Marijuana as a Gateway Drug

2211 Words Jun 15th, 2012 9 Pages
Sociology 225
Research Paper

Marijuana as a Gateway Drug
The gateway theory is a hypothesis which states that the use of gateway drugs (alcohol, tobacco and marijuana) lead to the use of more illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. “Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Marijuana is thus considered by the U.S. government to be more dangerous than cocaine and opium - both Schedule II drugs, and at the same time a
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Risk of hard drug use goes up with marijuana use as a matter of circumstance not due to an unbreakable link.
There are two parts to the gateway theory: 1) those that use illicit substances like cocaine or heroin will use marijuana first and 2) the use of marijuana exerts a casual influence on one’s likelihood of using other illicit substances. According to the "Can Social Psychological Delinquency Theory Explain The Link Between Marijuana and Other Illicit Drug Use?” article, the study set out to disprove the second qualification of the gateway theory. However, it failed to do so because the results suggested “those who use marijuana are between three and five times more likely than counterparts to use other illicit drugs even after adjusting statistically for the influence for strain, social bonding and differential association.” It noted that the “results were observed across multiple time points and across multiple methods, one of which adjusts statistically for the influence of unmeasured variables.” It conceded the point that the use of marijuana may contribute in a casual manner to one’s probability of using other illicit drugs. It has been widely regarded that “postponing youths’ marijuana initiation, prevention efforts will reduce the likelihood of hard drug use and abuse” (Yamaguchi & Kandel 1984b; Kandel et al. 1992; Golub & Johnson 2001). Postponing one’s marijuana initiation to a certain extent only brings them closer to the drug underworld. In a

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