With a few drops of a liquid hallucinogen under his tongue and the smell of incense in the air, Texas resident Frank Ramirez says he can transport himself to a different world. Eyes shut and legs crossed, he first feels warm and flushed. Then the rush of the drug swirls into his head and, Ramirez says, he becomes “one with the room,” able to see and talk with long-deceased relatives.

“Sometimes I cry or laugh,” Ramirez says. “It’s a spiritual trip. A brief glimpse into a beautiful world we don’t even know yet.”

clicktrip-originalRamirez is on drugs, but as a resident of Texas he is breaking no laws. He has been ingesting Salvia divinorum, a once-obscure member of the mint family that ascetic Central American shamans have used for centuries. Now the herb is as easy to buy on the Internet as a best-seller, and it is celebrated in countless YouTube videos starring dazed and confused-looking high school and college-age kids. Traffic to sites that sell salvia and other drugs is increasing.

When it comes to buying powerful mood-altering drugs online, salvia is just the tip of the iceberg. At a time when authorities are cracking down on illegal sale of steroids and prescription drugs online, substances such as kratom and Mexican prickly poppy, which pack a psychedelic and narcotic-like punch, are flourishing on the Internet. Authorities are beginning to take note.

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