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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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  • Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:30PM (#40620711)

    Somebody please tag this "obvious".

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by QRDeNameland (873957) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:45PM (#40621001)
      I wonder if it's a coincidence that this came out within two weeks of the death of the asshole [celebstoner.com] who was widely credited with originating this propaganda.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:06PM (#40621393)

      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.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        let me correct that for you, "On the side of Marijuana are some risks dependent upon the method upon the method of consumption, there are some psychological problems but these are largely associated with predisposition and using it under an atmosphere of illegality and threat of extreme violence from authorities."

        Illegality seems largely driven by greed, from competing artificial fibres, perversely enough the alcohol industry with it's sectors of extreme profitability, pharmaceutical corporations due to t

        • 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.
          • 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.

          • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:50AM (#40625243)

            Quite a lot of people do this to themselves with alcohol. And generally, alcohol has far more severely negative impact on the abusers themselves and on innocent bystanders.

            People that do not deal with their issues do not have a drug problem, they have a personality defect in the first place. If not one drug, they would just use another. Legalizing Marijuana would reduce the severity of the negative effects, as it is more benign than alcohol, but still provides the escape these people seek. And there is no way in hell to successfully remove alcohol from society. The US prohibition failed. Even Islamic countries with medieval, drastic penalties have large numbers of alcoholics. That approach does not work.

            And on a related note, criminalizing responsible, recreational use of mild drugs by adults is not justifiable ethically.

      • by mug funky (910186)

        yep. look at australian aboriginal communities. the alcohol is much much worse than the weed. cops usually don't bother enforcing weed because there's so little risk of violence occurring as a result of it. alcohol on the other hand... well, quite a lot of places in australia actually have prohibition for that reason.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tehcyder (746570)

        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.

    • by wmbetts (1306001)

      done

  • I started smoking weed far before I ever had a beer. Alcohol's what's being put on a pedestal, so people seek it out.
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mal-2 (675116) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:38PM (#40621903) Homepage Journal

      Over a decade ago, I used to get my weed through a guy who wasn't yet 21. He was dealing to pay to go to college without having to hold down a job at the same time. Every time I'd go to pick up from him (and I found he did this to several other over-21 clients as well), he made us go to the liquor store and buy him beer as part of his payment. His mother knew he was dealing, and why so many people came around, but I think she had decided that was better than joining a gang or failing his classes because he was working all night flipping burgers. She also didn't seem to have a problem with him drinking, but she refused to buy alcohol for him. (She did, however, smoke his weed.)

      There was another guy who I bought from, who liked to shoot the rats that ran across the cables outside his balcony. Since it was just a BB gun, all it ever did was knock the rats off the wire. It was only about a 10 foot drop, and they'd bounce off the ground and climb back up again. Then he'd shoot them again.

  • by noh8rz5 (2674523) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:31PM (#40620721)
    Who goes straight from the soda pop to the joint? That's pretty messed up. It's like a board game. First you. Must land on the bud light square, then the tequila square, and probably the abusing prescription drugs square.
  • duh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:31PM (#40620729)

    I was drunk first time I ever smoked.

  • 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).
    • granddaddy's granddaddy was a proper wifebeating drunk in ireland or germany. alcohol is a familiar. therefore it's ok

      meanwhile, look at these mexicans and their loco weed! scary otherness! outlaw that stuff!

      seriously. this is the reason marijuana is illegal in the usa:

      The first group of states to have marijuana laws in that part of the century were Rocky Mountain and southwestern states. By that, I mean Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana. You didn't have to go anywhere but to the legislative records to find out what had motivated those marijuana laws. The only thing you need to know to understand the early marijuana laws in the southwest and Rocky Mountain areas of this country is to know, that in the period just after 1914, into all of those areas was a substantial migration of Mexicans. They had come across the border in search of better economic conditions, they worked heavily as rural laborers, beet field workers, cotton pickers, things of that sort. And with them, they had brought marijuana.

                Basically, none of the white people in these states knew anything about marijuana, and I make a distinction between white people and Mexicans to reflect a distinction that any legislator in one of these states at the time would have made. And all you had to do to find out what motivated the marijuana laws in the Rocky mountain and southwestern states was to go to the legislative records themselves. Probably the best single statement was the statement of a proponent of Texas’ first marijuana law. He said on the floor of the Texas Senate, and I quote, "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy." Or, as the proponent of Montana's first marijuana law said, (and imagine this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, "Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona."

      http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/dpf/whitebread05.html [druglibrary.org]

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:52PM (#40621105)

        Also 1920s: “Makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” —H.J. Anslinger, Bureau of Narcotics

        http://www.uccs.edu/~rmelamed/Physics%20of%20Life/Homepage/Marijuana%20and%20Racism.html

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I couldn't gt [ast this sentences:
        " When Professor Bonnie and I set out to try to track the legal history of marijuana in this country, we were shocked that nobody had ever done that work before."

        That's complete bullshit. As such, I can't trust the rest.

      • by GodInHell (258915)

        "Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona."

        Heh .. the average stoner who found himself in the bullring in Barcelona would go fetal and cry. It is not a "proactive" experience.

    • 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 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 cusco (717999) <brian...bixby@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:09PM (#40622321)
        If you follow the money very far you'll find that the banking industry is one of the most opposed to rationalizing drug laws, and it's not hard to figure out why. Money laundering, a.k.a. "private banking" is one of the most lucrative sectors of the financial services industry, with fees averaging 10-15 percent for mostly automated transactions. The US is the world's largest money laundry, with over $1,000,000,000,000 (yeah, a trillion dollars) being laundered here every year, about half of it being related to drugs and the rest to frauds, tax cheats, weapons, etc. How happy would the financial services industry be with their pet congresscritters if $50-$75 billion in almost pure profit were to evaporate? It's so lucrative that Clinton's Treasury Secretary went directly from "public service" to running the private banking branch of CitiCorp, one of the world's biggest money launderers, where he engineered the takeover of BanaMex (a.k.a. 'the drug smuggler's bank of choice') and its extremely valuable customer list.

        I highly recommend Catherine Austin Fitts's three-part series called "NarcoDollars for Beginners" found on the Narconews.com web site (it's also mirrored all over, without permission, as "NarcoDollars for Dummies").
  • 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.

    • 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 bunratty (545641) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:12PM (#40621505)
        It's more post hoc, ergo proper hoc (after that, therefore because of that). Just because someone tried drug X first does not mean taking drug X caused the person to begin taking other drugs. The very idea of a magic "gateway drug" that if we could get people to stop using would cause people to no longer abuse drugs is ludicrous. It's just a way of making marijuana look bad, because that's been the purported gateway drug for decades. I think alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and aspirin are more likely to be the first drug someone has taken rather than marijuana.
        • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> 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.

    • And everyone I know with drug issues hates alcohol but swears by weed. Gee, isn't it great that there's this thing called science to tell us whose anecdote better reflects reality?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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) on

    • 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 Fjandr (66656)

        Sadly, sense like that contained in your post is entirely too uncommon.

        I say this as someone who is completely against recreational drug use (including the drug alcohol) personally, but believe societal prohibitions on them are pointless, merit-less, and entirely without justification. I do, however, support mandatory treatment or punishment (depending on the circumstances) for people who commit crimes as a result of impaired mental function. The reason one cannot control themselves is irrelevant. If they c

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Yeah,try crack and then let me know how your outdated hypothesis works out for you.

        Some drugs change the brain chemistry. Some can go from quit functional in society to homeless crazy in short order.

        This doesn't apply to pot, and some personality are more susceptible to abuse(based on dopamine and serotonin) but it isn't a catch all.

        It's brain chemistry.

  • 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.
    • Re:gateway (Score:4, Informative)

      by Deep Esophagus (686515) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:41PM (#40620911)

      Bearing in mind that I *agree* with decriminalizing marijuana, you apparently don't understand how studies like this work. If 10% of people who use Substance A end up with Problem X but 80% of people who use Substance B end up with Problem X, there's reason to suggest a link. Yes, correlation is not causation and those aren't actual statistics; I'm speaking hypothetically here. My point is they didn't just randomly pick two events and abitrarily decide they are connected.

      They could still be totally wrong, of course, but that's what they do the studies to find out.

      • by bs0d3 (2439278)
        but in such a case as trying to connect these items for something that we previously believe in however untrue, the correlation would be just as strong with any 2 randomly picked items
      • by smartr (1035324)
        I said no to alcohol, because my granddady's an alcoholic. I said no to weed, because I hate stoners and I don't buy into that non-addictive nonsense. Then I was given the opportunity to free-base crack cocaine and I just said take all my money I need my CRACK!!!
      • Re:gateway (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:07PM (#40622295) Journal
        Even so, to label something a "gateway drug", you'll have to show a causal relationship, or at least examine the correlation under different conditions.

        Case in point: in my home country of the Netherlands, marihuana is (semi-)legal and freely available. Guess what: while there are more people in the Netherlands who have at some point tried marihuana (per capita), the number of regular users is actually lower than in the USA. Furthermore, we do not have a significantly higher number of users of hard drugs either. Which makes sense: the American pushing pot is breaking the law at the risk of a stiff prison sentence. He'll be more likely to cheerfully sell you something more potent as well. In the Netherlands, licensed coffee shop proprietors enjoy a legal and profitable trade in soft drugs; they are unlikely to risk all that by selling hard drugs on the side (besides, they are checked on a regular basis).

        It's not the drug itsef that's the gateway to the nastier stuff. It's the person that is selling it to you. Legalising soft drugs doesn't mean allowing a gateway drug into the hands of your youngsters, it means that you're controlling the gateway and making it less likely that kids come into contact with hard drugs.
    • by swillden (191260)

      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.

      But nearly 100% of non-users have also previously tried water. This means there is no correlation between water consumption and hardcore drug usage. That's not at all the same sort of relationship that this study finds between alcohol and drugs.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      You have it completely wrong! It is bread that is the problem! Even terrorists have been known to eat bread before their attacks!

      So, ban bread and all will be fine.

    • Dihydrogen Monoxide [dhmo.org] kills!
  • 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 Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:38PM (#40620851) Homepage Journal

      98% percent* of people have taken caffeine at least once in their lifetimes. Clearly, it is the true gateway drug.

      (* statistic made up for illustrative purposes.)

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I would say that tobacco should be listed as a "the gateway drug" due to it being highly addictive and due to it's place in society and how society uses it. Due to it being highly addictive it changes ones psychological makeup prepping one for further addiction.

      Alcohol can be very addicting, but marijuana is only as addictive as masturbation.

      In my experience, pot heads who have never smoked tobacco do not go on to harder drugs, while those who have smoked tobacco have a higher rate of addiction to harder d

  • 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 dgatwood (11270)

      They really think smoking pot actually does cause harm to those around them...

      Pedantically speaking, smoking or burning anything causes some harm to anyone nearby. Lungs weren't really designed to inhale particulates.

      • Pedantically speaking, the sun causes cancer, the air around busy roads contains many times as many toxic particulates as air in the woods, and drinking well water could expose you to radioactive Radon.

        Marijuana has not been shown to cause cancer, and has a much lower correlation with lung disease than cigarettes. While you are correct that there are some potential harms in smoking weed, they are no where near significant enough to demonize marijuana over. No one brings up the fact that car exhaust can c
  • 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 bs0d3 (2439278)
      i think today the tobacco smokers are seen as more filthy than any drug users
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      It's obvious because the only thing the study successfully proves is basic economic theory. Alcohol is more accessible, cheaper, advertised; therefore it is more used, and earlier used, than substances which are harder to obtain, expensive, and illegal. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from this data without delving into sensationalist pseudoscience.
  • alcohol legal at 21 (most states) / marijunana not.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:41PM (#40620907) Journal

    Look I'm as willing as anyone to stipulate that the "war on drugs" has been a total bust and a criminal waste of resources. I've told my teenage daughter "the worst thing about pot -- the absolute worst thing -- is what the government can do to you if they catch you with it".

    But.

    Could the results have anything to do with alcohol being much easier to acquire than pot? This is not an apples - to - apples comparison, and wouldn't have been unless we had never repealed the eighteenth amendment.

    • Sure, those of legal age can go into all kinds of stores, bars, or restaurants and get all the booze we want. But the fact that booze is regulated and sold by licensed establishments tends to keep sales to underage buyers fairly low. Sure, teens will still approach strangers to ask them to buy for them, but even that is being cracked down on these days.

      The guy selling dime bags doesn't check IDs, and could easily be a friend or schoolmate that travels in the same social circles.

      The only time when I have not

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I disagree. Parents, or relatives, or parents of friends are much MUCH more likely to have alcohol at home than pot. Although this is only a single datapoint, I remember how old I was when I had my first drink -- 12 -- and what it was -- rye whiskey (I didn't like it) -- at a friend's house. Seriously, which is more likely in a randomly selected household -- that we kids had found a bottle or a bag?

        It's true that weed is fairly easy to come by, and it's also true that people selling drugs probably don't

        • Cause it isn't grandma's first rodeo and she knows how much booze she has? (She's a grandma, not her first teen.)

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            Cause it isn't grandma's first rodeo and she knows how much booze she has? (She's a grandma, not her first teen.)

            You're right. Furthermore, Grandma probably also knows about the trick of watering down the remainder. (Don't ask me how I know.) So you would need to make your samples small across multiple bottles (and mix it together, which I think was called "bilge water" when we drank it as teens -- nasty) or save up samples from Grandma's only bottle over a period of time, and then have a party. It helps if Grandma is gettin' a mite forgetful.

            If you live in a state where alcohol is sold right off the store shelves

    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Here is how the world works:
      1. Social science department gets grant from government and special interest groups to do a "study" which will prove something we know.
      2. Scientists involved are careful to not make any logical fallacies of starting correlation is causation, but phrase it in such a way as to imply that to those who have difficulty with the concept, in order to get their name in the news.
      3. When the study hits the media, all pretense of correlation is thrown out and it is touted as proving some
  • Caffeine is the true gateway drug, and I can prove it with a single word:



    Chocolate.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:44PM (#40620991) Journal

    ...I really could use a drink.

    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Don't do it! In a week you'll be a crack addict on E at a rave somewhere in Thailand!
  • Bullshit. (Score:2, Informative)

    by jasno (124830)

    Lack of proper parenting, poor social skills, hopelessness, and bad luck are the real gateway drugs.

    The substances are the symptom in most cases.

    In my own personal experience, MJ was the *last* drug I tried.

  • The whole argument about "gateway" drugs is pointless. People are going to try what's available and what they're comfortable with (what their friends use) first and move on from there. There is no "gateway" as much as a natural progression.
  • The legal thing is more commonly used than the illegal thing. Next you'll tell me that more injuries are caused due to drinking than pot, without any care for the relative number of people using and/or accessibility of the two compounds.
  • 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.

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