Gateway Drugs

In discussions of drugs and addictions, much debate is around the introduction of gateway drugs. These are the substances that may seem relatively innocuous, but ultimately lead to harder drugs, addiction, and crime. Usually, the drugs considered are alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, or prescription medication.  however, Martin A. Andresen writing in the Science Creative Quarterly takes a tongue in cheek look at the earliest possible harbinger of addiction—mother’s milk.

This approach is often referred to as the gateway hypothesis. Simply stated, when an individual uses a particular substance that individual is more likely to move on to a more severe substance. For example, it is often hypothesized that marijuana is a gateway to cocaine and other illicit drugs. In fact, this hypothesis has international evidence…

This literature fundamentally works backward from the most severe drugs to the least severe drugs. However, because of data limitations, previous research has not identified the gateway drug. In this paper, I add to this literature through the identification of the ultimate gateway drug. This identification has clear implications for theory, practice, public policy, and potential drug users around the world.

He pokes fun at some of the way some researchers use statistical power to exaggerate the use of small sample size. In his results, he looks at the influence that some substances have on eventual cocaine use. The substances examines are cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, toast, infant formula, breast milk, and a combination of  formula and mother’s milk.

Table 1 shows that 95, 94, and 93 percent of cocaine users previously used marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco, respectively. Obviously, all three of these illicit and licit drugs need to be banned to prevent the onset of cocaine use.

It is important to note at this point that the sampling method employed for data gathering focused on current cocaine users. In order to properly test the gateway hypothesis I would have needed data that would allow me to differentiate between marijuana actually opening the gate for cocaine use or simply a phenomenon of individuals successively moving from soft to hard drugs. However, I prefer to stick my head in the sand on this issue and assume that my data are representative of the former process and not the later.

According to his numbers, 96% of cocaine users have eaten toast, although research does not indicate whether it matters  what condiments are used, or which side these condiments are spread. Ultimately however, it comes down to infancy and how we are fed

The most remarkable result is in regard to infant formula and mother’s milk. Though individually each of these substances have been used by a relatively low percentage of cocaine users, compared to the other substances, one must remember that all infants have likely had one or both of these substances. Combined together, 129.8 percent of cocaine users in our sample have had either infant formula and/or mother’s milk—this number of greater than 100 percent because a subset of our sample received both mother’s milk and infant formula because they were ravenous beasts as infants.

Given the analysis, it is impossible to refute his recommendation for areas of further study.

we must now perform a cost-benefit study to investigate any gains for our society from this adequate nutrition for infants given their greater risk of hard-core drug use and its corresponding social ills.

He uses tables, statistics, and references. We can therefore establish this as verified research and use it to spread information across the internet to influence public policy on the war on drugs.

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