A Legal Drug Targets Teens Over the Internet - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/10/07 - Longview

A Legal Drug Targets Teens Over the Internet

It's a drug that's targeting young people over the Internet. And what's so surprising, is that it's "legally" being sold right here in East Texas.

It's called "Salvia Divinorum." It's a naturally occurring plant that, if consumed, could create an *out of body experience.  Salvia Divinorum is a hallucinogen that if often smoked or chewed could lead to medical complications."They could have numbness, out of body experience, and confusion," said Dr. Craig Meek.

There are different kinds of Salvia.  Salvia plants that you see in a garden are usually harmless and are sold for planting in gardens. The effects of Salvia Divinorum are so powerful that Missouri, Louisiana, Delaware, Tennessee, Illinois, Maine, North Dakota, and Oklahoma have already made it illegal.  However, in Texas, the plants are legal. 

In fact, a KLTV employee was able to legally buy Salvia at a store in Longview.

On the package it shows suggestions to get the most out of your experience.  On the back of the package it shows a warning, reading "people under 18 should not use the product." However, because there is no age limit on its sale, businesses can still sell the drug to minors.

"We're right now relying on business owners to be responsible in self regulating and not offering the drug as a sell to minors," said Jody Withers, Communications Director for State  Senator Craig Estes office.

 During the last legislative session, state lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would restrict the sale of Salvia to anyone under 18. The bill passed the state senate, but never made it to the house for final approval.  "The legislation didn't make it because there are nearly six to eight thousand pieces of legislation and some bills move faster than others. if we re-file it again in the next session and can get it moving faster then, I'm not expecting any opposition to stop it," said Withers.  

 While law makers wait to re-file the bill in December 2009, parents are urged to be on the look out.  "I think as a parent,  you have to be very careful who your children are with and what your children are doing," said Dr. Meek. "That's one thing that parents need to be aware of, is that it's not regulated like alcohol and tobacco. So, there's nobody outside of their home necessary from stopping their kids from getting their hands on this,  said Withers.

 And teens getting their hands on Salvia, is what lawmakers are trying to stop before it's to late.

Lakecia Shockley, reporting. lshockley@kltv.com

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