A recent study proves what marijuana consumers have known all along – that alcohol is the first substance that kids try, not marijuana. The study involved data from more than 14,500 high-school students from 120 schools across U.S. The data was obtained from a ‘Monitoring the Future’ study. The study checked for use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, amphetamines, tranquilizers and other narcotics.
“These findings add further credence to the literature identifying alcohol as the gateway drug to other substance use,” Adam Barry, an assistant professor and researcher in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, said according to Medical Daily. The Medical Daily article went on to state, “Estimates from major surveys in the U.S say that by age 17 most teenagers, between 59 percent and 71 percent, had consumed alcohol, 31 percent to 44 percent had tried cannabis, and 4 percent to 6 percent had tried cocaine, in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.”
“By recognizing the important predictive role of alcohol and delaying initiation of alcohol use, school officials and public health leaders can positively impact the progression of substance use,” he said. “I am confident in our findings and the clear implicationÂ¬Â¬s they have for school-based prevention programs. By delaying and/or preventing the use of alcohol, these programs can indirectly reduce the rate of use of other substances.” Adam Barry said, according to Medical Xpress.
“Parents should know that a strict, zero-tolerance policy at home is best. Increasing alcohol-specific rules and decreasing availability will help prevent an adolescent’s alcohol use. The longer that alcohol initiation is delayed, the more likely that other drug or substance use will be delayed or prevented as well.” Adam Barry told the Medical Daily.
The Medical Xpress article went on to state, “In addition, the drug use documented found that substance use typically begins with the most socially acceptable drugs, such as alcohol and cigarettes, then proceeds to marijuana use and finally to other illegal, harder drugs. Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood – up to 16 times – of licit and illicit substance use.”
I have always pointed out to anti-marijuana people that marijuana is far from ‘the gateway drug.’ Not only do younger people use alcohol and tobacco before marijuana, but often household substances are abused even before that. We all knew those kids in school that huffed aerosol, or sniffed rubber cement or markers. The fact of the matter is, some people are bound to be hard drug users, for a multitude of reasons, regardless if they ever consume marijuana or not.