De La Haye, Winston
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
Exposure Opportunity to Substances of Abuse
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
The 'gateway theory' is a concept used to link alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine use. Based on the theory, substance abuse is thought to follow a progression beginning with experimentation and recreational use of alcohol and cigarettes. A mechanism developed for explaining the 'gateway theory' is the 'exposure opportunity' used by James Anthony to study why drug use takes place. Exposure opportunity looks at the process of drug use beginning with the initial stage to regular drug use and then dependence. The theory suggests that alcohol and tobacco users are more likely to use marijuana once there is 'marijuana exposure opportunity'. Similarly, marijuana users are considered more likely to use cocaine once there is a 'cocaine exposure opportunity'. Anthony's findings showed a comparative estimate of US residents having an opportunity to try marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin to be 51%, 23%, 14% and 5% respectively. Opportunity to try was (p < 0.0001) and actual use of marijuana (p < 0.001) was more likely in users of tobacco and alcohol than nonusers once marijuana exposure opportunity had occurred.....