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Study: The 'Gateway Drug' Is Alcohol, Not Marijuana

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, drugs, alcohol, research, study, health, treatment )

- 2111 days ago -
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 for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts' escalating substance abuse...

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wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 1:44 am
the overwhelming/predominant gateway dgrugS ARE tobacco and alcohol, the IDIOT-Drugs #1 and #2 with any (which?) #3 far, faaar off.

Just OBSERVE! Observe, for example, how difficult it is to come clean for double, that is alcohol+nocotine addicts. ...

PASSIVE smoking (ie. inhaling other people's tobacco-smoke) EASILY kills more people thna all illegalized drugs combined.


Carol H (229)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 4:39 am
noted, thank you Carrie

Calliope Muse (7)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 4:07 pm
I cannot read the article,fails to load the story..:/
Thanx though it seemed interesting!

Joy M (169)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 6:18 pm
Story would not load, will try later. noted...

William Y (54)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 7:36 pm
Same here story would not load.

Stephen McElroy (0)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 9:39 pm
I agree that Alcohol and Tobacco are gateway drugs. I've been alcohol free and tobacco free for nearly 5 years. What a long strange trip it's been (kudos to The Grateful Dead).

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 9:42 pm
I'm not sure what the problem is, but try this.Gateway Drug Is Alcohol

Past Member (0)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 4:01 am

Patricia Ces (8)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 8:23 am
Thanks for spreading the word!! We all need to know about issues like this!

JL A (281)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 9:09 am
The research on this has been solid for more than a decade--also that early alcohol use is a stronger predictor of later violence than marijuana use.......

Gene J (290)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 2:12 pm
I don't know why this comes as a surprise to anyone. Alcohol is almost always the first drug anyone has access to, then tobacco, then perhaps pot and others. But it all starts with alcohol, it always has. Addiction is a disease, a genetic defect, exposure to alcohol brings it to "life" and so it begins for so many. Prohibition doesn't work, but neither does denial. Early and often education perhaps? If you never start you never have to stop. I wish I'd known that at an age young enough to have prevented issues in my own life, but I didn't. And I don't think our education system does enough about this, or pregnancy prevention either for that matter, at an early enough age to prevent the problem from ever becoming one. This is a worldwide epidemic that takes countless lives every day not only through usage but through the actions taking while under the influence and that toll on non user's as well.

Past Member (0)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 2:23 pm
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 for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ 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.

While Barry’s study shows evidence that substance abuse behaviors can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy by examining a subject’s drug history, he believes that the persistent and misguided notion of marijuana as the primary gateway to more harmful substances went awry because its creators — who called it the “Stepping Stone Hypothesis” in the “Reefer Madness” era of the 1930s – fundamentally misread the data and failed to conduct an adequate follow-up.

“Some of these earlier iterations needed to be fleshed out,” Barry said. “That’s why we wanted to study this. The latest form of the gateway theory is that it begins with [marijuana] and moves on finally to what laypeople often call ‘harder drugs.’ As you can see from the findings of our study, it confirmed this gateway hypothesis, but it follows progression from licit substances, specifically alcohol, and moves on to illicit substances.”

“So, basically, if we know what someone says with regards to their alcohol use, then we should be able to predict what they respond to with other [drugs],” he explained. “Another way to say it is, if we know someone has done [the least prevalent drug] heroin, then we can assume they have tried all the others.”

And while that standardized progression certainly doesn’t fit every single drug user, the study took that into account too. “There were a low enough number of errors that you are able to accurately predict [future substance abuse behavior]… with about 92 percent accuracy,” Barry said.

By comparing substance abuse rates between drinkers and non-drinkers, they ultimately found that seniors in high school who had consumed alcohol at least once in their lives “were 13 times more likely to use cigarettes, 16 times more likely to use marijuana and other narcotics, and 13 times more likely to use cocaine.”

Barry also noted that the rates of tobacco and marijuana use among all 12th grade high school students were virtually the same, confirming a report the Centers for Disease Control published in June, and an analysis Raw Story published in May.

The study should give pause to anyone involved in youth drug awareness programs, as its findings suggest that making science-based alcohol education a top priority could actually turn the tide of the drug war — but only if lawmakers and leading educators decide to use that same science as a foundation for public policy and school curriculum.

“I think [these results] have to do with level of access children have to alcohol, and that alcohol is viewed as less harmful than some of these other substances,” Barry added.

That social misconception, largely driven by the sheer popularity of alcohol and the profits it generates for private industry, is diametrically opposed to the most current science available on drug harms. A study published in 2010 in the medical journal Lancet ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug of all, above heroin, crack, meth, cocaine and tobacco. Even more striking: The Lancet study found that harms to others near the user were more than double those of the second most harmful drug, heroin.

In its last Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the CDC found (PDF) that about 71 percent of American students have had at least one alcoholic beverage in their lifetime, and almost 39 percent reported having at least one drink within the last 30 days.

“This is a time of budget tightening,” Barry concluded. “Many social services are being cut. If you take [our findings] and apply them to a school health setting, we believe that you are going to get the best bang for your buck by focusing on alcohol.”


Fred Krohn (34)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 2:23 pm
The 'gateway drug' effect is when stupid laws group low-harm drugs (cannabis) with high harm substances (opiates, coca, psilocybin, amphetamine, etc) through the same underground/blackmarket dealer system, and can be eliminated by scrapping all current recreational drug policy and turning the whole problem over to the legal AMA. While routine abuse of alcohol is a route to abuse of other drugs, those who are taught moderacy with alcohol usually have no undue problems with other drugs later.

M B (62)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 2:26 pm
it always starts with alcohol.

Phyllis P (237)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 5:02 pm
None of it's good for you, bottom line. Thanks for the post

Past Member (0)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 5:38 pm
Phyllis, now you see, your comment is misleading as hell.

Not Feeling Well? Perhaps You're 'Marijuana Deficient'

Scientists have begun speculating that the root cause of disease conditions such as migraines and irritable bowel syndrome may be endocannabinoid deficiency.

Talya H (10)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 7:29 pm
Thanks for the article.

Gloria H (88)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 10:09 pm
what the heck is up with THREE spam messages in just this one blog? Is ANYONE in CARE2 watching for this stuff?GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
Talk about "gateways", we need to show those people THE DOOR!!!!! Scat!!!!!

Past Member (0)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 10:37 pm

Margery Coffey (8)
Friday July 13, 2012, 12:56 am
The gateway drug is tobacco. Easily stolen from parents at a very early age, grammar school kids have tried it. Alcohol is second and happens most often in the teens. While there are pre-teen alcoholics, alcohol is more a teen problem.

Veronique L (209)
Friday July 13, 2012, 1:50 am
Thank you, very interesting article!

Peace Monger (185)
Friday July 13, 2012, 2:51 am
I remember reading a few years ago an article publised by an independant medical researcher concerning 'gateway' drugs & surprisingly enough it wasn't alcohol & tobacco, but caffeine as it is generally the first drug we're introduced to. As I recall, simple carbs were also considered in this as well because of the chemical changes in our brains when we consume them.

marie C (163)
Friday July 13, 2012, 3:37 pm
Yes correct but not forgetting pot is the major drug that moves people on to harder drugs
All are killers and unhealthy over time Pot users always seem to have stinking breath and teeth problems
If you are terminally ill its not such a problem So very sad

marie C (163)
Friday July 13, 2012, 3:40 pm
Alcohol stinks as well it even comes from the pores on the skin and cigarettes its difficult to sit next to someone on the bus for the smell Have a nice cup of tea (joke)

Past Member (0)
Friday July 13, 2012, 3:51 pm
marie, quite frankly, you're a brainwashed fool.

Research Proves Marijuana is Not a "Gateway Drug"

Study of 4000 indicates marijuana discourages use of hard drugs.

Past Member (0)
Friday July 13, 2012, 3:54 pm
A ground-breaking study of 4117 marijuana smokers in California1 reveals that the 'Gateway Theory' probably had it backwards. Instead of enticing young people to use other drugs, this study suggests that marijuana may have the opposite effect.

This first-ever clinical examination of a large number of medical marijuana applicants depicts a population that is remarkably normal. The percentages earning bachelors' degrees and doctorates are nearly identical to the national numbers. They are, in the main, productive citizens with jobs, homes and families who smoke marijuana weekly or daily – and have in some cases for decades.

For the vast majority of these applicants, their use of cannabis ultimately led to a decrease in the use of tobacco, alcohol, and hard drugs. Asked to compare their current alcohol consumption with their lifetime peak, over 10% claimed to be abstinent and nearly 90% claimed to have cut their drinking in half.

They also report using cannabis as self medication for stress and anxiety – with fewer side effects than the legal pharmaceutical alternatives.

As children, a significant percentage of the male applicants had been treated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Today their routine morning use of minimal amounts of cannabis strongly suggests that it enhances their ability to concentrate by allowing them to focus on one problem at a time.

As one construction company estimator said, "After two hits and my morning coffee, I'm the best estimator in the company."

Carrie B (306)
Friday July 13, 2012, 3:56 pm
You cannot currently send a star to MJ because you have done so within the last week.

Vicky P (476)
Friday July 13, 2012, 4:36 pm
hm, not everyone that drinks once in a while wants to try other drugs, I drink like once a month when I go out and never have I had or wanted other drugs.

Carrie B (306)
Friday July 13, 2012, 4:50 pm
Vicky, I think we are talking about excessive drinking especially in children and young adults.

marie C (163)
Friday July 13, 2012, 4:55 pm
I apologize for bringing drugs into this thread I know it is very rude just got carried away as I am very anti drugs.

marie C (163)
Friday July 13, 2012, 5:05 pm
Dear MJM you have your opinions and I have mine I am not getting involved in name calling or quotes

Past Member (0)
Friday July 13, 2012, 5:31 pm
marie, if by 'quotes' you mean reciting the same reefer madness lies of the past, please, do try to refrain from doing that again.

Carrie B (306)
Friday July 13, 2012, 5:48 pm
Time to agree to disagree. Personally, I think marijuana should have been legalized years ago.

marie C (163)
Friday July 13, 2012, 5:54 pm
"Dear MJM you have your opinions I have mine I am not getting involved in name calling or quotes "
I apologize to Carrie for introducing this drug thing It is now closed Can not send a green star to Vicky as have done so within the last week

Past Member (0)
Friday July 13, 2012, 6:03 pm
Here's an interesting thought experiment. What if Cannabis and Alcohol never had their roles reversed in 1934?

Past Member (0)
Friday July 13, 2012, 6:21 pm
So, marie, if, like you say, you are 'very anti-drugs', you must have an idea how many deaths a year result in their use. Am I correct in thinking that is your motivation?

Would you be surprised to learn that annual deaths from illicit drugs in America amount to roughly 17,000? Can you tell me how many annual American deaths from alcohol? How many from cannabis?

Annual Causes of Death in the United States

Could it be that your priorities are seriously flawed?

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 9:23 am
Cannabis cures cancer

marie C (163)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 9:51 am
Dear MJM you have your opinions I have mine. I am not getting involved in name calling or quotes
Good to know the Cancer cure is being reported on C2 before it hit the world press

marie C (163)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 9:52 am
Oh these ads are annoying every weekend tried flagging

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 10:03 am
marie, something tells me you didn't even watch the video. You're one of those science deniers, aren't you?.Whoops, there I go calling names.

Carrie B (306)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 10:12 am
I have flagged all ads several times. Care2 doesn't seem to get it or even care!

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 10:23 am
I too have flagged repeatedly, Carrie. It seems to be as pointless as trying to get through to marie tc.

marie, you don't get around much, do you? The Cannabis and cancer links are all over the internet. Now, with Big Pharma's control of the mainstream media, do you honestly think you'll hear the truth from them? Naive, close-minded, foolish, and a few other names come to mind.

marie C (163)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 2:23 pm
Please just leave it MJM
I just do not agree with you As Carrie said lets agree to disagree and move on Life is too short .
I really do not want to get into conversation when people start showing anger and name calling and making unfounded accusations
I can see you believe very strongly in cannabis or whatever you are reading on the internet so thats fine that is your right but please do not forget I also have my rights to my opinions without being insulted
This is all so unnecessary and getting a bit boring


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 3:19 pm
marie, as long as you continue to make foolish statements, I'm going to call you on them. I'm not talking about opinions, I'm talking about facts. When those facts dispute your 'opinion', you lose.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 3:29 pm
Might I add, when your 'opinion' continues to further the same lies that have brought us to this point in this disasterous public policy called the drug war, everyone knowing the truth should be calling you out.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 3:40 pm
When did there become a time when someone’s 'opinion' became as valid as the scientific fact that it disputes?

marie C (163)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 4:05 pm
Your video which you very rudely stated I did not watch is actually called
So you are even misquoting
You and I really have to agree to disagree and call it a night
My profile and yours are really completely opposite so I guess you and I will never agree on anything but it
should not stop us from being civil to each other I am anti drugs end of story MJM You have as much chance of changing my mind as I have of changing yours I respect your beliefs I just do not agree
So all the name calling and rudeness in the world will only make you appear more desperate .
I am off to bed nearly midnight in UK

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 4:27 pm
BBC : Alcohol abuse 'rife and ignored'

Millions are dependent on alcohol.

At least six times as many people are dependent on drink than Class A drugs in England and Wales, research has found.

There are three times as many deaths directly from alcohol misuse as drug misuse each year.

The study also shows that every day 13 people die as a direct result of alcohol misuse.

In total, 3.8 million people are thought to be dependent on alcohol in England and Wales - 3 million men and 800,000 women.
The charity Turning Point, which carried out the study, says the government must give alcohol services a greater priority.

It says alcohol services attract just one sixth of the government funding that drugs services attract - £95m annually compared to £573m committed to drug treatment in 2005/6.

As a result nearly six out of 10 dependent drinkers experienced delays in getting access to treatment for their problems with some having to wait as long as 18 months.

Lord Victor Adebowale, Turning Point chief executive, said there was a desperate need for the government to invest in alcohol services.

"Society cannot afford to continue to neglect alcohol treatment.

"There is an urgent need for the government to give as high a priority to tackling alcohol dependency as it does to addressing drug misuse."

Major burden

There is evidence to show treatment for dependent drinkers is less effective if drinkers are forced to wait long periods.

Alcohol use is estimated to cost the NHS £3bn a year. Turning Point argues that better treatment would cut the cost, not just to the NHS, but also to the criminal justice system.

Dependent drinkers are eight times more likely than non-dependent drinkers to appear in court.

Official figures show that 44% of domestic violence victims in 2000 said their attacker was under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is also thought to be a major cause in about 3% of new cancers in England - more than 8,000 cases a year.

And indirectly, alcohol plays some role in around 40,000 deaths annually.
It also increases the risk of dying from illnesses such as strokes, cirrhosis of the liver and damage to the brain and nervous system.

Lord Adebowale said it was vital that nobody who was hooked on alcohol should have to wait up to 18 months for treatment.

The charity says no patient should have to wait more than two weeks for an assessment, two weeks for in-patient detoxification and three weeks for all other forms of treatment - in line with government targets for drug services.

Dr David Ball, of the charity Action on Addiction, backed the call for more funding.

He said: "Alcohol can cause many problems, including crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, accidents and long term illness.

"The lives of families and friends of problem drinkers are also affected. Binge drinking is on the increase, especially among young women, and alcohol is implicated in many teenage pregnancies."

Marijuana treats addiction


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 4:35 pm
marie, maybe if you stopped the reefer madness lies, some of these English drunks could get off the bottle. How many people over there are dieing from alcohol? Your lies about cannabis could actually be causing more deaths. You must feel so proud of your 'opinion'.

Drug experts say alcohol worse than crack or heroin

Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than both crack and heroin when the combined harms to the user and to others are assessed, British scientists said Monday.


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 4:44 pm
marie, if you are going to speak on this subject, EDUCATE YOURSELF!

Cannabis for Alcohol Dependence

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 4:51 pm
Driven to drink by marijuana laws?

Tough marijuana laws are driving millions of Americans to a more dangerous mood-altering substance, alcohol. The unintended consequence: violence and thousands of unnecessary deaths. It’s time, therefore, for a serious public debate of the case for marijuana versus alcohol.

Marijuana To Control Alcohol Abuse

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 5:20 pm
Marijuana vs. Alcohol

What is it going to take to get through the brainwashing of so many decades?

Does marijuana really harm children? Study yields surprising results

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Suicides?

From the people who brought you the study that found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with fewer deaths on the highways — possibly because people substitute marijuana for drinking — comes new contentious research involving pot. Its title is “High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide,” and this is the gist:

Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and female suicides are less precise and are sensitive to functional form.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 5:26 pm
So, marie, how many of these FACTS are you going to dispute with your 'opinion'?

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 5:46 pm
Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows

Cancer Killer

U.S. War on Drugs Stalling Mind-Blowing Research into Pot's Cancer-Healing Properties

Cannabis exerts protective effect against cancer

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 7:14 pm
Cannabis exerts protective effect against cancer


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 14, 2012, 7:24 pm
History of the Marijuana Gateway Myth

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 22, 2012, 8:40 pm
Now that the public is being educated with the truth, as oppossed to being lied to with propaganda, their old opinion is being dumped on it's head. This war on cannabis was born on lies, and lies have been the ONLY way to sustain it. The world is finally catching on.

Public Opinion

I'm ashamed of my own state for letting Dianne Feinstein, and her ties to the prison industry and the whole Drug War Industrial Complex, defeat Proposition 19 back in 2010. Now we must hang our heads in shame while Colorado, Oregon and Washington lead the way out of this crime against nature and humanity.

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