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Is The "Gateway Drug" Theory Dead?

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  • Is The "Gateway Drug" Theory Dead?

    America Doesn't Understand Gateway Drugs

    A new Columbia University study finds that teens are increasingly rejecting cigarettes and alcohol in favor of cannabis as their entry point for psychoactive drug use, a result of them experimenting with fewer substances overall and not starting until later in life compared to adolescents of previous generations. The findings call into question the validity of the long-held "Gateway Drug" theory, which was the basis of government programs like D.A.R.E. and Just Say No back in the 80's and early 90's.

    To Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the new data illustrates the gateway’s flawed logic. “With this dramatic drop in cigarette use and drinking, if those substances were actually a gateway to marijuana, you’d think we’d see similar decreases in marijuana use,” he says. “But it’s fairly stable among adolescents. You’re not seeing a significant causal relationship.” Nadelmann is right about the numbers: Adolescent cannabis use isn’t moving much, even in places where it’s been legalized recreationally, while usage rates for other psychoactive drugs in both lower and higher stages of the supposed gateway sequence continue to fluctuate in ways that have no obvious relationship to cannabis use.

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    Personally, I was always at least a little skeptical of the Gateway Drug theory, especially the component that made weed an inflection point to harder drugs. This is anecdotal of course, but the kids at my high school who used hard drugs were more likely to also drink than smoke pot.

  • #2
    Feel like it was debunked even back when DARE was pushing it.

    I remember them quoting the high school dropout stats for marijuana users to us in sixth grade and said marijuana use caused the drop outs. I raised my hand and suggested there are pretty obviously other factors that would contribute to both and I was sent out of the room. Told me all I needed to know about DARE on day one.

    I also got got kicked out of a later DARE session when I asked if someone had sex with a monkey since they told us AIDS was transmitted from sex and it was originally only in monkeys. I continued to wonder about that for many years after.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LARPHawk View Post
      Feel like it was debunked even back when DARE was pushing it.

      I remember them quoting the high school dropout stats for marijuana users to us in sixth grade and said marijuana use caused the drop outs. I raised my hand and suggested there are pretty obviously other factors that would contribute to both and I was sent out of the room. Told me all I needed to know about DARE on day one.

      I also got got kicked out of a later DARE session when I asked if someone had sex with a monkey since they told us AIDS was transmitted from sex and it was originally only in monkeys. I continued to wonder about that for many years after.
      Yeah, the original study that gave rise to the gateway theory seemed to conclude that nicotine and alcohol were more responsible than marijuana, but for some (pretty obvious, IMO) reasons, D.A.R.E. and Just Say No emphasized marijuana more heavily.

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      • #4
        I learned it from YOU DAD!

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        • #5
          Now, I don't care about the gateway drug theory. I just want to know who had sex with a monkey.

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          • #6
            Apparently someone ate monkey brains at some point or something like that if I remember right.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LARPHawk View Post
              Apparently someone ate monkey brains at some point or something like that if I remember right.
              Thanks a lot, Indiana Jones.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MissTCShore View Post
                Now, I don't care about the gateway drug theory. I just want to know who had sex with a monkey.
                Sorry bout that, twas a lonely time.

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                • #9
                  I see you over there, monkey. In that bellboy hat and sequined vest lookin’ all guuuuud...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MissTCShore View Post
                    Now, I don't care about the gateway drug theory. I just want to know who had sex with a monkey.
                    While I've never had intercourse with any of our simian pals, let he or she who hasn't flung their own hot, fresh poop-cakes at gawkers throw the first stone.

                    OP: A new Columbia University study finds that teens are increasingly rejecting cigarettes and alcohol in favor of cannabis as their entry point for psychoactive drug use

                    Is it just me or are teens shifting away from being so fucking stupid in thinking that cigarettes and booze was somehow psychoactive? It almost reads as..."After decades of attempting to trip balls off Marlboro Reds washed down with Busch Light or Mad Dog...teens are waking up to the buzz of what many on the streets refer to as "dope", "hippy lettuce" or "marijuana cigarettes".

                    Given that these same kids have now grown up steeped in quick and easy access to knowledge of EVERYTHING that can be found on the webs, I think it's a function of bypassing a lot of wasted effort getting wasted and instead knowing what to take if one wants to tune in, turn on and drop out. Or acid. But then again kids are for the most part pretty dumb until they get older so maybe Columbia was indeed on to something there. Maybe it's a generational thing too. If mom/dad regaled their adult friends about those crazy date dashes and chugging pitchers, doing the same in 2018 can't be remotely considered cool.
                    Last edited by Hokken; 4 days ago.

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