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Richard Taite Headshot

Does Miley Cyrus' Latest Song Set a Bad Example?

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We get it, Miley Cyrus, you're all grown up now, with your avant-garde spiky platinum hair and barely-there clothes, but does that mean you have to glorify drug use in your lyrics for your new song "We Can't Stop"? A song about taking "molly," which is club-speak for ecstasy.

Our late teens and early twenties are a time when most all of us figure out who we are and what we like, and can involve experimentation with all sorts of items and activities, including alcohol and drugs for some. Here's my issue -- you are a highly paid star with a big audience of pre-teens and teenagers who are influenced by you. When you are in the spotlight with that gift of fame, you cannot be cavalier about partying and drug usage. What you do for yourself is private, though speaking as a father, I hope that you make only the best decisions for yourself, because life is fragile. But when you sing about fun times on drugs, you are publicly approving of drug use and experimentation to your young audience.

You feel invincible in your youth right now, but all you have to do is look around and read the headlines; you aren't a superhuman who can cheat drugs without consequences. Even if you aren't an addict, your do-what-I-please kind of perspective can cost other people their lives, people who watch your every move and want to be just like you.

The Disney Channel and the role of Hannah Montana made you a teen sensation, thrust into a national spotlight at an early age. You grew up in front of America with all your ups and downs being hot news items. You are now 20 years old and obviously figuring out who you are, but more importantly, what do you stand for?

Will you become the typical Hollywood child actor-gone-bad cliché, a caricature of what money and early fame does to someone not equipped to deal with any of it? You've already exhibited bad judgment in captured moments smoking Salvia in your underwear and touting your love of weed. Here's a rebellious thought -- with your great fortune, how about educating yourself at one of the world's finest schools? You can afford it, and an education is something you cannot lose, like your dignity, life and reputation.

Now you're proudly admitting that in the song "We Can't Stop" that your line "dancing with Miley" was really "dancing with Molly," a reference to the name given to MDMA, a club drug. You told the Daily Mail, "If you're aged ten [the lyric is] Miley. If you know what I'm talking about then you know. I just wanted it to be played on the radio and they've already had to edit it so much."

And if that wasn't clear enough, you said, "I don't think people have a hard time understanding that I've grown up. You can Google me and you know what I'm up to -- you know what the lyric is saying."

Partying when you're young is normal. I get it. You want to experiment and let loose and test the boundaries; but when you glamorize MDMA I have an issue. MDMA is a schedule 1 empathogenic drug. It is a popular stimulant at raves, all-night dance parties for those not in the know. It also can kill and has been linked to early dementia and memory loss. There have been instances where overdose has occurred (more often than you would think), with symptoms of high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, seizures and loss of consciousness. In rare cases, hyperthermia -- extreme high body temperature -- can happen, causing sometimes permanent damage to muscles and organs. "Molly" is not your friend.

So Miley, if you were my daughter, I would come down hard on you for casually endorsing the use of ecstasy with your young fan base. With an audience largely made up of 8- to 14-year-old girls who want to be you and live your life, you have a personal responsibility -- like it or not -- as a paid performer in the public eye, to be a role model to your fans. I don't want my daughter influenced by that type of garbage.

Let me be blunt -- you are too talented a girl to be involved in something like this. You can do better.

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Richard Taite is also co-author of the Amazon best-selling book Ending Addiction for Good.