As people try to make sense of why Jared Loughner went on a shooting rampage January 8, killing 6 and injuring 14 including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, some have suggested that his use of the drug salvia may be to blame.
“He would say he was using it and he would talk about it and say what [it] would do to him and I was like, ‘Dude that’s screwed up,'” ax friend Jared Osler said.
While people that use the drug experience a high that usually only lasts 1-30 minutes, there are reports of severe mental breakdown caused by salvia.
Peter Przekop, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California told the San Francisco Sentinal of a case he was involved in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had a case of a male who came in, 23 years old, and was actively psychotic. The only thing we could attach it to was the night before, he had smoked the XXX [high-strength] salvia.” Przekop said “We stabilized him, put him on medication, transferred him to the psych department. When we tried to gradually wean him off antipsychotics, the symptoms returned. This was permanent psychosis we suspect was brought on by this drug.Ã¢â‚¬Â
We posted a video here several days ago that shows a guy trying salvia for the first time. He seemed to lose all sense of reality.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the most behaviorally impairing drugs that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come across,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Matthew Johnson, assistant professor of psychology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the higher doses, people are completely dissociated from this realityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ They describe being completely transported to another dimension.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Danial Sebert, a pharmaceutical expert who grows, sells and uses the herb says it can be a “scary” experience, but when used properly the drug will give you insight.
“It’s beneficial as a tool for introspection,” Sebert says. “Sometimes I’ve taken salvia when I’ve had a difficult life situation dealing with a relationship problem, where I was uncertain what to do. And I’ve taken salvia and suddenly it’s just like totally clear like why didn’t I see this before?”
While people like Sebert may find salvia to be a helpful tool to help figure out life’s problem’s, it’s possible it may have lead one man to murder 6 innocent people.
“The salvia did have a huge play in his mental psyche and the things that he thought, the side effect, the long term effects.” says Osler