Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?

Hans Olav Melberg, Andrew M. Jones, Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The gateway hypothesis proposes that use of cannabis directly increases the risk of consuming hard drugs. We test this controversial, but influential, hypothesis on a sample of cannabis users, exploiting a unique set of drug price data. A flexible approach is developed to identify the causal gateway effect using a bivariate survival model with shared frailty estimated using a latent class approach. The model suggests two distinct groups; a smaller group of "troubled youths" for whom there is a statistically significant gateway effect that more than doubles the hazard of starting to use hard drugs and a larger fraction of youths for whom previous cannabis use has less impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-603
Number of pages21
JournalEmpirical Economics
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Duration analysis
  • Gateway hypothesis
  • Illicit drugs
  • Latent class models

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