Saturday, July 21, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] For years Americans have been told that marijuana should remain illegal because it is the ultimate “gateway” drug – that is, the drug that most often leads to the abuse of other, more potent drugs.
Not so, according to a new study which says alcohol – not marijuana – is the true gateway drug.
Of three drugs or drug-containing substances – alcohol, tobacco and marijuana – the study found that the former, not the latter, led to more drug use.
In examining a nationally representative sample obtained from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, the study concluded: “Results from the Guttman scale indicated that alcohol represented the ‘gateway’ drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Moreover, students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs.”
That said, the study concluded “that alcohol should receive primary attention in school-based substance abuse prevention programming, as the use of other substances could be impacted by delaying or preventing alcohol use.
“Therefore, it seems prudent for school and public health officials to focus prevention efforts, policies, and monies, on addressing adolescent alcohol use,” said the study.
Earlier studies point to similar results.
Longstanding tie between alcohol consumption and drug abuse
As early as 1985, for example, a study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence concluded “that students do not use illicit drugs unless they also use alcohol.”
“Since alcohol serves as the gateway to all other drug use, prevention approaches that control and limit alcohol use among adolescents may be warranted,” authors John W. Welte and Grace M. Barnes, both of New York State University at Buffalo, wrote.