“Gateway Drugs”: What Research Says About Them

“Gateway Drugs”: What Research Says About Them

We’ve heard this term a lot growing up, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what a “gateway drug” is. Throughout our high school years is typically when we talk about this term, but did you know that adults can deal with gateway drugs, too? Cambridge dictionary defines a gateway drug as, “A drug whose use may make it more likely that someone uses other, more dangerous drugs.”

Despite the fact that this term is associated mostly with younger populations, the opioid epidemic has shown loads of gateway drug access for individuals moving from prescription medications to drugs like heroin, which is now at an all time high with over 948,000 reporting using it. Cases like these show us that illicit drug use can make its way into a person’s life even a person would never have originally contemplated it. In fact, a government study that assessed substance rates from 2002 to 2012 found that heroin initiation was 19 times higher for those who’d previously reported nonmedical pain reliever use than those who didn’t; how do instances like these arise? Well, it’s due to a few reasons, such as:

  •    Taking more of a prescription drug over time – and, more frequently, can make it easier for a person to transition to other substances as long as they produce similar euphoric effects
  •    More screening procedures are taking place to prevent “doctor shopping”, but many people also find substitutions through friends and family, which may include illicit drugs like heroin

A few years ago, the New York Times highlighted a study that showed that marijuana use can prime a person for increased use of alcohol, cigarettes and other substances – and while this is highly debated of course, the numbers show how serious the opioid epidemic has become in the United States and how greatly at risk many people are for transitioning from prescription medication abuse to illegal drugs like heroin and methamphetamine.

If you or a loved one are ready to find restoration, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.

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