Doctor’s Diary January 11, 2018: The other gateway drug

(Snippets from the frontline)

The other gateway drug

Many states are on the road to legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana.  Much of this is related to change in cultural attitudes, and some from governmental need for tax revenue. 

In order to achieve an appearance of moral concern, legislators have over-regulated cannabis strictly legalizing the amount one can possess, grow, and sell.  But there are no similar controls for the under-regulated use of alcohol.

An argument in the past for not legalizing marijuana was it is “gateway” leading to the use of other habit-forming drugs and possible death.  Let’s face it though, alcohol has historically been “gateway” leading to addiction, family disruption, road fatalities, and poor health. 

Other than during Prohibition, alcohol is an accepted part of society with commercial advertisement, sold at grocery stores, and consumed at restaurants, tailgating parties, and in home bars.  Except for the use of breathalyzers and the illusionary age limit of 18, the abuse of alcohol is barely on the radar of government. 

Too bad, because it should be.  

Let us hope that with the controversial hype marijuana is now receiving, we don’t forget to keep the other gateway drug in our crosshairs.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

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