Salvia divinorum making its way around Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Salvia divinorum making its way around Guam

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Guam has seen its fair share of illegal drugs coming into the island. While efforts are underway to deter these drugs from being distributed out into the community, concerns have been raised on other drugs that may be harmful effects, but are considered legal. One lawmaker is hoping to ban Salvia divinorum, which is currently being sold over-the-counter.

The substance is making its rounds throughout the island. Cause for concern is that people using it are abusing it. The substance is fairly easy to obtain. In fact, KUAM News walked into an adult novelty shop, where we were told the substance can either be purchased in a clear packet or can even be found in a bottle.  "It's not illegal to buy and right now, it's not illegal to use," noted Senator Frank Blas, Jr. (R).

According to the senator, Salvia divinorum is an herbal substance that people find to be an alternative to marijuana. The substance has since been a growing international concern. "Throughout the nation, there have been state legislatures that have taken on this issue and have taken steps to prohibit the use of it. Right now, it is sold and it is a legal product, sold over-the-counter as incense. Some individuals have decided they wanted to use it other than for incense. There are many places within Europe that have made it prohibitive, as well," he explained.

Blas introduced Bill 396-30, which is an act making it illegal to possess the substance. Individuals who abuse the drug generally experience hallucinations, as well as feel changes in visual perception, mood, and body sensations. Unlike marijuana, Salvia is sold OTC.  "Some individuals have found it to be an alternative to marijuana because of its euphoric and hallucinogenic effects," Sen. Blas continued, "but it does not have the same chemicals that marijuana has that produces chemicals are found and deemed to be more dangerous."

Blas says he's received phone calls from constituents voicing concerns about the issue. The problem, he says, is that schoolchildren are getting their hands on it. Blas says the difficult part about making the substance illegal is that it may be hard to detect whether an individual has been using it. 

"The next discussion is on how we'll be able to enforce this. One of the things I found is that the compounds within this substance cannot be detected by traditional drug tests, so an individual may be displaying this signs but if you're subjective to any drug test not specifically to these substances, you won't find it," he said.

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