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What Is a Gateway Drug?

an addiction treatment expert discusses gateway drugs like marijuana with a concerned parent

In recent years, the term “gateway drug” has become more widely used and understood. But what exactly is a gateway drug? And how can it lead to more serious substance abuse?

Prairie Recovery understands the dangers of gateway drugs and the role they can play in leading to more serious substance abuse. Here, we provide expert treatment and care to help our clients overcome addiction and build a foundation for lasting recovery. Call us at 844.979.4310 to learn more about our marijuana addiction treatment program.

What Is a Gateway Drug?

The title of this article, “What is a Gateway Drug?” is an important topic for anyone considering rehab, as it can help them understand the risks involved in using drugs.

A gateway drug is a substance that leads to the use of harder drugs. The substances are often used as a stepping stone to harder drugs because they are seen as less harmful. However, gateway drugs can be just as harmful as the drugs they lead to.

Types Of Gateway Drugs

People often start using gateway drugs because they’re curious or want to fit in with a certain group. They are often used by young people who are experimenting with drugs. There are four main types of gateway drugs: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and caffeine.

The accessibility of gateway drugs makes them especially dangerous. They are often legal and easy to find. For example, alcohol is sold at stores, and tobacco is often used in social settings.

With its depressant effects, alcohol is often used as a way to cope with stress or anxiety. It can lead to the use of harder drugs, which are also used to cope with negative emotions. Tobacco products are also legal and easily accessible. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that increases alertness and energy levels.

Caffeine is another legal and easily accessible drug. It’s often used to stay awake or to improve focus. However, caffeine can increase anxiety levels. Marijuana is often seen as a “soft” drug, but it can lead to the use of harder drugs.

The Dangers of Gateway Drugs

Using gateway drugs comes with a number of risks:

  • Addiction—People who use these substances are more likely to become addicted to them. This is because these drugs can change the brain in ways that make it difficult to quit.
  • Tolerance—This occurs when a person needs to use more and more of a drug to get the same effect. With substance abuse, tolerance can lead to addiction and using harder drugs to get the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal—Occurs when a person stops using a drug and experiences negative symptoms. The increased use of a certain drug can lead to using harder drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.
  • Health problems—Gateway drugs can cause a variety of health problems, including lung cancer (with tobacco), liver damage (with alcohol), memory problems (with marijuana), and increased anxiety and depression (caffeine).
  • Legal problems—People who use these substances are more likely to drive while under the influence or engage in risky behaviors.

Many people view gateway drugs as a “stepping-stone” to more serious drug use. But, in reality, they come with their own set of risks and dangers. If you or someone you know is struggling with gateway drug abuse, Prairie Recovery can help.

Using Gateway Drugs? Prairie Recovery Center Can Help

If you’re using gateway drugs, it’s important to get help before you start using other drugs. Gateway drugs can be addictive and cause a number of health and legal problems. There are a number of treatment options available, so there’s no need to go through this alone.

Prairie Recovery Center has a team of experts who can help you in this difficult time. We offer a variety of treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient programs, that are tailored to meet your unique needs. Contact us today at 844.979.4310, or fill out our online form and let us get back to you.