New Research Regarding Marijuana Use

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jan 13, 2003.

  1. By Erin O'Hearn
    Source: Capital News

    "Marijuana is a gateway drug." A phrase almost as recognizable as "Just Say No." But a study by the private, nonprofit RAND drug policy research center may be underpinning many US anti-drug policies and educational campaigns.
    Robin Barkenhagan, who favors the legalization of marijuana, said this is old news. Barkenhagan said, "I've known all along that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Gateway drugs are cigarettes, alcohol and hopelessness, to be frank about it."

    The study states 50 percent of teenagers tried marijuana by the time they were 16, while the majority had no exposure to cocaine, heroin or hallucinogens until they were 20. He said the four-year gap in exposure to the drugs raises doubts about the gateway theory. But Julia Frezco said you have to look at who is doing the study and why.

    Frezco said, "People have a lot of different reasons to put research studies in the media and always we need to think about who's pushing this to be broadcast in the media and we always need to understand that it's one study."

    Barkenhagan said, "Marijuana is not the first drug you do. It's more along the lines of one of the gateways one of the drugs that lead from the gateway once you have that alcohol and once you've smoked that cigarette you're probably going to try marijuana."

    Does the so-called gateway drug even exist? Some have said the term should be redefined as gateway behavior. After all, hard drug use cannot be attributed to any one thing.

    Frezco said, "What may be more dangerous than if they actually use the drugs is that they are actually engaging in the experience of getting high or getting intoxicated."

    There are a lot of drugs that produce that feeling of intoxication and pleasure, most notably alcohol.

    Barkenhagan said, "Marijuana is not going to lead you down the wrong path. If you continue abusing alcohol you'll go down the wrong path."

    Ironically, groups on both sides of the marijuana legalization issue use alcohol abuse as an argument for their cause.

    "The number one drug that we use and that people have a problem with is alcohol. And so one of the reasons I believe that is, is because it is legal," said Frezco.

    Researchers of the new study said it is not advocating the legalization of marijuana, but believe the government should reconsider the prominence of marijuana in its much publicized "war on drugs."

    Source: Capital News 9 (NY)
    Author: Erin O'Hearn
    Published: Sunday, January 12, 2002
    Copyright: 2003 TWEAN News Channel of Albany

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