Thursday, September 2, 2010

Study Shows Marijuana’s Risk as a Gateway Drug is Overstated

By Ron Crumpton

A study from the University of New Hampshire shows that illicit drugs use is affected more by lifestyle factors than by early use of marijuana.

According to the study, employment status, stress, race and ethnicity are much stronger predictors of whether a person will use hard drugs as compared to marijuana use.

University of New Hampshire associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellion conducted the study. It will appear in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior’s September 2010 issue.

Researchers used statistics gathered from over 1,200 students attending the Miami-Dade public schools during the 90’s.

"While marijuana use may serve as a gateway to other illicit drug use in adolescence, our results indicate that the effect may be short-lived, subsiding by age 21. Interestingly, age emerges as a protective status above and beyond the other life statuses and conditions considered here. We find that respondents 'age out' of marijuana's gateway effect regardless of early teen stress exposure or education, work, or family statuses," the study says.

Keeping marijuana out of the hands of children should be everyone’s priority, but evidence continues to mount that proves that it poses no real threat to adults.

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