Parents need to be very afraid of the hallucinogenic herb known as salvia divinorum, but not because it is a hallucinogenic drug and its long-term effects are unknown. Parents need to be afraid of salvia divinorum (normally referred to as salvia) because Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. “Hannah Montana”) has become the poster child for the recreational use of the herb and her Pied Piper-esque effect on today’s youth might lead them to make the irresponsible decision to try a substance that could potentially harm them. It is her celebrity status, coupled with her massive fan base, that we are assured will lead to millions of her followers and fans to experiment with, use, and progress beyond to harder and more deadly herbs and drugs. In short, according to experts and specialists on shows and websites like Radar Online, Cyrus’ ill-advised usage of salvia, which was recently captured on video, will potentially lead to a spike in the abuse of the herb by millions of young people.
Just like there was a spike in teenage drinking just after TMZ posted the photo of Miley Cyrus with a beer in her hand in Spain before she turned 18 years old.
Just like there was a spike in underage girls posting pictures of themselves in their underwear on MySpace right after Miley Cyrus posted photos of herself in nothing but her underwear.
Just like there was a spike in teens, tweens, and pre-teens buying her albums when they were released because they saw her in a video telling them to buy her albums… Well, okay, the latter might have happened…
Everything preceding this paragraph is facetious, hyperbolic sensationalism. The point is: A video of Cyrus taking a hit off of a salvia-loaded bong is not an excuse for parents to abdicate their responsibilities. Nor is it a teen go-to excuse — that Miley Cyrus’ smoking salvia made them curious — for teens who actually smoke salvia. Since when did videos of marginally talented pop stars become excuses and stop being cautionary tales? Since when did a video become a substitute for responsible parenting, guidance, and responsible decision-making (on everyone’s part)?
But there are always those willing to place blame somewhere other than with the engaged individuals. Radar Online quotes Clare Kavin, a registered addiction specialist:
“It [salvia] is a gateway drug in a higher stand than marijuana because it makes you lose touch with reality,” she said. She also observes that Miley Cyrus “has been more and more choosing the wrong path” and that hers seems to be an escalation of the teen’s bad behavior.
All of this may be true, but it is judgmentalism at its best, from Cyrus’ behavior to salvia being a gateway drug. Just because a substance induces hallucinations does not make it a “gateway drug.” And how are we really to know — except through what we read or hear via the media — that Miley Cyrus’ behavior really is bad? Perhaps the only seemingly bad things she has ever done are those things that everyone seems to know about — which really isn’t all that terrible on the grand scale of things.
“[Salvia] is not a well-known drug but now because of that video, you will have teens looking for it,” Kavin told Radar Online. “She needs to talk about her behavior and educate kids that she has put in jeopardy by this bad example.”
Although it might be good advice for Cyrus to “talk about her behavior,” and it might be helpful if she agreed to “educate kids” about drug use and/or abuse, there was really no reason to extrapolate from a bong-hit video that the young celebrity put anyone “in jeopardy,” as the quote suggests.
It seems that every time Miley Cyrus has done something objectionable, there has been some sociologist or psychiatrist on some talk show or on an Internet website holding forth on the social impact of what she has done and how it will lead to some devastating social trend by her fans, who are predominantly her age and younger. It is her position as a role model — and how her impressionable fans and followers might want to and attempt to emulate her — that causes the concern.
Although the concern for potential drug usage and abuse is valid, it is also a misapplication of fear in this case. Simply put, the reasons behind a pre-teen, tween, or teen (or even an adult) indulging in some form of drug use or abuse does not begin with a video of Cyrus taking a bong hit of salvia and how it might cause others to do the same (or worse). It begins with unmet needs and ignorance, depression and dislocation, neglect and ridicule, and the need for escape from pressures and hurts and indignities.
Scapegoating Cyrus for a few of society’s ills will not help those who are looking for something outside their regular experience to fill some need. It will not help parents administer their responsibilities or help their children.
Still, this in no way excuses Miley Cyrus’ act. It was irresponsible, self-serving, indulgent, and gratuitous. Her allowing a friend to videotape it was the height of exhibitionistic narcissism. It speaks to issues that Miley Cyrus will most likely need to address sometime in her life.
But Cyrus is and will not be the reason why impressionable young people (and a few adults) do things (including the smoking of salvia). The myriad reasons why will always lie within the individuals themselves. Talking to one’s children is usually a good place to begin finding out why they might want to emulate something Miley Cyrus (or any other celebrity) is doing or has done.
It isn’t the trigger on the gun that causes so much damage.
“Drug Miley Cyrus Was Smoking Has Same Effects As LSD,” RadarOnline.com