The Medical Minute: This Study Just Turned the Gateway Drug Theory Upside-Down

Since the days of Reefer Madness, cannabis has been the poster child of the gateway drug theory – the idea that use of one drug increases the chances of trying another. Drug awareness programs often point to marijuana as that bad influence that sends people down a slippery slope toward harder drugs like cocaine or heroin. But a recent study published in The Journal of School Health made an interesting yet totally unsurprising observation: most drug use begins with legal substances…namely alcohol.

Researchers drew from nationwide data provided by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which tracks drug use trends among youth in the U.S. Within that data they found that high school students who have consumed alcohol are 13 times more likely to use cigarettes and cocaine, and 16 times more likely to use marijuana and other narcotics. These findings walk hand-in-hand with a2012 study from Yale that found that alcohol and cigarettes were much more likely than marijuana to precede opiate abuse.

– Read the entire article at Leafly News.