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An Evaluation of the Gateway Model as a Basis for Adolescent Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy - Part II

Principal Investigator: Andrew Golub, Ph.D.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Golub A., Johnson B.
Article Title: The misuse of the "gateway theory" in U.S. policy on drug abuse control: A secondary analysis of the muddled deduction
Journal: International Journal of Drug Policy
Volume/Issue/Pages: 13, 1: 5-19
Year: 2002
Much research (mostly from general population surveys) suggests that people typically use alcohol, tobacco and then marijuana, so called `gateway drugs', prior to any potential use of `hard drugs' like cocaine powder, crack and heroin. Other research (mostly with surveys of special populations) indicates that hard-drug use is associated with numerous social problems such as crime, routine violence, and lower productivity. A muddled interpretation of these separate findings has been widely misused in support of the US drug abuse prevention policies to suggest that gateway drugs cause hard-drug use and its associated problems. This paper superimposes secondary analyses of data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program. The findings indicate that (1) extremely few members of the general population become persistent daily hard-drug-using criminal offenders; and (2) an increasing percentage of daily hard-drug-using criminal offenders did not follow the gateway sequence of substance use progression. These results strongly suggest that the use of gateway drugs by youths is not the central cause of hard-drug use and its associated problems. Thus, fighting the use of gateway drugs by youths may not be a particularly appropriate approach to drug abuse prevention.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Golub A., Johnson B.D., Sifaneck S.J., Chesluk B., Parker H.
Article Title: Is the U.S. experiencing an incipient epidemic of hallucinogen use?
Journal: Substance Use and Misuse
Volume/Issue/Pages: 36, 12: 1699-1729
Year: 2001
NHSDA and MTF survey data indicate epidemic-like growth in hallucinogen use from 1992-1996 and associated increases in cocaine, crack, heroin and amphetamine use. These trends might have resulted from a proliferation of raves and dance clubs in the U.S. as occurred in Europe and elsewhere, although in contrast to evidence regarding European experiences the American epidemic involves primarily teens as opposed to persons in their twenties and involves primarily use of LSD as opposed to MDMA. This analysis highlights the need for further research into the context, significance, and consequences of these recently popular American drug use practices.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Dunlap E., Golub A., Johnson B.
Article Title: The lived experience of welfare reform in drug-using welfare-needy households in inner-city New York
Journal: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Volume/Issue/Pages: 30, 3:
Year: 2003
Welfare reform has transformed a needs-based family income support into temporary assistance for persons entering the workforce. This paper uses observations from an ethnographic study covering the period from 1995– 2001 to examine the impact on drug-using welfare-needy households in inner-city New York. The analysis suggests that studies may underestimate the extent to which substance use is associated with welfare problems. Nearly all of these already distressed households lost their AFDC/TANF benefits, had difficulty with work programs, and were having more difficulty covering expenses. The conclusion highlights ways to better study this population and policy initiatives that could help them reform their impoverished lives for themselves and their children.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Golub A., Johnson B.
Article Title: Variation in youthful risks of progression from alcohol and tobacco to marijuana and to hard drugs across generations
Journal: American Journal of Public Health
Volume/Issue/Pages: 91, 2: 225-232
Year: 2001
OBJECTIVES: Much research has documented that youthful substance use typically follows a sequence starting with use of alcohol or tobacco or both and potentially proceeding to marijuana and then hard drug use. This study explicitly examined the probabilities of progression through each stage and their covariates. METHODS: A secondary analysis of data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (1979-1997) was conducted with particular sensitivity to the nature of substance use progression, sampling procedures, and reliability of self-report data. RESULTS: Progression to marijuana and hard drug use was uncommon among persons born before World War II. The stages phenomenon essentially emerged with the baby boom and rose to a peak among persons born around 1960. Subsequently, progression risks at each stage declined. Progression risks were also higher among younger initiators of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana use. CONCLUSIONS: The recent increase in youthful marijuana use has been offset by lower rates of progression to hard drug use among youths born in the 1970s. Dire predictions of future hard drug abuse by youths who came of age in the 1990s may be greatly overstated.

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