Study Shows That Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is the Gateway Drug

We’ve all heard the statement that marijuana is “the gateway drug,” the seemingly innocuous substance that an individual tries first before eventually ramping up to more serious “hard drugs” like cocaine, heroin, and meth. However, while marijuana may still play a role in a person’s exploration of other substances, a study published just last year suggests that alcohol may actually be the starting point.

Researchers from the University of Florida and Texas A&M looked at interview responses from roughly 2,800 12th graders across the U.S., taken as part of the annual Federal “Monitoring the Future” survey, which aims to monitor drug use by teens across the nation.

Alcohol gateway drug

Study of the data found that the majority of teens who responded to the survey had reported alcohol use that occurred before they began smoking cigarettes or marijuana. Furthermore, the study showed that marijuana was actually the least likely to be the first substance a teen tried, preceded instead by alcohol or tobacco.¹

While the study certainly doesn’t clear marijuana of its gateway accusations, it does shed new light on a previously unrecognized aspect of teen alcohol use. Ultimately, the survey data revealed that teens who had used alcohol had a much greater chance of later using marijuana—but not vice versa, as common sayings might imply.

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If you are the parent of a teen who is drinking regularly and may be at risk of further substance abuse, you already know how important it is to address the dependency as early as possible. If you yourself suffer from alcohol addiction, this is your wake-up call to take your life back!

Alcohol abuse doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Get started on the road to recovery today by contacting the understanding rehab professionals at Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers.