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What is the Role of a Gateway Drug?

Apr 11, 2018 | Drug Addiction, QA

You may hear time and again that hanging around the wrong people may be the gateway that leads you to do things that you might not have had previous knowledge about before. Hanging around the older, “cooler” crowd might really translate to “people who do drugs and drink alcohol”.

The definition of a gateway drug is the theory that trying one drug will lead to the next that is harder, more dangerous, and possibly illicit. A person does not usually just decide to try cocaine or heroin on a whim. The environment that somebody is in or becomes a part of can dictate the type of conditions that they will be exposed to.

The theory shows people may begin to try smoking cigarettes. After awhile, cigarettes may become boring and less effective, so marijuana may be introduced to liven things up. Now that a mind-altering drug has been introduced in the form of marijuana, getting high feels so good that getting to the next level of feeling good must be achieved. This is where drinking alcohol may be put into the mix. With alcohol and marijuana combined, somebody will most likely lose their inhibitions so much that if cocaine, heroin, or anything else was offered to them, they may do it to be cool or get high, not thinking of the risks or consequences that are involved.  

Many people do not consider marijuana to be an addicting drug and use it for medicinal purposes. Depending on which state someone lives in, marijuana has become more socially accepted along with the already socially accepted alcohol. With the gateway mentality, the entry of socially accepted substances can extend to more dangerous illegal substances that can put someone in jeopardy of becoming a hard-core addict.  

This does not mean that everybody that tries cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana will automatically become someone who has an addiction. There is no way to classify everyone the same in this capacity. The message boils down to the same PSA that you probably heard when you were in school – drugs and alcohol are addicting and if you try something that has been designated as addicting, you may just become addicted.

The best bet is to not put yourself in the position of peer pressure or experimentation in the first place. Although this may be considered a normal rite of passage, passing altogether will surely make things right in your world.

If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, Serenity Oaks Wellness Center has a treatment program that can show you how to stay sober. Our holistic therapy and 12-Step aspects combined can help someone to stay on the path of recovery.

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