Salvia Use Among Teenagers

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According to NIDA, “Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb in the mint family found in southern Mexico. The main active ingredient in salvia, salvinorin A, changes the chemistry in the brain, causing hallucinations (seeing something that seems real but isn’t). The effects are short-lived, but may be very intense and frightening.”

However, unlike Ecstasy and other drugs, the effects of salvia pass very quickly. This is troubling news for parents. Ecstasy produces results that last for hours. This gives parents plenty of time to spot signs of intoxication in their teens. In contrast, salvia only produces symptoms for a few moments. In fact, in fewer than 30 minutes from ingestion, the teen might be restored to complete normalcy.

Since spotting salvia intoxication is so difficult, parents will need to do a bit more investigating to determine if their children are using this substance. After all, it makes sense that parents should know what their teens are doing and the dangers involved. If and when evidence is found, parents then have hard facts to confront teens with in a drug intervention.

This could be the wakeup call teens need in order to stop using and abusing this dangerous drug.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2009, more high school seniors reported using salvia in the previous year than admitted to using the drug Ecstasy.

Salvia Legality and Where Teens are Buying it

Teens buy salvia from so-called “head shops.” These stores sell drug paraphernalia like pipes and lighters and in addition to that they also sell “legal drugs” like salvia. According to a CBS news report linking the buying and use of salvia to death, this might be changing in the near future. Some states are revising their laws in order to ban the buying and selling of salvia to completely keep it off store shelves. This might drive some teens to make purchases off illegal ways on the Internet. The goal the teenager has in mind is to always maintain their supply, which sometimes means they will go to great lengths to purchase salvia.

Salvia looks like tiny packets of seeds or herbs, and it often has a bland smell. One might buy just one packet of salvia that they intend to smoke or drink quite quickly. However, It can also be bought in bulk to save money. Parents who find packets of herbal substances might have the needed ammunition for an effective intervention.

Lingering Effects of a Salvia High

People who use salvia may feel an intense, out-of-body experience. They may:

  • See people who aren’t there
  • Hear voices
  • Become convinced that they will die
  • Believe that they are somehow invincible

It’s not uncommon for people under the influence of salvia to become injured. Teens who come back from a party with deep cuts, bruises, or lacerations might have taken the drug, or been near someone else that took the drug. These “sober sitters” can also be injured when those on salvia begin to hallucinate.

If you’ve discovered evidence of use and abuse and you need advice on holding an intervention with your teen, please contact us. We specialize in helping young people overcome substance use issues, and we’d be happy to help you determine the next step.