The debate has raged for years whether or not marijuana is the gateway drug.

It depends on which study you believe.

Recently a Journal of School Health article indicated that alcohol was the substance that led young users towards other drugs.

The study, which crunched the numbers of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey, indicated that marijuana was not the culprit.

Now Yale University researchers have released a study which contradicts those claims.

Using the numbers from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) studies from 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The Yale researchers looked at 55,215 18- to 25-year-olds.

6,496, about 12 percent, reported that they were abusing prescription opioids.

Of the group abusing these drugs, about 57 percent had used alcohol, 56 percent had smoked cigarettes and 34 percent had used marijuana.

The study found that, among both men and women, those who had used marijuana were 2.5 times more likely than those their age who abstained to later dabble in prescription drugs.

Also, young men who drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes were 25 percent more likely to abuse prescription opioids.

The study didn’t show any relation between alcohol or cigarette use in young women and later use of prescription drugs.

Of course, marijuana advocates are blasting the study, saying that it is just anti-cannabis propaganda.

But parents can have their say.

There are millions of teens abusing prescription drugs, and millions more using marijuana.

Not all marijuana users turn to harder drugs, but talk to those using more dangerous drugs and they will tell you, they started with marijuana.

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