Salvia Divinorum: US Military Bases in England, Okinawa Say No to Sally D

US Marine commanders in Okinawa and US Air Force commanders in England have moved this month to ban salvia divinorum, the fast-acting, short-lived hallucinogen that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although there is no general stricture against salvia in the US armed forces, the bans are the latest in a small but growing list of military bases or commands that have banned the substance.
salvia leaves
In Okinawa, Marine Corps Bases Japan issued an order banning salvia and other "legal highs" on September 10. The other substances included in the order were mitragyna speciosa korth, spice, blue lotus, convolvulaceae argyreia nervosa, lysergic acid amide, amanitas mushrooms, datura, absinthe, and 5-MEO-DMT. The order prohibits the use, possession, or distribution of those substances by Marine Corps personnel and base workers.

The new order builds on Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5300.28D, which prohibits abusing lawful substances, such as cough syrup, edge dressing and keyboard cleaner to produce "intoxication, excitement, or stupefaction of the central nervous system." Both the Navy order and Marine Corps Bases Japan order are general orders under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Violators face administrative action, court martial, or both, with a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, two years in the brig, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

The driving force behind the new order, officials stated, is to eliminate any uncertainty that substances used to "get high" are prohibited. They also cited fears that the drug use could alienate their Japanese hosts.

"Any substance abuse can affect individual and unit readiness," said John Velker, the director of the Marine Corps Community Services Substance Abuse Counseling Center, adding that people turn to drugs for various reasons. "There is a better way to live and deal with frustration than trying to get high."

Two days later, Col. Jay Silveria, commanding officer of the 48th Fighter Wing, based at Britain's RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell air bases, issued an order banning salvia and an herbal concoction known as Spice. Violators could be booted out of the Air Force or court-martialed.

"The presence of persons, in a military environment, who engage in drug abuse through the use of either salvia divinorum or Spice, seriously impairs the ability to accomplish the military's mission," Silveria wrote in the order. "Members who abuse drugs such as salvia divinorum or Spice adversely affect the ability of all units at the 48th Fighter Wing."

"This order spends a little time talking about these two products in an effort to warn people," said Air Force Lt. Col. John Hartsell, the staff judge advocate at RAF Lakenheath. "It's something we got to keep the airmen away from. "It is one of those things that has kind of come up in the United States and has begun to pop up randomly in Europe."

While the Department of Health and Human Services estimated in February that 1.8 million people, most of them young, had tried salvia divinorum, it doesn't appear to be a big problem with airmen in England. Hartsell said he was aware of only one incident involving a serviceman using salvia.

While salvia has been banned in some US states, it is not a controlled substance under federal law. But at least four US Air Force bases -- Malmstrom AFB in Montana, Hill AFB in Utah, Nellis AFB in Nevada, and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma -- have already banned it.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Salvia Divinorum

...Salvia 's a plant that produces a short lived halucination,and my no means is anything like pot,nor could it replace pot,and quite frankly isn't worth even taking,Through my extensive reading I found that in Mexico and Central America, that Salvia was at times used by the priests during sacrificial times giving them the ''power'' to cut out a living heart,where Marijuanna was later used to reverse those effects or generally relax the nerve -ridden priest...I personally wouldn't allow the use of Salvia in the milatary,having been in the milatary...pots totally different,I along w/alot others in Vietnam smoked plenty pot!..........salvias really no good for anything...could be dangerous!....Don

Different Strokes for Different Folks

RE: "and quite frankly isn't worth even taking" and "salvias really no good for anything...could be dangerous!"


I think it's important to remember that drugs affect people in similar ways to be be sure, but also differently in subtle, personal ways, and some gain insight or satisfaction where others find none. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion, but that's exactly it -- it's simply your opinion.

I agree with you that marijuana and salvia experiences are completely different...they are two different drugs with different active ingredients, but I think that what military personnel do on their own time is up to them as long as it doesn't affect their performance on the job (and even if drug use did affect their performance, they shouldn't be disciplined differently than others with different root causes of their infractions or underachieving).

Salvia is not a drug for everyone, and it's not something many people choose to experience more than once, but stating that it's "no good for anything" is in my opinion naïve and disrespectful of those who have experienced the more positive side of salvia. I invite other readers who've had more positive experiences to join in...

- Richard

you fascist

Who are you to decide what is dangerous and what is acceptable? Salvia has uses but apparently you are not aware of any of them. Your ignorance is disgusting. You are no better than those morons commanding the US military bases. Read before you speak.

RE: you fascist

"You are no better than those morons commanding the US military bases."

Ever try to run a military base? Ever try running anything besides your mouth? LOL... In okinawa, people do smoke spice gold, but only illegally. And Im afraid you are misrepresented... they are not liberal, not free minded, not enlightened! they are gangsta wannabes who rob cab drivers for spare change so they can purchase the substance at $200 for a three ounce bag! 200 dollars for a plant? must be great stuff, right? no, its the only stuff available! so people buy it at a rapid rate when they are bored. Looking over the statements made by service members who purhcased SD, they didnt acquire it for its "uses" or benefits. They bought it because the new the adverse effects it had on the psychi... and becuase they knew it to be wrong. They are 18-20 year old kids. That is who you are defending when you try to bash the generals here on okinawa. There are no peace loving hippies or open minded professors smoking it here. Maybe you should read your facts.... Okinawa Spice users are the morons, and dont worry, we ship them back home to work at your fast food restraunts. Want some frys with that, duh....


Salvia is the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen known, even more so than LSD. Why it continues to be legal is really the mystery here. Salvia affects the one part of the brain that controls schizophrenia, drug abuse and depression. Why even mess with it? No one, NO ONE, knows the long term effects of continual or even occasional use.

The first study on humans was just completed and in that initial study they found it causes depression. Do we need one more thing in this crazy world to make us feel depressed. I doubt it.

The DEA and FDA need to get on the bandwagon and regulate it now. 10 years from now they'll be looking back kicking themselves for not being proactive.

Get Your Bullshit Straight

Salvia is not stronger than LSD, LSD is not a naturally-occuring substance, and there has not been any study concluding that SD causes depression in humans. Please post a link to the study you referenced or I will continue to assume you are a liar. To the contrary, hundreds of users suggest that infrequent use of SD depletes depression. Also, in case you were wondering, SD is not addictive, and I will post a link from a reliable source: Daniel Siebert (he has studied the pharmacological effects of SD for the past 15 years).

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