New Study Backs Up Gateway Drug Theory For Teens
Gateway Drug for those old enough to remember, it’s been hammered in teens’ heads that marijuana is a gateway drug to other drugs.
Some people who have tried and used marijuana recreationally and have never tried any other drugs might disagree with that statement. Others, who have experimented with other drugs might be more apt to agree.
Results from a 2013 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study found that from the estimated 2.8 million people aged 12 or older who used illicit drugs. 70 percent of them used marijuana as their first drug.
According to a recent study by New York University, use of marijuana is directly related to use of other illicit drugs. What’s more is that is that frequency of marijuana use is also directly related. The study sets out to examine if there are specific reasons behind these findings.
Data from marijuana seniors in high school were examined against those who also used a variety of eight other illicit drugs. Some very interesting results came from the study. But the main find was that seniors who smoke marijuana because they’re bored are more likely to use other illegal drugs, too but the same is not true for teens who use pot to “experiment.”
The study examined the relationship between marijuana use and those of eight other drugs. “Aside from marijuana, a wide range of illicit drugs are prevalent . Each having different use patterns, and different effects and dangers associated with use,” said Joseph J. Palamar. The assistant professor of population health at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “Our research helped to identify sub-types of illicit marijuana users who use other drugs. As this may be able to inform prevention efforts.”
Data and results
Data collected focused on high school students who reported using marijuana in the last 12 months. And we looked at those who also reported the use of powder cocaine, crack, heroin, LSD, other psychedelics and non-medical use of pills and narcotics. Here are some of the results:
- Using marijuana to address boredom was associated with an increased use of powder cocaine or hallucinogens other than LSD. Almost 20 percent reported using these drugs for ‘insight’ and ‘understanding’
- A reported 11 percent used marijuana to increase effects of other drugs.
- Marijuana used ‘to experiment’ decreased risk of reported use of each of the eight drugs.
This was an interesting revelation by the NYU team. Essentially, those who say they’re just trying marijuana are often at a low risk for moving on to other drugs.
These and other scientists look forward to conducting more research. In order to determine whether the legalization and regulation of marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington would skew results.
In conclusion, Gateway Drug and Experimentation or not. And we know recreational drug use can lead to serious addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, call The Watershed today. We’re here 24/7: 1-800-861-1768.