The state Senate in Albany overwhelmingly approved a proposal to ban hallucinogenic herb salvia Monday afternoon, in a movement led by Suffolk County Sen. John Flanagan.
“I want to educate parents and the community to the dangers of salvia,” Flanagan told Metro. “I don’t want to be an alarmist but when kids start getting involved with low-level drugs like this it can lead to harder drugs like heroin.”
The next step is to get the bill passed by the Assembly, said Flanagan.
The herb is known to induce illusions and hallucinations when smoked or chewed and is widely available on the Internet and in stores. Its popularity increased in December when a video surfaced of Miley Cyrus inhaling the herb.
“There is a big demand for salvia,” said Austin Pratt, manager of Addiction Tattoo Parlor on St. Mark’s Place, which sells the herb. “The prices range from $20 to $100. We always tell people ‘Don’t smoke it on the streets. Smoke it in a safe place.’”
A few weeks ago a young man died when he jumped off a balcony in Roosevelt Island after smoking the drug.
Those who have tried salvia said the drug can produce giddiness and lightheadedness. The powerful effects have been compared to LSD.
Salvia: What it feels like
“When I smoked it, it made me feel mellow,” said a New York City security guard who declined to give his name. “It made things go in slow motion. It was fun. I just didn’t like the taste of it; it tasted like incense. Everyone at my job smokes it. We usually smoke it in our boss’s van after work.”