Ryan Santanna dies from Salvia
Type of spiritual experienceHallucination
A description of the experience
We must outlaw salvia, says father of student who jumped to his death after smoking drug By Daily Mail Reporter Updated: 23:11, 8 March 2011
A film student who died when he fell from a balcony in New York had been smoking the hallucinogenic salvia.
Ryan Santanna, 21, was on his 15th floor bedroom balcony on Roosevelt Island on Sunday with ex-girlfriend Benazir Balani smoking the substance, which is legal in New York.
Now his father is calling for it to be made illegal.
Vowing to fight: Lauro Santanna, pictured holding a photo of his son Ryan who died Sunday, says he wants to campaign to make the drug salvia illegal
He said: 'I would like to have it illegalised because of the effect it causes and the loss of life.
'I'll do everything in my power to get this thing out of the market.
'They say, "We can't do anything until something happens." Well, something happened. It cannot be legal any more,' he said.
Miss Balani, 20, said that after he had been smoking, Ryan lay down on his stomach and pretended to swim like an animal.
'He stared at me but it was like he wasn't seeing me,' she said. 'It was just a blank stare.'
Then he jumped. 'He just ran and hopped over the fence,' said Balani, of Queens. 'He had no idea who he was, what he was doing.'
Salvia, a member of the mint family that provides a quick, potent high, came to the public's attention in December when Miley Cyrus was caught smoking it on video.
But, as Mr Santanna points out, just because it's legal doesn't mean it's not dangerous.
United in grief: Ryan's sister Carolyn is comforted by her aunt Connie Santana
'Like my son, I think a lot of people don't understand what this is,' he said. 'Sometimes the only way to stop people is to make them afraid. I want people to be afraid of this stuff.'
Rolled into papers and smoked like a cigarette, chewed, or inhaled from a pipe or bong, salvia has been described as being like a mix of marijuana and LSD.
The strong hallucinogen is fast acting with the effects being felt in less than 30 seconds, and usually lasting for only about ten to 15 minutes.