The idea of marijuana as a gateway drug to cocaine, meth, heroin and other hard candy seems to have gone the way of the on-every-corner crack dealer. In other words, it's a relic of Reagan-era, just-say-no hype.
Still, a new study suggests that potheads are more likely than non-tokers to abuse other drugs, mainly prescription medications:
However ... the study by Quest Diagnostics, "A Report on Marijuana and Prescription Drug Misuse in America," found that medical marijuana patients were not more likely to abuse outside drugs.
The research will be presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which starts tomorrow.
The study found that one in four prescription drug users it looked at had marijuana in their systems, making it the top recreational drug among subjects.
Nearly half (45 percent) of recreational pot users used other drugs, most often sedatives and "narcotic" pain killers, according to the report.
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About 37 percent of these tokers misused "other drugs" as well, the study says.
F. Leland McClure, director of pain management at Quest:.
Our data raises the possibility that people who use marijuana recreationally are more likely to misuse their prescribed medications and other drugs. This is disturbing in light of the prevalence of marijuana use ...