Despite repeated attempts by over-zealous politicians and law makers to ban it completely from the US, Salvia remains as popular as ever. An estimated 1.8 million people aged 12 and over have tried Salvia at least once, and 750,000 of those were in the past year. The largest demographic to give Salvia a whirl are males between the ages of 18 and 25.

Salvia appears to be relatively harmless. While there have been no fatalities in which Salvia has been shown to be the cause, the tragic suicide of a teenager in Delaware was said to have contributed to his state of mind at the time of the death.

There is no age restriction at all on Salvia and experts are concerned — whatever the long- or short-term effects of the drug — that younger people cannot handle the hallucinogenic experience in the same way that an adult could.

A Worcester County commissioner called Linda Busick is trying to drum up support for a ban on the drug. It is, she says, a dangerous substance that really does need to be banned before the world implodes. Or something alarmist like that. It’s clear that she knows more about the good and bad side effects of Salvia than do the good scientists who have been studying it for around 50 years or so:

It’s certainly detrimental to anyone who uses it. I don’t know of any beneficial effects that it has. It’s a psychedelic drug, and it’s dangerous, and I’m totally against anybody who sells it

Salvia merchants disagree (predictably) but even they are of the opinion that younger people should not be using the substance. He says that he is a responsible retailer that could make three times as much as he does if he sold to teenagers. He won’t, stating that his self regulation policy is strict so that kids don’t ‘lose control’.

There are a lot of very passionate people with vehement views on Salvia. Nobody really knows if it is bad, though, and certainly it is the case that Alcohol and Tobacco constitute a much greater problem for the police and for society in general.