Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jan 2008
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 The Calgary Sun
Author: Bill Kaufmann, Sun Media


Cops Can't Stop School Kids From Consuming Hallucinogen

Police say their hands are tied and they can't control a potent,
consciousness-altering drug that's showing up in Calgary schools.

Users of the herb salvia divinorum -- a member of the mint family
grown in the Mexican state of Oaxaca -- say it's far stronger than
other hallucinogens and can create an out-of-body experience.

And police say they can't do anything about salvia because it's a
legal substance sold in health food stores and so-called head shops,
said Det. Doug Hudacin.

"The only trouble they'll get into is with mom and dad -- we really
don't have any contact with it because it's legal to buy, it's legal
to sell, possess and use," said Hudacin, adding the substance is
retailed as "a pick-me-up."

The herb has long been used by indigenous Mexicans for spiritual trips
and can be eaten or smoked.

Hudacin said they've been receiving calls from parents and school
staff who have raised concerns about it.

"It's around, especially in schools," he said.

"I can see it becoming a bigger problem with kids ... kids want to try
something new."

Like other hallucinogens, salvia should be a prohibited substance,
said Hudacin, who noted the herb is now illegal in seven U.S. states,
with Illinois banning it as of Jan. 1.

"I know the politicians are aware of it -- how long it takes them to
act on it, who knows?" he said. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake