Pubdate: Sat, 26 Apr 2008
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Copyright: 2008 The Topeka Capital-Journal
Author: James Carlson


Kansas has joined a growing list of states to outlaw an old
hallucinogenic drug called salvia divinorum.

With Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' signature earlier this week, Kansas
became one of at least nine states to place restrictions on the drug.
Nearly 20 other states are considering similar legislation.

The broad leaf is often used by landscapers as ground cover, but its
concentrated extract can be chewed or smoked to feel its effects.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, salvia causes
hallucinations, a perception of overlapping realities, dizziness and
impaired speech. It has long been legal in the United States and used
in shamanistic rituals by groups in southern Mexico.

But it was mentioned as one of many factors in the suicide of a
Delaware teenager in 2006, and states soon took notice of the drug.

Tom Stanton, president of the Kansas County and District Attorneys
Association, said he came to the issue after hearing of the Delaware
death and viewing Internet videos of teenagers giggling and tripping
around while on the hallucinogen.

He couldn't provide any numbers on the drug's prevalence, but said the
videos he watched were enough evidence to convince him of the law's

But Jon Sloan, owner of Persephones Journey in Lawrence where the
substance was sold, said the ill behavior of some kids on the Internet
isn't reason to ban the substance across the state.

He also said salvia could prove to have medicinal effects.

Thomas Prisinzano, a medicinal chemistry professor at The University
of Kansas, has participated in studies on salvinorum A, the
psychoactive chemical compound found in salvia. He said in the past
that the drug may be used for treatment of pain and possibly
depression and Alzheimer's disease.

There have been few comprehensive studies of the drug's short-term and
long-term effects on the brain, however, and Stanton said the state
shouldn't take any risks with it.

With the governor's signature, possession, use or sale of salvia is
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