Drug abuse is a problem that affects every part of this country and every type of person. It does not matter where you are from, your family, race, religion, or socioeconomic background drug abuse common. A recent problem facing America’s youth is the rise in ‘legal’ psychoactive drug use and abuse. Synthetic drug abuse is becoming a common past time for teenagers. The drugs are bought and sold easily via the internet and various tobacco shops. Gas stations are another source for these highly dangerous drugs. Salvia is one of many ‘legal’ psychoactive drugs.


Salvia divinorum is a plant in the mint family, which grows in the Sierra Mazateco region of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a sage plant, but not like the one found in a garden. This drug is used by the locals of the Mazateco region by shamans to induce hallucinations. The drug is also used by locals for an herbal remedy for anemia, headache, rheumatism, diarrhea, and water retention. The active ingredient of the drug is salvinorin, which is an entheogen or psychoactive chemical. The chemical is found in the leaf of the plant and requires about 200 to 600 micrograms to cause the altered state of consciousness or ‘high’. Salvia is speculated to cause hallucinations by only working on the kappa opioid receptors in the central nervous system. For this reason, many professionals do not believe salvia to be addicting. In contrast, opioids like heroin or morphine work on the nu, kappa, and delta opioid receptors and LSD and PCP work on more than 50 different opioid receptors; which is why they are addicting. It is widely accepted that addiction is not simply the cause of a drugs effect on the brain, but rather a plethora of issues.

Medical Uses of Salvia

Salvia has only been around in the United States and Europe for a few decades. It has not been properly experimented with or studied to create concrete purposes for its use. Although, scientists are speculating the possibilities the drug can create. Some believe the drug to have benefits in treatment of pain, depression and substance abuse. Others believe the drug could help treat depression and schizophrenia. The effects of salvia are similar to late stages of Alzheimer’s and could help establish a cure. Some believe the drug can help chronic pain or addiction to cocaine.

Use of Salvia

Salvia comes in packages of shredded dried leaves. It can be taken orally like chewing tobacco, which delivers the chemicals the most efficiently. Most commonly the drug is used by inhaling it through water pipes or bongs. It can be made into a drink like tea or purchased in liquid form.

Effects of Salvia

Most individuals who use salvia experience an intense, but short feeling high. They experience what is called synesthesia, which is described as hearing colors and smelling sounds. Hallucinations, trances, visual distortions and out-of-body experiences are common effects of salvia. Sober observations show an individual acting ’silly’, uncoordinated, and have slurred speech. There are thousands of videos posted on the internet of salvia users.

Synthetic Drugs

Salvia is a hallucinogenic drug, but is coming placed alongside other drugs like synthetics. Synthetic drugs are a variety of drugs that are made non-naturally. Here are common synthetics that are often compared to salvia because they are substitutes for marijuana because they are considered ‘legal’.


Spice or K2, among many other names, is a synthetic drug labeled as a safe and legal substitute for marijuana.  It is usually label as a safe, natural psycho-active material taken from plants.  Although, as previously stated, it is simply dried and grounded plant material that has been sprayed with dangers chemicals, synthetics. This drug was free to be purchased at gas stations, head shops, or via the internet.  The DEA has created restrictions on the production, sale, and consumption of these synthetics, but produces are quit to change the formula in order to bypass the law. The effects of spice or K2 are as follows: rapid heart rate, vomiting, confusion, agitation, and hallucinations. Spice can cause harmful heart problems and there are metal residues within the chemicals whose effects are unknown.

Bath Salts

Bath salts are taken orally, inhaled, or injected; the worst effects come from snorting or injection with a needle.  Bath salts are a type of drug that is increasing in popularity, containing one or more of the synthetic chemical cathonine found in the Khat plant. The drug comes in small, colored packets; the drug is brown or white crystallized powder.  The labels say ‘not for human consumption’, sometimes marked as ‘plant food’, ‘jewelry or phone screen cleaner’.  The brand names are: “ivory Wayne”, “bloom”, “cloud 9”, “lunar wave”, “vanilla sky”, “white lightening”, and “scarface”; these drugs are sold online or in drug paraphernalia stores. Synthetic cathonines in bath salts can give the effect of euphoria and increase social ability and sex drive, but other experience intense paranoia, agitation, and hallucinogenic delirium.  Increased medical incidents have been linked to bath salts, cardiac problems and intense, violent paranoia have been the recorded results. Usage of bath salts has created dehydration, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure; the drug has been fatal in several reported users.


Krododil is a very dangerous drug, which has yet to make its mark on the United States.  Yet, recently there have been two reported cases in the country causes a bit of a stir in media outlets.  This might seem like an over-reaction or a reaching media network, but after reviewing the effects it has had in other countries (Russia) the warnings are warranted. Krokodil or desomorphine was developed in Russia as a homemade substitute for heroin, which is less expensive.  Krokodil sets in faster than heroine at a tenth of the cost, frequently cooked at home with codeine, paint thinner, and match heads.  Like other synthetics it is very easy to access, which makes it so popular.  The one of its major dangers is that its cooking process does not remove any of its impurities.  Thus, the user injects all of the harmful toxins resulting in dangerous disease.  Scaly, green patches, gangrene, hemorrhaging of the arteries, and necrosis of tissue that can get so bad the rotting flesh can erode to the point that bare bone is visible. The drug high lasts roughly two hours, the effects of the drug and with a withdrawal that requires sedation and an extended stay in a hospital.  The life expectancy of a krokodil user is approximately two years.

Signs and Symptoms of Use

The signals and symptoms of synthetic drug abuse are: seizures, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, homicidal tendencies, delusions, over stimulation, aggression, paranoia, chest pain, heart attack, death, overheating-tearing off clothes, self-destructive action-hitting wall with body or head, restlessness, inability to speak, and/or heart palpitations. Drug tests only test and detect few chemicals found in synthetics; therefore they are not very reliable. Salvia and other synthetic substitutes for marijuana are incredibly dangerous. They should be avoided at all costs and made completely illegal. Anyone that is using or suspected of using these drugs should contact a professional.