Salvia banned at Hill Air Force Base

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- An alarming new trend, popular among many young Americans, has now been made illegal to all military members at Hill.

Salvia Divinorum, commonly called Salvia, is often advertised as a 'legal high' because it is not currently considered a controlled substance. It can be purchased legally over the Internet and in some commercial establishments.

Salvia is an herb in the mint family found in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico. The effects of Salvia include hallucinations, distortion of linear time, dizziness, lack of coordination and other psychological reactions.

"The scientific information on this drug is limited. Users can easily dose themselves at a higher level than they intend," said Lt. Col. (Dr.) James Bennion, 75th Medical Operations Squadron. "They can become physically active while experiencing powerful hallucinations that interfere with their connection to reality. They can be mentally impaired for hours after the hallucinogenic effects have worn off and forget things they said and did."

According to officials at Hill, Salvia use is not compatible with being on active duty and its rising popularity has caused concern for senior leaders across the base.

"The use of Salvia by a military member assigned to Hill has the potential to endanger the life of that individual as well as the life of other military members," said Maj. Gen. Kevin Sullivan, Ogden Air Logistics Center commander. "The use of Salvia could seriously undermine our mission and negatively impact our ability to support the war fighters we serve."

Since General Sullivan issued a policy letter on Jan. 8, single usage or possession of Salvia could result in the end of a military career. By disobeying the order, one is in violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Repercussions could include Personal Reliability Program decertification, revocation of security clearance, disciplinary action under the UCMJ and discharge from the U.S. Air Force for drug use, which carries a characterization of general or under other than honorable conditions.

"Military members are the gatekeepers to the United States' national security," said Tech. Sgt. Karen Phillips, 75th Air Base Wing legal office. "It only takes a single high to cost lives, ruin careers, destroy our mission and put our national security at risk. Hill leaders are being proactive and taking the necessary steps to prevent these outcomes by banning the use of Salvia."

For more information on the dangerous effects of using Salvia, contact Dr. Bennion at 777-4553. For questions concerning legal ramifications, contact the Legal Office at 777-6756.