Is there any truth to the popular myth that using “gateway” drugs will lead to hardcore drug use?
For years now, we’ve heard that pot is a so-called “gateway drug,” and its use can lead to the use of harder substances and drug addiction. Most teens just roll their eyes at the idea, assuming parents and teachers just made this up to scare them. But is there any truth to this popular drug myth?
In fact, the addiction rate for marijuana is lower than that of alcohol, and there is little scientific evidence that it acts as a trigger for harder drugs. And you rarely if ever see someone seeking treatment solely for marijuana addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to smoke pot. Recent studies have shown marijuana use irrevocably lowers IQ in teens and pre-teens and can lead to lethargy and inaction. Also, many who begin using marijuana as a distraction or youthful pastime and think they’ll quit in adulthood, but they don’t manage to do so. Another study showed that aging Baby Boomers didn’t put down that joint like experts thought they would. They’ve continued using it into middle age. And then there’s other pesky little truth: Despite efforts to decriminalize pot, it’s still illegal.
So while pot doesn’t necessarily lead to more dangerous drug use, there are substances that do have that power. When talking about gateway drugs, experts (and concerned parents) should focus on the abuse of prescription opioids and stimulants. Drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Adderall – along with inhalants – have strong addictive properties and are popular with younger users looking to experiment.
If pot is merely part of the gateway myth, how did it earn its erroneous reputation as a gateway drug? It may be due to the fact that many hard drug users admit to also using marijuana. This part of their drug history may have led experts to jump to conclusions. What is true is the fact that drug users do progress from one substance to another, usually starting with a less potent substance and then graduation to more powerful drugs as their bodies acclimate and build up a tolerance. Then, before they know it, they find they just can’t stop.
Drug Addiction Help at The Canyon
If you or someone you love needs treatment for drug addiction, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.