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Salvia: Legal Herb Hallucinogen Draws Teens, Critics

A head shop on Chicago's North Side advertises that it sells the hallucinogenic herb Salvia divinorum.
David Schaper, NPR
A head shop on Chicago's North Side advertises that it sells the hallucinogenic herb Salvia divinorum.

A powerful and legal hallucinogenic herb is gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults. Salvia divinorum is also raising concerns among parents and lawmakers across the country.

The herb, sometimes called "Magic Mint," "Ska Maria Pastora" or "Sally D," is widely available on the Internet and at some tobacco shops, head shops and stores selling herbal remedies. Critics say it is being marketed and sold misleadingly as producing a high; in fact, it induces an intense, dreamlike experience that can be unpleasant for first-time users. Two states have banned Salvia. Legislation to make it a controlled substance has failed twice in Congress.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.