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Three Gateway Drugs…Opening the Door to Addiction

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Gateway drugs are considered to be early predictors of future drug use.  Early introduction to alcohol and tobacco is targeted for study because these are the most likely substances for adolescents.  Marijuana is also considered, though not as the introductory type of drug.  Most addicted drug users started with alcohol or cigarettes before even trying marijuana.

Could the cigarette you are smoking entice you to enter into a world of illicit drug use?  What about the alcohol, can you be sure that you will always stay a drinker and never a pill popper?  Did the marijuana at the last party come laced with some really good stuff?  Or was that hash you smoked last time?  Are you not enjoying the stuff you used to smoke?  Just about now, you may be thinking “ridiculous!”  The cigarette smoker is not even close to being considered a drug user.  What about alcohol?  We can all agree that there are endless ways to stick with alcohol and enjoy drinking.  You might even think that there is NO way that drinker would be interested in snorting powder.

According to recent research, there may be a correlation between gateway drugs and addiction.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) provides the following illustrations:  

“Among 12-to 17-year-olds with no other problem behaviors, those who drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes at least once in the past month are 30 times likelier to smoke marijuana than those who didn’t. These correlations are more pronounced for girls than boys: for girls, 36 times likelier; for boys, 27 times likelier.”

Studies also show that teens who use all three gateway drugs are 17 times more likely to use stronger drugs within a month.

It is easy for things to get out of control when you are using any form of addictive substance.  Drugusingtype behaviors are largely to blame. The person who finds that he can only enjoy being with people who smoke or drink and use marijuana will be at a higher risk.  It is very likely that, eventually, you will be offered stronger drugs.  And just think about it…it wasn’t that long ago when you were in high school and a six-pack of beer and some cigarettes were all it took to get the party rolling.

Predicting the future is tricky business: it’s like unrolling a ball of yarn.  Imagine that the first ten yards are pretty easy to manage.  Stretched out across the floor, the end of the string is still in sight.  The rolledup ball still fits nicely in your hand, but you can’t be sure how far the ball of string will stretch.   Now, picture the ball turning into a woolly renegade that takes off on its own, out of control.  Where the string ends is a mystery; if you chase after it, you will find out when you get there.  That is how it is with using any addictive substance, even the ones considered to be acceptable and safe.  If you or a loved one has opened the gate a little too far towards addiction, it is time to take action and seek help.

Northpoint Recovery is a private, highly specialized drug and alcohol detox and rehab treatment center located in Southwestern Idaho. We specialize in helping adults, adolescents and families affected by substance use who require inpatient and detox services. We accept most forms of insurance, credit cards and private payment. For More information, please visit us at

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By |2019-10-07T22:06:40+00:00March 27th, 2015|

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