a problem in New York as the use of a hallucinogen drug called Salvia has drastically increased, with tens of thousands of youngsters in their 20s taking it to experience a high.

The use of the herb, a member of the mint family, has largely increased as 5,000 videos detailing the legal herb's effects have already been posted on YouTube.

According to a report by Federal Health Department, 1.8 million people have used the drug in their lifetimes, and up to 750,000 tried it in the previous year.

Salvia can be bought online for 12 dollars an ounce.

Daniel Siebert, a botanist and salvia expert in Malibu, California, said that the herb was originally used in religious ceremonies by the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico.

"LSD is the most potent hallucinogen, and salvia is a close second," the New York Post quoted him as saying.

"It's like going into a dream world for a while, except that one still is conscious while it's happening," he added.

The herb is not banned under federal law, and thus is sold legally on line.

Arena Ethnobotanicals of Encinitas, California, is one of the companies that sells salvia online.

"We have huge volume for the New York region and have had a 1,000 percent increase over the last few months," said manager John Boyd.

Other online sellers also revealed that the demand for the drug had increased from the Empire State.

The spike in sales has spurred two state senators to try to control the drug.

In March, Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill that would classify salvia as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as LSD and heroin.

Upstate Senator George Maziarz (R-Niagara County) introduced a similar bill.