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    The Facts About Gateway Drugs and Addiction

    Certain substances like nicotine and alcohol have long been considered to lead to harder types of substance abuse, especially when they are abused by teens. The term for this type of substance is gateway drug, and it has been expanded over the years to also include marijuana and prescription medications. However, though gateway drugs have been studied for their ability to lead to harder substance abuse, there isn’t actually any proof that this correlation exists.

    Many individuals who start abusing dangerous, harder drugs (such as heroin, meth, and other illicit substances) cite the abuse of milder substances earlier on. While this seemed like an endorsement of the gateway drug theory, it was later discovered that the use of these substances alone doesn’t necessarily indicate the likelihood for harder drug abuse later in life. After all, 56 percent of Americans report drinking in the past month, and 15 percent of the U.S. population smokes cigarettes while only 0.6 percent uses cocaine and 0.1 percent uses heroin. If gateway drugs really caused this much of a problem, wouldn’t we see many more hardcore drug abusers?

    The truth of the matter is addiction is often caused by a number of variables, including those associated with one’s environment, development, biology, and other issues, not simply because of one’s use of a milder substance. Still, it is important to remember that all so-called gateway drugs can cause their own forms of addiction, for which those who do become addicted will likely require treatment in a rehab center. If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse, contact Addictions.com today to find treatment programs in your state. 

    Are Gateway Drugs Scare Tactics or the Real Deal?

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