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  Salvia Divinorum - An important message for parents

Jan 31, 2018 13:43 ET

Most parents will do whatever they can to keep their kids off of drugs. But guess what? Your kids can walk down to the nearest convenience store to get high, no questions asked.

You may not know of it, but your kids sure do. Salvia Divinorum, or salvia as it is most commonly known is a hallucinogenic drug that is sold legally in Canada. You can go to any convenience store in Ontario and purchase salvia for as little as $20. It's as easily accessible to your kids as an ice cream sandwich and pack of gum and no one will stop them from buying it.

Salvia is known to have both physical and mental effects. When ingested, it can cause hallucinations, dysphoria, anxiousness, depression, out of body experiences, uncontrollable laughter, unconsciousness, short-term memory loss, lack of coordination, slurred speech, and awkward sentence patterns. The effects vary from person to person and scientists still know very little about the long term effects of this product or its addictive potential.

The most concerning fact about salvia is that the majority of users are young teens. According to the 2009 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring survey, 1.6% of Canadians 15 or older have taken salvia at least once. Youths aged 15 to 24 have a higher percentage at 7.6% and the popularity of salvia is on the rise.

Numerous YouTube videos have appeared in recent years promoting the drug and certain websites promote salvia as a legal alternative to street drugs which may explain why young people have a piqued interest in salvia.

In Canada, salvia is recognized as a natural health product, which is why it remains a legal substance, but in light of the dangers, actions are being taken to put salvia under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. Although, salvinorin A (which is the active hallucinogenic ingredient in salvia) is not authorized for sale by Health Canada and may be subject to compliance and enforcement action by Health Canada under the Food and Drugs Act. However, most establishments are either unaware of this or simply refuse to withdraw their products.

Constable Sara Foote (Durham Region Police) has frequently asked vendors to remove salvia from their shelves and has been denied any compliance.

Many other countries have either banned or made salvia illegal. Australia, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Sweden have all either banned or made salvia an illegal substance.

In the United States, most states have banned the drug, especially after the highly publicized death of Delaware teen Brett Chidester. In 2006, the 17 year old committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning and his death was officially linked to smoking salvia. Delaware then enacted a statute entitled Brett's Law which prohibits the use of the psychoactive drug.

So why is Canada still allowing our children to use salvia? Must a tragedy such as in Delaware occur for our government to finally smarten up and take action? If you want salvia out of your kids' hands, it's up to you and the community.

You can contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate directly by calling toll-free at 1-800-267-9675 and voice your concerns. Drugs will always be a battle, but the war against salvia is one that we can win, but not until someone steps in and takes it off store shelves.

(This article was written by Sarah Stewart)

Health Canada web site link with further facts and information relating to this product . Please click here for more information.

Photos of this product are attached.

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Plant form (HTM file, 1.1K bytes)
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