Last week WECT News' Kelli O'Hara reported on a growing problem with an herb called salvia.
Teenagers have started to buy the substance at health food stores because it has the side effect of causing an LSD-like high.
As our report indicated, the drug is legally available in Wilmington, and stores are selling a lot of it. There were many discussions by our news managers about whether or not we should air the story.
Here was our dilemma. By reporting the issue, we would be raising the awareness of parents and lawmakers to one of the latest, and potentially dangerous trends by teenagers. But, at the same time, some youth might be learning about this new high for the first time.
It's one of those difficult decisions journalists face, could we be doing more harm than good? In the end we decided to air the report. Largely because as much as we would like to have young viewers, the fact is that most teenagers do not watch the news.
Our decision to broadcast the report was done with the hopes that it would reach their parents. Many of you have told us that you didn't agree with our decision.
Maybe this will change your mind. The next day we did a follow-up report and discovered that most state lawmakers, including the attorney general and several state legislators had never heard of salvia.
This is important because only five states have banned the substance.
Now that they are aware, our hope is that they will act and North Carolina will become the 6th state to ban it.
There is no reason this herb should be legal and if calling attention to it means the state will ultimately ban it, then our decision to run the report was the right one.
In the meantime, parents of teenagers are now aware of another potential danger to their children.