Gateway Theory

This edition of Prevention Works lists some studies, which look at the gateway/addiction theory of progressive drug misuse. The implications for prevention are clear – Early use of nicotine, alcohol and marijuana is a predictor of later use of cocaine (etc. …)

Predicting continued use of marijuana among adolescents: the relative influence of drug-specific and social context factors.

Bailey SL. Flewelling RL. Rachal JV Journal of Health and Social Behavior1992:33:51-66

Compared with people who used only one gateway drug (tobacco, alcohol and marijuana), children who used all three are 77 times more likely to use cocaine.
Children who smoke daily are 13 times more likely to use heroin than children who smoke less often.

Compton DR. Dewey WL. Martin BR. Advances in Alcohol and Substance Abuse. 199O:9:129-147. [Cannabis dependence and tolerance production]

Children who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than non-marijuana users. 90% of children who used marijuana, smoked or drank first. Children who drink are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than non drinkers.

Children who use gateway drugs – tobacco, alcohol and marijuana are up to 266 times more likely to use cocaine than those who don’t use any gateway drugs.
Study concludes nearly 90% of cocaine users smoked, drank and used marijuana

Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), Oct. 27, 1994.

A 12- year-old who smokes is 30 times more likely to have used illicit drugs than a child of the same age who doesn’t smoke. This analysis proves that, for too many children cigarettes are a drug of entry into the world of illicit drugs

Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), March 10, 1994.

Marijuana’s role as a gateway drug to serious drug use appears to have increased.

Golub A. Johnson BD. The Shifting Importance of Alcohol and Marijuana as Gateway Substances among Serious Drug Abusers. J. Stud Alcohol 1994:55:607-614.

Very few try illicit drugs other than marijuana without prior use of marijuana.

Kandel DB. Yamaguchi K. Chen K. Stages of Progression in Drug Involvement from Adolescence to Adulthood: Further Evidence for the Gateway Theory, J Stud. Alcohol; 1992:447-457.

Study describes cannabis dependence. Impaired cognitive skills and functioning were documented in chronic cannabis users.

Lundqvist. Life Science, Vol. 56 pp 2145 -2155.

Brain event-related measures normalize during acute marijuana intoxication. suggesting a basis for the physical dependence component of marijuana use.

Solowij et at. Life Sciences, Vol. 56 pp 2127-2134. 1995.

The chronic use of cocaine. particularly when used with marijuana, sets up craving behavior by depleting brain dopamine and norepinephrine.

Mirochnik, et at. Pediatrics 99:555-559,1997.

A 12-step treatment approach for marijuana (cannabis) dependence.

Miller NS, Gold MS. Pottash AC. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 1989; 6:24 1-250.

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