The Real “Gateway” Drug…Alcohol

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The trick to heading off prescription drug abuse is to keep young people from first overindulging in alcohol or cigarettes, according to a new medical study.


Researchers at Yale University say teenagers who use alcohol or tobacco are almost twice as likely to abuse prescription opiate drugs as those who only use marijuana.


Using clinical data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the experts found that 12% of young adults had abused prescription opiates. Of this group, 57% had previously abused alcohol and 56% cigarettes. Only 34% had abused marijuana.


A related study published in The Journal of School Health studied the “gateway” aspect of various drugs among high school seniors concluded that “alcohol should receive primary attention in school-based substance abuse prevention programming.” Adam E. Barry, a co-author of that study, told The Raw Story, “If you take [our findings] and apply them to a school health setting, we believe that you are going to get the best bang for your buck by focusing on alcohol.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Yale Study: Alcohol’s Gateway Effect Much Larger Than Marijuana’s (by Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story)

Previous Use of Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Marijuana and Subsequent Abuse of Prescription Opioids in Young Adults (by Lynn E. Fiellin, Jeanette M. Tetrault, William C. Becker, David A. Fiellin and Rani A. Hoff, Journal of Adolescent Health) (abstract)

Alcohol as a Gateway Drug: A Study of US 12th Graders (by Tristan Kirby and Adam E. Barry, Journal of School Health) (abstract)

Alcohol 'More Harmful Than Heroin' Says Prof David Nutt (BBC News)


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