Gateway Drug Myth

Nogueria, Felipe. “Where Drug Myths Die: An Interview with Carl Hart.” EBSOHOST. Skeptic. 2015. Web. 18 July 2015.

Within this article Author Felipe Nogueira provides an Interview between himself and Carl Hart, an Associate Professor in the departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. As a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Hart argues his reasoning when asked about marijuana, which is perceived by many as a gateway drug.

Nogueria deems Dr. Hart as the myth buster of drugs due to his highly credited background before asking for response to the first posed question upon skeptics, which is “Many people believe marijuana is a gateway drug. Is it?” Dr. Hart simply states that marijuana is not a gateway drug although he adds that “it is true that people who use heroin and cocaine used marijuana before these drugs.” He explains this reasoning by suggesting to look at the facts. The vast majority of marijuana users don’t continue to move to those harder drugs, therefore it is not a gateway drug as he puts it. Adding an example to this illogical sort of stamen, Dr. Hart says “It would be like saying that “the last three presidents of the United States used marijuana before they became president. Therefore, Marijuana is a gateway drug to the White House”.” Ultimately debunking, in a joking matter, the theory generally speaking.

When asked about addiction, which holds a relation to the gateway theory, Dr. Hart provides the definition of drug addiction: “Is behavior that disrupts your psychosocial functions, your job, your family life, and these behavioral disruptions have to occur on multiple occasions.” Arguing that addiction requires “work”. In order to become addicted such behavioral disruptions must happen on multiple occasions. Anything taken once does not cause anyone to become addicted. Thus, by definition it is not addiction.

Answering more questions relating to other drug abuse usage Hart is asked about how many believe marijuana or cocaine kills nerve cells. Dr. Hart responds that any drug taken in large doses could have the ability do kill brain cells. He continues stating that such doses are 20-80 times larger than what people usually take. Also, Dr. Hart argues that the rate of addiction of marijuana is very low at 10% at I in 3 people compared to the 33% of people who will become addicted to tobacco and 15% to alcohol.

This interview has given valuable and credible insight on the question of marijuana being a gateway drug. Having a source as such provides a better understanding of where I personally stand on the issue and further enhances my viewpoint. Dr. Hart clearly states his own opinion based on the science of it all, which is more reliable and closer to the truth. Overall, this interview should ultimately clear perhaps not all but some myths surrounding marijuana and its use as a gateway drug.


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14 Responses to Gateway Drug Myth

  1. Evelyn

    I am very intrigued by the “gateway theory” because there are so many reasons against it, and they seem true. All my life, marijuana was seen as the starter to other harder narcotics, but it turns out it actually isn’t the gateway. I liked the joke about the “gateway to the white house”. It was very funny, great summary!

  2. acb3897

    I like this article! I think Dr. Hart’s points really shine through with the way you state them. I also think that his points are obviously biased to one side, which is great in this case, and bring a comical and informative side to the topic of “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” He highlighted a good point, just because many people who have done harsher drugs did marijuana before, does not solidify that marijuana has led them to harsher drugs. Sure, one is exposed to the drugs, but it was their choice to use harsher drugs, not anyone elses’. Nice job!

  3. Robert

    So if I smoke marijuana I can become president one day???? Awesome! Just kidding. Anyways, Dr. Hart makes great points against the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug. I was taught that it is when in reality it isn’t. In honesty, if we’re going to call it a gateway then pretty much everything is a gateway because everything is connected. Back to the topic, I really like the defining of an addiction and how Dr. Hart then uses it to justify his claim. Now I see more of how marijuana isn’t a gateway but people looking for better highs and ultimately leading to other drugs.

  4. Kathy Vo

    This article explain why marijuana is not a gateway drug is pure genius because it show the understanding of individual who witnessed those that had done marijuana and had not start a rough path of addiction to harsher drugs. The research and statistic reason are on point as it shows me that any type narcotics can be a gateway drug as well, and lead me to question “Why isn’t alcohol and cigarettes are not blame too?”.

  5. Sabrina

    The “Gateway Theory” is a really interesting subject in my opinion because it’s one of the main reasons why people are scared of marijuana becoming legalized for recreational use. Also, there are so many other legal things, like prescribed painkillers that are extremely addictive and more harmful than marijuana, yet marijuana is still illegal. Once you research the topic, it really makes you think “Is pot really the gateway to other drugs?” I say no because of the point that are emphasized in articles like this.

  6. Juan

    This article has an interesting concept. Many people claim that marijuana is a gateway drug while others disagree. From the article I get the feeling that even highly educated disregard that notion that it is a gateway drug. I think that using the phrase ‘gateway drug’ makes it seem that the drug would have the same effect on everyone. With that I don’t think that marijuana makes everyone feel the same way but it’s still interesting how other people see the phrase “gateway drug.”

  7. Telana

    I really liked this source because it was actual an interview. I understood the author’s viewpoint because it was explained well and the statistics were very supportive. I was intrigued. Great choice for a research summary!!

  8. Kamran

    the term “gateway drug” is very vaguely used by people and we have not defend that word very well. It is interesting that many people don’t see marijuana as a gateway drug, but some people do. I think that marijuana is a gateway drug because the more people will smoke it the stimulation will increase.

  9. Shayla Myers

    If I’m being honest, I didn’t technically know what the term “gateway drug” was. Therefore I found this article valuable because it explained what it was and even gave a good example to insure its readers.
    Now that I know what it means, I can stand on this authors side for I don’t personally believe it is a gateway drug. Imagine if it was though… There would be soooo many people strung out on heroin and cocaine.

  10. Henry Barragan

    I never thought of marijuana as a gateway drug. So whenever people told me all these tales of how it will lead you to a life of drugs, I always thought it out as just stupid scare tactics. But Not to sound too hypocritical, I personally will still never use it. Yet, I’m glad to know that there are others who agree that those stories are mostly fake.

  11. Nothing but scare tactics. Marijuana is absolutely not a gateway drug, maybe a gateway to the fridge! I personally know this first hand and like how the Dr. backs up the claim with his information. Just saying that there are living examples out there that you know..

  12. Kevin

    I believe that the gateway theory is just that a theory, it can be proven and it can’t be denied. The reason why I believe that is because there are so many different cases on how the person is altered by the drug, some will go to harder drugs some will just leave it at marijuana. What it really comes down to though is the person’s self control to use only marijuana and turn off the gate way effect.

  13. Topanga

    I found this summary very interesting. A lot of people believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, and I personally have known people who start out with pot and go on to hard drugs. Dr. Hart made an point that marijuana cannot be addicting, and I have to disagree. In my opinion marijuana can slow productivity, ambition, and can become a crutch for many people. I do like the fact that Dr.Hart has a background psychology and psychiatry, so he knows the behaviors of people and how something like marijuana can affect them.

  14. Shaniece!

    I also disagree with Dr. Hart because marijuana influences the brain to the point where addiction is possible. The research that I did actually revealed that the addiction is the reason marijuana is so dangerous. The chemicals have so much power that they impact neurological processes and it becomes impossible to function properly without it.

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