Alcohol Named the Gateway Drug to Other Substance Use
Posted by Drug Free Homes in Alcohol Abuse on July 12th, 2012

If you’re worried about your kids’ potential to abuse marijuana or illegal substances, perhaps, what you need to do as early as now is to keep them off alcohol. At least, that’s what researchers suggested following a new study that reveals alcohol as the first substance to be tried by students.
The researchers obtained data from Monitoring the Future study on more than 14,500 high school students from 120 schools across the United States. They checked for use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, amphetamines, tranquilizers and other narcotics, and found that alcohol, not marijuana, triggers drug abuse among teenagers.

Although the study did not clearly describe how drug abuse actually starts, it provided some idea about a good intervention program to keep children from becoming long-term drug abusers.

Adam Barry, an assistant professor and researcher in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, said ” By recognizing the important predictive role of alcohol and delaying initiation of alcohol use, school officials and public health leaders can positively impact the progression of substance use. I am confident in our findings and the clear implications they have for school-based prevention programs. By delaying and/or preventing the use of alcohol, these programs can indirectly reduce the rate of use of other substances.”

Alcohol is widely available and has become a staple in many social gatherings. Unlike other substances, such as marijuana and cocaine, alcohol is considered by many as less harmful, forgetting the fact that it can be as addictive as other drugs of abuse. Still, the researchers say that parents should prevent teenagers from drinking and that increasing zero-tolerance policy at home is best to help prevent adolescent’s alcohol use.