Yes, legalized marijuana is, for many people, a gateway drug. When they start to smoke pot, something triggers inside them -- a dependency to the chemicals or the feelings they create. This then leads to stronger drugs in a constant need for the next bigger, better high. Hence, we now have a heroin epidemic.
Heroin addiction often starts with prescribed painkillers. There is a difference between opiates and marijuana. I don’t oppose the use of medical marijuana. I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline.
Marijuana has literally nothing to do with the heroin epidemic, which has exploded because of the thousands and thousands of people who are addicted to prescription painkillers. When they are no longer able to fill the prescription (generally because of a 'crackdown'), they turn to other ways to get high. In many cases, heroin is actually the cheapest alternative. It's the idiotic overreaction of the government that has created the heroin epidemic, after the idiotic overreaction that drove people to seek "legal" highs instead of marijuana in the first place.
The ;latest heroin epidemic is the result of the curtailment of opiates such as Oxycontin and has nothing to do with legalized pot. There are only four states where marijuana is legal for recreational use and there is nothing to indicate a link between recreational use marijuana and heroin usage. The recent heroin epidemic is a nationwide crisis and is not confined to states that have legalized pot for either recreational or medical use. If anything, legalized recreational marijuana has probably reduced the rate of heroin use. More 9intense studies need to be done before such an erroneous assumption is made.