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Rising prevalence of salvia use in US raises concern among officials
Posted in Addiction

Salvia is a drug that is gradually gaining prevalence in the United States. Although the drug is legal in the country and used for medical purposes, several reports have suggested people using it as a safer alternative for illicit drugs. This has raised concerns among the federal authorities, already struggling to curb the swelling opioid epidemic.

Salvia is fairly new compared to other harmful/addictive drugs rampantly used in the U.S. Consequently, there are very few studies and reports to highlight the dangers of the drug. Although no reported deaths have been attributed to salvia overdose, incidence of people succumbing to smoking the drug multiple times a week for several months did surface in a few states. Hence, with the rise in the number of salvia users, federal agencies fear the drug will add to the burden of the opioid crisis.

What is salvia?

Salvia divinorum, popularly known as salvia, belongs to the mint and sage family. A psychoactive plant indigenous to the forests of Oaxaca, Mexico, it is identified as one of the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogens. According to studies, the psychoactive effect in the plant is produced by the presence of the active ingredient salvinorin A. People consuming the drug may experience effects ranging from altered perceptions, distorted reality, visual and auditory hallucinations, a loss of control over body movements to anxiety.

Since the drug is mostly available in the form of seeds or leaves, sucking and chewing the fresh leaves or crushing the leaves to make a drink are the traditional ways to consume it. However, with the availability of a liquid extract purported to contain salvinorin A or a combination of dried leaves and extracts of salvinorin A, known as the fresh-man selection, people inhale the vaporized version also. Besides this, many users also smoke the dried leaves, which produces a short but intense hallucination similar to the one produced by lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or acid.

Prevalence of salvia in US

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 1.4 million people in the U.S., aged 12 and older, were current users of hallucinogens, including salvia. Past studies have shown the use of the drug to be more common among young adults aged 18-25 years and in individuals who were involved in risk-taking behaviours like abusing illicit drugs or other hallucinogens like ecstasy.

As per the Monitoring the Future Survey of 2017 published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 0.9 percent grade 10 students and 1.5 percent grade 12 students currently use salvia. Further, people struggling with mental disorders like depression and anxiety also use the drug to deal with the symptoms.

Dealing with salvia misuse

With lack of studies and research, it is hard to comprehend the complete addictive nature of salvia. However, experts have suggested that signs like increased drug dependency, frequent cravings and urges, considerable changes in physical health, lack of energy and motivation, symptoms of depression or anxiety and experiencing withdrawal symptoms as potential indicators of salvia addiction.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of dependence on salvia, it is important to seek treatment for salvia addiction. Get in touch with Sovereign Health of Texas to know about the best salvia addiction treatment suitable for you. Call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our admissions counselor to know more about our state-of-the-art treatment center for salvia addiction.

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