Salvia Divinorum - Controversy - Media Coverage

Media Coverage

Interest in Salvia divinorum has been escalating in the news media, particularly in the United States, where an increasing number of newspaper reports have been published and television news stories broadcast.

These stories generally raise alarms over salvia's legal status. Headlining for example with comparisons to LSD, or describing it as "the new pot" for instance, with parental concerns being raised by particular focus on salvia's use by younger teens.

Story headlines may also include 'danger' keywords, such as "Dangerous Herb is Legal..." or "Deadly Dangers Of A Street Legal High".

Mainstream news coverage and journalistic opinion has widely been negative on the subject. In a local news report aired on ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington, DC on July 11, 2007, the anchors are seen to exchange expressions of incredulity when referring to a salvia story with the following introduction "Now, an exclusive I-Team investigation of a hallucinogenic drug that has begun to sweep the nation. What might amaze you is that right now the federal government is doing nothing to stop it".

In March 2008 a Texas news report aired with the story "A legal drug that teenagers are now using to get high could soon be banned here in San Antonio - all because of a Fox News 4 investigation", going on to say, "The drug is legal in Texas, at least for now. But a News 4 investigation could lead to a new ordinance to protect your kids."

Many salvia media stories headline with comparisons to LSD. However, while LSD and salvia's active constituent salvinorin A may have comparative potencies, in the sense that both can produce their effects with low dosage amounts, they are otherwise quite different. The two substances are not chemically similar or related, as salvinorin A is found naturally in a single plant while LSD is chemically semisynthesized from lysergamides like ergotamine. They are ingested in different ways and produce different effects, which manifest themselves over different timescales. For example, the effects of salvia when smoked typically last for only a few minutes as compared to LSD, whose effects can persist for 8–12 hours.

Read more about this topic:  Salvia Divinorum, Controversy

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