Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Banning Salvia: The next stupid salvo in the War on (Some) Drugs

As thinking people on all sides of the political spectrum increasingly come to the conclusion that the War on (Some) Drugs is a failure in many ways, the US government is trying to ban yet another "drug."

Forget that the brief duration and otherwordly wierdness of salvia's effects would seem to indicate that it isn't a drug of abuse. Forget that paternalistic shit like prohibition has no place in a free society of consenting adults, particularly one which holds its "free market" up to such vociferous acclaim. Forget even that the the US actively subsidizes the production of the most noxious, harmful drug on the market - nicotine.

What really galls me is that this move to ratchet up social control and police state tactics is done by the same folks who allow dangerous, expensive prescription drugs to flood the market with little or no testing. People who lose sleep at night over drug pushers see no problem with having these pharmaceuticals advertised every 5 minutes on TV and on every other page of major magazines. That's probably because the kickbacks they get from the drug companies are a lot bigger than those they get from various drug cartels; it also helps their money laundering if they keep that black market going.

Again, the truth is clear if you want to see it. Drug prohibition is about control, pure and simple. Locking up a disproportionate amount of young black men and getting huge financial perks for maintaining black markets are perks. So let's start to call it what it is.

clipped from
Though research is young and little is known about long-term effects, there are no studies suggesting that salvia is addictive or its users prone to overdose or abuse. Indeed, a salvia experience can be so intense, and at times so unsettling, that many try it just once, and even devotees use it sparingly.
Reports of salvia-related emergency room admissions are virtually nonexistent, likely because its effects typically vanish in just a few minutes.
Mr. Anderson argued that by not banning salvia, governments were communicating that it is benign. He noted that Internet purveyors advise that salvia should be used only with a “sober sitter,” and said its legal status might encourage experimentation among some who would never consider a back-alley drug deal.
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