Arizona Shooting Suspect Reportedly Used Hallucinogenic Herb, Salvia

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Salvia plants in Huautla de Juarez, Mexico. (AP)
Salvia plants in Huautla de Juarez, Mexico. (AP)

Jared Loughner, charged with the rampage of shootings in Tucson, Arizona, was reportedly a frequent user of a substance called salvia divinorum, a legal, but hallucinogenic herb that can closely mimic psychosis, according to federal drug officials.

It's unclear if salvia had any role in Loughner's apparent mental unraveling, but the shootings have once again drawn attention to the herb. We revisit a conversation we had with Dr. John Mendelson, a pharmacologist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute who studies salvia and explains how the herb works.

This segment aired on January 18, 2011.


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