What are gateway drugs? According to the gateway drug theory, ‘introductory’ substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana may increase a person’s interest in using more harmful or addictive substances such as methamphetamines, cocaine, or heroin.
The gateway drug theory was developed and popularized in the 1980s and has since been the subject of ongoing research and discussion in the addiction treatment community. Much more research has yet to be done to determine the scope of the gateway theory. What are gateway drugs? Let’s find out more about this topic by reading below.
Are Gateway Drugs Really Gateway Drugs?
The quick answer to that question is yes. However, there is more to the issue than just creating a blanket assertion about alcohol, marijuana, or cigarette. One key issue that factors into gateway drug use is the age of the individual. For instance, teenagers who are still going through cognitive development may explore other substances.
However, teenagers are likely to seek out various new experiences at this age, not just substances. So, it may be argued that the age of the user is what increases the risk of using other substances, not the initial substance itself. Regardless, there is no doubt taking any substance for the first time can lead to using drugs or alcohol.
Why Do People Explore Other Drugs?
When someone drinks or uses a drug for the first time, they experience an intense euphoric feeling. For some people, a single instance is all they need. Others, however, may want to explore the euphoria even more. However, the more they use the drug, the more the effects of it wear off.
Even when a person increases their dosage, they may grow bored with the substance and want to move on to something else. Naturally, they will look for a stronger alcoholic beverage or a more potent drug. This leads to a downward spiral where the person keeps experimenting with more powerful substances to continue feeling high.
If you find yourself using more and more of a substance, reach out to a drug and alcohol detox center for an assessment.
Other Factors in Drug Abuse
Research has shown that there are a number of factors that can cause a person to experiment with drugs and alcohol, including:
- Home or school environment
- History of drug or alcohol use
- Mental disorders
- Family traits
While an introduction to a given drug can certainly factor into further use, treatment specialists need to consider all the causes of substance abuse. For instance, a person who suffers from depression or anxiety may try different drugs to determine which one helps them with the symptoms of the condition.
Likewise, a person who lives in a home where drug or alcohol use is common may experiment with whatever is in the home. This means that almost any substance is potentially a gateway drug.
What Are Gateway Drugs? Learn More at Summit Detox
What are gateway drugs? Find out the answer to the question by contacting Summit Detox. We offer a wide range of treatments for all types of substances. Call 866.341.0638 to get started with your treatment today.