Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?
The gateway hypothesis proposes that cannabis use increases the risk of starting to consume hard drugs. We test this controversial, but influential, hypothesis on a sample of cannabis users employing a unique set of drug prices. 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 doubles the hazard of starting to use hard drugs and a larger fraction of “most youths” where previous cannabis use has little impact.
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Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
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