Study: The ‘ gateway drug ’ is alcohol, not marijuana

Study: The ‘ gateway drug ’ is alcohol, not marijuana

Study: The ‘ gateway drug ’ is alcohol, not marijuana

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Study: The ‘ gateway drug ’ is alcohol, not marijuana

A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate, but shifts the blame for escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.

“By delaying the onset of alcohol initiation, rates of both licit substance abuse like tobacco and illicit substance use like marijuana and other drugs will be positively affected, and they’ll hopefully go down,” study co-author Adam E. Barry, an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Health Education & Behavior, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview.

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  1. Chad Jeanes says

    Ehhh, I would call that a bit skewed. If you use alcohol in high school, then you demonstrate that you are predisposed towards rebellion and usage of substance that are "forbidden." If anything, it seems that this demonstrates that people with the personality type to drink underage are also inclined to use other addictive/illegal products, not necessarily that alcohol CAUSED those effects.

    Correlation does not equal causation.

  2. Davey Jones says

    Alcohol is a powerfully deceptive, destructive and unfortunately accepted drug.Ruins many lives and families.

  3. Chad Jeanes says

    Alcohol doesn't ruin lives or families. Weak willed people that refuse to take accountability for their actions ruin lives and families, and then point the finger at somethings/someone else because they shirk responsibility.

  4. Nicolas Edwards says

    Agreed Chad, People who like altered states of mind are exactly that, people who like altered states of mind. Now how they handle themselves and their overall lives is where the negativity of society comes in. BUT that is a completely different story.

  5. Matt Davey says

    Alcohol does ruin lives. Drugs and behavior was my area of study through under grad and grad school. I is really more dependent on genetics than will for susceptibility to addiction than how strong willed the person is. Which is a statistically proven fact like the one shown here.

  6. Lord-Alveric Mitchell says

    Correlation does not determine causation. Too many times the assumptions are made without any follow-up studies to determine actual causation.

    I was rebellious in school. I learned advanced science and mathematics and used to torture the teachers when they were wrong. :p

    Some people are simply predisposed to using drugs. That predisposition should be understood, and this dangerous notion of a "gateway drug" should be put to bed. Millions use alcohol without progressing on to more illicit drugs. Millions smoke pot without progressing onto Cocaine, etc.

    A few have deeper issues and you need to address the individuals, not the drugs.

  7. says

    This is a very poor report. It does not say whether the research looked at possible confounding factors. If not, the correlation may be real, but the cause of hard drug usage may not be alcohol. It's easy to think of a few other potential causes that would result in both, earlier alcohol use and hard drug use. I'd say, at best, this work identifies a need for real research, but somehow we knew this already.

  8. Ryan Reeder says

    Chad Jeanes Not a single good thing has ever come from the use of alcohol and ever will. It is an addictive poison that amplifies aggression and depression. And what bad comes from cannabis that has zero physically addictive properties, makes you everything but aggressive and depressed and makes you live on average two years longer? If anything it just shows that people who buy into the american message of alcohol is good and cannabis is the devils weed is just an idiot.

  9. Robert Raimondi says

    I agree, I drank relatively often in high school, though not a often as many. I have never smoked anything, including cigarettes, and have never taken any other type of drug. I am not that type of person. I did not much care for high school, and really just attended so that I could play sports, but I didn't drink to rebel so much as to try to get lucky with the ladies (which also didn't work btw, hehe)

  10. says

    I have had alcoholics in my own family. I have seen first hand the evils of alcohol. Marijuana is completely harmless, nothing even close to being like alcohol. I smoked in my teens and then quit when I decided to have my children. I am a grand mother now, my children are all grown up, and if they ever legalize marijuana in Tennessee, I will smoke it again. But, I stopped for all these years. So, no way is it addictive or a gateway drug. Everyone knows alcohol is dangerous.

  11. Glyn Dayveez says

    Wow. "Some people are predisposed to using drugs"? No, not in reality. And alcohol impairs judgement way more than any other substance you mention. It's obvious why alcohol is the gateway drug – its use leads to antisocial behaviour of all sorts, whether further drugs, violence against women, impaired driving, or puking on your own feet.

    Watch this – it'll help:

  12. Ed Schlosser says

    Jeffrey Phillips Freeman : Causation is frequently isolated, so you are incorrect. In fact, there is a whole science surrounding isolating causes (see Koch's Postulates as just one example in microbiology). There are far too many correlations being confused as causation today especially where blood lipids and coronary artery disease is concerned.

  13. Lord-Alveric Mitchell says

    Glyn Ofthefamily Davies The video is more a political statement than anything. And just what is a "gateway drug", anyway? How do you define it? What percentages of the user of a particular drug (and I am counting alcohol as a "drug") can be shown by direct causality to have gone on to other drugs?

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