Soulclipse

Study Proves That Alcohol Is The True ‘Gateway Drug,’ Not Marijuana

A recent University of Florida study by one Dr. Guttman sought to determine what the real “gateway” drug is — which substances are more likely to lead to greater substance abuse and risky decisions in the future. The study’s findings were tremendous:

“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. The findings from this investigation support 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.”

Essentially, concludes the study’s co-author Adam Barry, waiting until later in life to consume alcohol makes a person less prone to abuse harder drugs. More specifically, says Barry : “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”. Far from the era of “Reefer Madness”, Barry’s study has the goal of correcting misconceptions about marijuana use.

Continuing on, Barry says “Some of these earlier iterations needed to be fleshed out, 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]. 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. 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.”

Though the American government largely approves of the sale and use of alcohol and tobacco past a certain age, this study calls into question the validity of that idea. Potentially more harmful than many other illicit drugs, alcohol also seems to be taken less seriously, leading to a greater potential for abuse and addiction. Hopefully, with the continued work of pioneers like Barry and Guttman, we can begin to raise awareness of the choices involved in consuming any drug, not just the illegal ones.

Check out the story that inspired this one here

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