Magic Mint, The Internet, and Peer Associations: A Test of Social Learning Theory using Patterns of Salvia divinorum Use.

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As new drugs are introduced into the market, it becomes the role of policy makers to assess the dangers associated with each drug and its potential to be misused by the populace. The focus of this research is to better understand how young adults learn about a new drug and subsequently engage in its use. Salvia divinorum is a plant species whose leaves contain psychoactive components. Its recreational use among teenagers and young adults has received increased media and policy attention. Several states have taken the initiative to ban this substance. Despite this legal action, little is known about why this substance has gained in popularity and what factors contribute to its use. Akers’ social learning theory offers one explanation for why individuals experiment with drugs. We employ a sample of college students from a large public university to test Akers’ propositions, finding support for his theory.