Marijuana is thought by some to be a gateway drug among young people who eventually go on to try stronger substances. But that may be the exception rather than the rule, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire looked at data from a random group of 1,286 children, teens and young adults who were in Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Among the study participants, 26% were African American, 44% were Hispanic, and 30% were non-Hispanic white.
They were asked about their substance use and about exposure to major events and traumas that occurred before age 13. Some questions included, "Did you ever fail a grade at school?", "Did your parents ever divorce/separate?" and "Were you regularly emotionally abused by one of your caretakers?"
Education played a role in use of other substances--those more likely to have used marijuana as teens and other drugs as young adults didn't graduate from high school or go to college. Employment factored in as well, since those who smoked pot as teens and were out of work after high school were more apt to use other drugs.