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Could Addiction Help Have Prevented the Tucson Disaster?

It is not unusual to look at killing sprees and find drugs somewhere in the background. Often, the drugs in question are ‘psychiatric’ drugs – you never know what’s going to happen when people are taking them or when they try to get off them. In the case of the horrible scene in Tucson, where Gabrielle Gifford and 16 others were shot and several killed, the drug in question was also a legal drug, although not a pharmaceutical. The shooter, Jared Loughner, had a history of taking drugs. Would addiction help have prevented this disaster?

Loughner is only 22 years old. He was experimenting with drugs in his teens. The usual – marijuana – but also hallucinogenic mushrooms and an herb known as salvia divinorum, the effects of which mimic psychosis.

There’s no question that Loughner’s actions on that fateful day in Tucson were psychotic.

Salvia divinorum, also known as Salvia, is not illegal – although that is likely to change in the near future now that this killing spree has called attention to it. No one really knows how long it was since Loughner last smoked the drug, but reports say that he took quite a lot of it in the past and, as with other hallucinogens, the effects can last a long time – years – and you never really know when the person will ‘re-live’ them.

If you know of anyone who is using Salvia, or hear the word being tossed around with your teenage kids, make them aware of the potential effects and, if they have been taking drugs of other sorts, get them through a good drug rehab program. A good program will help get the drugs out of their system to help prevent re-living the experience in the future as well as addressing their reasons for taking drugs.

We would like to hear from readers who have experience with Salvia.

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