Alcohol: The Real Gateway Drug

By Oscar Pascual |

Presidential hopeful Chris Christie clearly voiced his stance opposing marijuana legalization recently, bringing up every Drug Warrior’s favorite argument against pot.

“Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country,” Christie told conservative talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt. “We need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement.”

Proving that you can’t put a good Reefer Madness cliche down, Christie joins the ranks of fellow anti-cannabis politician, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and even children’s school program D.A.R.E. as the latest folks to implement the overused and debunked “Gateway Theory” argument against legalization.

The website recently parsed data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found that alcohol is the drug most people use first before trying others, as 88 percent of people have never tried another substance before drinking.

Comparatively, only 19 percent of people say weed is the first drug they’ve tried.

Even anti-drug federal agency the National Institute on Drug Abuse doesn’t believe that marijuana is a gateway drug.

“Most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances,” NIDA states on its website.

The reason why the gateway theory just won’t go away is addiction itself.

“Those who work in the vast addiction treatment profession are especially invested in keeping the gateway theory believable, since the majority of their treatment patients are marijuana users,” wrote Miriam Boeri, Associate Professor of Sociology at Bentley University, in a recent piece published on “Their jobs depend on a belief in addiction as a disease and on marijuana being an addictive drug.”

Despite the notion that pot leads to addiction, studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that medical marijuana could be a harm-reducing alternative to heroin and other opioids that could lead to potentially fatal overdoses.

“Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose,” the study concluded.

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