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Yale study: Alcohol’s gateway effect much larger than marijuana’s

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A Yale study published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that people who used alcohol or tobacco in their youth are almost twice as likely to abuse prescription opiate drugs than those who only used marijuana.

Researchers were careful to specify that any youth substance abuse, including just marijuana use, makes people more than twice as likely to abuse prescription opiate drugs in young adulthood. However, the study’s authors noted that clinical data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that of the 12 percent of young adults who said they’d abused prescription opiates, “prevalence of previous substance use was 57% for alcohol, 56% for cigarettes, and 34% for marijuana.”

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The Centers for Disease Control said in January that prescription opiate overdoses kill more Americans every year than cocaine and heroin overdoses combined.

Interestingly, the Yale study also found a bit of a gender skew that may indicate boys are naturally more inclined than girls to engage in risk-taking behaviors. “We found that among young boys, all previous substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana), but only previous marijuana use in young girls, was associated with an increased likelihood of subsequent abuse of prescription opioids during young adulthood,” researchers wrote.

The findings seem to confirm a study published last month in The Journal of School Health, which fleshed out several misconceptions about the so-called “gateway drug” theory and pinpointed alcohol, instead of marijuana, as the most commonly abused substance for first-time drug users.

Researchers used the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey to prove that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether an individual will abuse other more dangerous substances. In doing so, the School Health study proved that there is data which correlates to a so-called “gateway effect,” showing that the largest gateway is actually alcohol.

“If you take [our findings] and apply them to a school health setting, we believe that you are going to get the best bang for your buck by focusing on alcohol,” study co-author Adam E. Barry told Raw Story. Public health officials have been making similar efforts with tobacco, saying they’re encouraged by the success of educational ad campaigns that show the true health effects experienced by many life-long smokers.

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Yale researchers reached a similar conclusion, saying: “Prevention efforts targeting early substance abuse may help to curb the abuse of prescription opioids.”

A study published in 2010 in the medical journal Lancet ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug known to man, with more than double the potential harms of heroin use.
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Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

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Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report

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Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.

"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."

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Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report

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The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.

"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.

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‘You can say Merry Christmas again’: Lara and Eric Trump declare victory in the War on Christmas

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For years, conservatives have complained about a "War on Christmas" -- but President Donald Trump finally won the war, according to his son and daughter-in-law.

Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro interviewed Eric Trump and his wife Lara in Trump Tower, which Pirro called the "New York White House."

Pirro told the two they had "done wonderful things for the country" and said Trump had ended political correctness and people could say "Merry Christmas."

"You can say Merry Christmas again," Lara Trump said. "Isn't that so nice, Jeanine?"

"It's incredible," Eric Trump said. "It is nice to say Merry Christmas again."

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