Police concerned about hallucinogenic herb

February 6, 2007

New Paltz – The New Paltz Police Department Monday issued a warning to parents to beware of an herb that has reached the area that young adults are abusing for its hallucinogenic effects. The herb, “Salvia Divinorum,” with street names of Salvia, Diviner’s Sage and Sister Salvia is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of Mexico.

There has been recent interest, especially with the advent of the internet, among young adults and adolescents to utilize Salvia, by chewing it or smoking it, for its hallucinogenic, psychological and change in perception effects. The herb, available in two Main Street shops in New Paltz is sold either as a green leaf or in a more pure extract version marketed as “Purple Sticky Salvia.” A New Paltz Police Detective purchased the herb in both stores with one store owner telling the police department that although there are no legal requirements, they only sell the herb to those over the age of 21.

Police are reminding parents to be ever vigilant when it comes to these questionable “herbs” and other supplements that are available for retail sale and over the internet, said police officials. Although they might be legal at this time, they can often create a hallucinogenic state for the user which may place him or her at risk. Experimentation with these “legal” herbs is sometimes the introduction and stepping stone into the illegal drug world, the authorities said. “The bottom line is the safety and welfare of our population. Just because something is for sale in a store or over the internet does not necessarily mean it is safe,” said New Paltz Police Chief Raymond Zappone.