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Study Finds Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is the Biggest Gateway Drug For Teens 459

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-of-worms dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a study out of the University of Florida which found that alcohol is the biggest "gateway" drug, the use of which increases the likelihood of other drug use. Quoting: "In the sample of students, alcohol also represented the most commonly used substance, with 72.2 percent of students reporting alcohol consumption at some point in their lifetime. Comparatively, 45 percent of students reported using tobacco, and 43.3 percent cited marijuana use. 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."
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Study Finds Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is the Biggest Gateway Drug For Teens

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  • by Deep Esophagus (686515) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:32PM (#40620731)
    This should be tagged #noshitsherlock. Seriously, the only reason pot is demonized is because the tobacco and booze industries own too many politicians (and vice-versa).
  • by RatBastard (949) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:32PM (#40620749) Homepage

    Anyone who's grown up around people with substance abuse problems already knows this. Everyone I know with drug issues started out with alcohol issues.

  • gateway (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bs0d3 (2439278) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:35PM (#40620793)
    studies also show that nearly 100% of hardcore drug users have previously tried water before moving on. the connection is there is no such thing as a gateway drug but every hysterical person on the planet seems to believe that there is.
  • by wicka_wicka (679279) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:35PM (#40620801)
    The idea of a specific drug being a "gateway" to others is incredibly misleading. Alcohol and weed are the obvious places to start because they're the easiest to obtain. You're going to get to harder drugs eventually if you're that type of person, but no one is just going to start at heroin.
  • by euroq (1818100) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:36PM (#40620811)

    It may be obvious that marijuana is relatively safe to anyone who actually knows about marijuana and alcohol, or cares to research it, but it isn't to those who don't. People who don't know about it are bombarded with media from the war on drugs and conservatives on how bad marijuana is. They really think smoking pot actually does cause harm to those around them, and it should be easy to understand why, with all of the top-down deception happening in the U.S. and other countries.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:37PM (#40620833)

    Science is all about formulating a hypothesis, designing an experiment, performing it, and drawing reasonable conclusions which shape new hypotheses. We shouldn't be saying "WELL DUH," as if they shouldn't have bothered to do the study. Instead we should be happy that we have one more sample of interesting data than we had yesterday.

    Also, this isn't the smoking gun that anti-prohibition activists might want. One potential conclusion is that prohibition is working, and that logically we should go ahead and outlaw alcohol and tobacco as well to prevent even more teens from becoming filthy marihuana smokers prone to reefer madness.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:43PM (#40620961) Journal

    Which doesn't necessarily mean that alcohol is some magic gateway drug, (correlation does not imply causation) but that people with substance abuse problems naturally gravitate first to legal (and hence more easily acquirable) substances.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:03PM (#40621311)

    Anyone who's grown up around people with substance abuse problems already knows this. Everyone I know with drug issues started out with alcohol issues.

    Alcohol Issues?

    When I was 16, I was buying wine & hard liquor in upstate NY using a fake draft card (back in the day). I didn't have any alcohol issues until my family moved to the South, where the legal drinking age was 21 YO. When my ~ 12 bottle (fifths) of imported NY hooch ran out, I had mixed results getting others (strawman) to buy liquor for me. One of the classmates I drank with shared some cannabis with me, and I switched over. From that time to this, I drink alcohol (always in moderation) only when cannabis isn't available. And I've never had any problems starting, stopping, quitting any other illicit drug -- but then I never took crack, coke, meth, pcp, or heroin -- those, like many prescription drugs, are harmful.

    None of the illicit psychedelic drugs are addictive, nor are harmful when taken in moderation. Cannabis is really in a special case -- mood-altering but not psychedelic, non-addictive, and non-harmful in any conceivable quantity. With cannabis, the very worst that could happen is that you get the munchies or fall asleep -- unless you get arrested.

  • Re:duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:03PM (#40621325) Homepage Journal

    I was sober the first time I ever tried alcohol.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:23PM (#40621703)
    I've always maintained that the problem is the person, not the substance. Those who abuse drugs (of any kind) are usually carrying emotional or mental health issues they are trying to mask or self medicate through the use of those substances. Alcohol can turn people into assholes, but not everyone turns into an asshole with alcohol. The same goes for other drugs. In fact, people who become sociopaths or who ruin their (or others') lives through substance abuse are the exception and not the rule. There are a lot of people who have smoked pot in their teens and who have never touched it again. There are many, many people who drink regularly and don't beat their wives and children. But there will always be some element of society that loves to hop on one or two unfortunate examples to use them to bully others - because they like telling people what to do. These are the ones who think you should live the way they live because, of course, they are the ones who are right.
  • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:29PM (#40621791)

    If we're going to assume conspiracy, put down the DEA, prisons, and drug cartels as behind it too, since they all benefit (speaking of which anyone who talks about 'securing the border' but opposes legalization is an absolute tool).

    I think the real reason is simply that too many people think that legalizing cannabis is condoning drugs and criminals and reefer madness and stupid potheads like Carl Sagan and will cause an unacceptable increase in crime and all this negative imagery, while outlawing alcohol is anti-freedom because it is your right to get drunk and its acceptable some people get flattened by drunk drivers in a free society. I'm not saying it makes any sense whatsoever, but I think it is a more plausible explanation than blaming alcohol and tobacco companies (and I've heard pharmaceutical companies blamed too) companies, unless you have evidence that it is actually happening. Not saying I'd be surprised, I know some of the original push involved paper industry money IIRC that didn't want competition from hemp fiber, just that I'd like hard proof it is corruption as opposed to politicians simply catering to irrationality.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:32PM (#40621837)

    The only reason the hard drugs exist is because of prohibition. If you have a black market you want the product to be as potent and easily concealable/transportable as possible. Back in prohibition times most alcohol was as high of a percentage as was easy to distill. The same with coke and heroin. Chewing Coca leaves or making tea are the preferred method of consumption in the south american countries where it is grown and legal. Smoking Opium is preferred over shooting heroin. In the US Caffeine is preferred in beverages. If caffeine was made illegal you can bet there would be a black market for it as a concentrated powder or pill. The reason it's easier to OD on hard drugs is due in part to how concentrated they are and how irregular the concentration of active pharmaceutic is.

  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:34PM (#40621863)

    I smoke a ton of weed and wouldn't care if they made baby food out of it, but it can trigger psychotic episodes in mentally ill people.

  • by Fjandr (66656) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:47PM (#40622031) Homepage Journal

    I'm certain there's a lot of insider influence, but I'd also agree there's a lot of "stupid" and "tradition" going on as well to maintain the status quo.

  • by geekoid (135745) <> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:56PM (#40622143) Homepage Journal

    Not really.

    Some drugs are gateway drug. Marijuana got this accusation because it's illegal, and as such often found with other illegal drugs.

    and you are stretching the term gateway drug out of it's contexts.

    That said, the DARE program mad eit a gateway drug.

    Dare pushed the All Recreational drugs a Equally harmful and will ruin you lesson.
    As such, when these kids grew up and saw that most people who used marijuana lead perfectly normal lives, they made that assumption about all drugs.

    That is why DARE is a failure.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:24PM (#40623151)

    I bet the list of things that can trigger psychotic episodes in mentally ill people includes pretty much everything.

    The only honest to goodness negative reaction I've ever seen with marijuana use (outside of the physical effects like smoking too much and getting the spins/nauseous) is increased anxiety, and that was only a couple times, both times involving someone that probably didn't want to smoke in the first place and was just doing so to "go along with the crowd" and hadn't really gotten high before, so the effects freaked them out.

    In those cases, though, I find it hard to blame the weed itself for that; nobody should consume an intoxicating substance just to "fit in", but then we've all been to high school and now how THAT goes...

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:58PM (#40624483)
    Legalizing doesn't make the psychosis go away. In the Netherlands it's legal and there are plenty of fucked up people smoking themselves into an even more fucked up state, instead of dealing with their crap and getting on with their life without smoking.
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sperbels (1008585) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:52AM (#40624771)

    So the argument that pot is no worse then smoking or drinking, or that it is less harmful. Isn't much of an excuse to legalize it.

    It is actually. Many think that alcohol and tobacco are not drugs and they're not on the same level as marijuana. It's this misperception that's maintaining the prohibition.

  • by IICV (652597) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:15AM (#40624861)

    Yes but that's kinda the point. Alcohol fucks people up even worse, yet it's legal. It's inconsistent to claim that marijuana is illegal because of outcome A when alcohol is legal but causes outcome A in even more people. We need to either ban alcohol, or legalize marijuana - and banning alcohol just doesn't work.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shiftless (410350) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:15AM (#40626185) Homepage

    Sorry, is "paranoia" a mental disorder?

    It isn't "paranoia" if they really ARE out to get you.

    I'm about as laid back as they come and bother no-one. The other day my lighter ran out of fluid, so I went out in the garage to my car's lighter, then sat there in the driver's seat with the window rolled down smoking my joint in peace. Right as I was finishing up I noticed a cop drive by. There is no way he could have possibly seen me smoking but I got a bad feeling right then so I tossed out my blunt, rolled up the window, locked the car, then calmly walked in the house.

    As I rounded the corner leaving the garage I saw that the cop had pulled into the next driveway down, kinda creepin along and riding his brakes, just like he was scoping out his rearview and thinking of getting out to walk my way. Thank God he missed his chance. I think he must have either smelled it as he drove by, or some anonymous do-gooder somewhere (no clue who it could be because I saw nobody else around) called him. Either way:

    You see now why stoners are paranoid? Just like that one can get arrested, put in jail, and life ruined, even when one is totally and completely minding one's own business and hurting nobody.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:08AM (#40627631) Journal

    My first thought exactly.

    Also, Alcohol is a lot more dangerous than Marijuana, causing aggression (in some), loss of control, impaired motor functions coupled with a sense of still being in control, liver cirrhosis, cancer and brain damage.

    On the side of Marijuana, there is a slight lung cancer risk and a moderate risk of depressions. In fact, the damage law enforcement does is probably more significant then what the stuff itself does.

    The main negative side effect of marijuana is the incredibly smug self righteousness it causes in its users and fans.

    It is the Apple of drugs.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky