Boston, MA, 04/02/2014 (medicalmarijuanareporter.com) – A recent study has concluded that the old theory of a gateway drug is accurate for some users of drugs but shifts the blame for escalating drug abuse from marijuana to alcohol. Alcohol is, of course, the most widely used and socially accepted drug in American society. The study definitely establishes that the use of marijuana is not the determining factor in whether a person will move on to the use of more dangerous substances. The co-author comments that the delay in initiation in alcohol use could have a positive effect on the rates of legal substance abuse (such as tobacco) as well as illegal substance abuse (such as marijuana).
The study shows evidence that drug use history can enable more accurate prediction of substance abuse behaviour but the idea of regarding marijuana as the gateway to more harmful substances resulted from the creators of the theory who failed to read the data properly and to follow up. This study emphasises that the gateway theory is accurate but that it progresses from the use of legal substances such as alcohol and then moves on to illegal substances.
The study compared substance abuse rates between drinkers and non-drinkers and found that seniors who are tried alcohol at least once were 13 times more likely to smoke cigarettes, 16 times more likely to try marijuana or other narcotics and 13 times more likely to become users of cocaine. It further found that the rates of tobacco and marijuana use among 12th graders were about the same confirming the findings of earlier reports. The co-author believes the results of the study arise from the access that children have to alcohol as well as the common misconception that alcohol is less harmful than some of the other substances. A 2010 study by the medical journal Lancet ranked alcohol is the most dangerous drug even above heroin, cocaine and tobacco.