According to a series of studies that have been conducted by researchers at the University of Florida over the past several years, alcohol is the real “gateway drug” for teens in the United States. This research finally gives some scientific opposition to the popular myth that cannabis is a gateway drug for young people, that supposedly leads them towards more dangerous drugs like meth or heroin.
The first study was conducted in 2012 and was titled, “Alcohol as a Gateway Drug: A Study of US 12th Graders.” In this study, researchers examined surveys of high school students to determine their interest in specific drugs and see how they got involved in the lifestyle. The results showed that a vast majority of the teens tried alcohol before anything else, and that alcohol was the drug that was causing the most trouble for young people.
“The findings from this investigation support that alcohol should receive primary attention in school‐based substance abuse prevention programming, as the use of other substances could be impacted by delaying or preventing alcohol use,” the study concluded.
The second study, which expanded upon these findings was titled “Prioritizing Alcohol Prevention: Establishing Alcohol as the Gateway Drug and Linking Age of First Drink With Illicit Drug Use.”
This new study picked up right where the conclusion of the previous research left off, by seeking to show that an increased focus on the dangers of alcohol in drug education programs would reduce the likelihood that a teenager would start down a path of drug addiction.