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Acta Paediatr. 2015 Feb;104(2):130-7. doi: 10.1111/apa.12851. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

The Gateway Hypothesis of substance abuse: developmental, biological and societal perspectives.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA; Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA; New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

The Gateway Hypothesis describes how tobacco or alcohol use precedes marijuana and other illicit drug use. We review the epidemiological data, explore the underlying molecular mechanisms in mice and discuss the societal implications of the hypothesis, including the use of e-cigarettes by young people.

CONCLUSION:

Our mouse model identifies biological processes underlying the hypothesis, showing that nicotine is a gateway drug that exerts a priming effect on cocaine through increased global acetylation in the striatum.

KEYWORDS:

Cocaine; E-cigarettes; Gateway Hypothesis; Histone acetylation; Nicotine

PMID:
25377988
DOI:
10.1111/apa.12851
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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