Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

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Critical Issue Analysis: Marijuana

Janet Matthews

University of Phoenix

April 22, 2009

Critical Issue Analysis: Marijuana

Gfroerer, J. W. (2005). Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug

First time marijuana use will lead to harder drugs, creates health risks including HIV.

Earleywine, M. (2004). Marijuana Is Not a Gateway to Other Addictive Drugs.

Most marijuana users do not touch hard drugs.

First time marijuana use does not mean an individual will use harder drugs because people will use whatever drug is available when they are ready to experiment. According to data from the 2000 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), 14 million Americans smoke pot currently. Although data from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey coincided with NHSDA results of long-term abuse trends and showed youth between the ages of 12 – 17 account for 2/3 of new pot smokers, these surveys also state that very little data available about first time marijuana use. The 2001 NHSDA report showed 83 million Americans who tried marijuana first never used heroin. Additionally, another survey indicates 39% of substance abusers started with a drug other than marijuana.

The first article claims first time marijuana usage could have impact on future substance abuse treatment and the earlier the person is who starts has the potential to contract HIV as well as have developmental challenges that would hinder finding a job. Whereas, the second article claims minimal hard drug usage after trying marijuana and the possibility that teens will begin to sniff glue once they realize the lies. While using statistics is a good way to get a fact-based point across, the creator tends to lean the stats in favor in order to make the point, as in the first article. In this case, the article is full of stats along with possible negative causes and effects of using marijuana for the...
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