The definition of a gateway drug doesn’t change. However, the substances that experts consider to be gateway drugs are up for debate. Most importantly, though, people need to understand the definition. Understanding the term “gateway drug” can help them make up their own minds about which substances fall in that category. A gateway drug could be marijuana, leading to the need for a North Carolina marijuana addiction treatment center for women.
Definition of a Gateway Drug
Firstly, let’s start with the raw definition of a gateway drug. When people refer to gateway drugs, they aren’t always referring to drugs that are addictive. In fact, abusing nonaddictive drugs can lead people down the path to drugs that are addictive. However, there’s more to gateway drugs than this simple definition.
Taking a Deeper Look at Gateway Drugs
While there’s a definition for gateway drugs in the dictionary, there’s more to these substances. Experts who advocate the theory of gateway drugs say that young people who use mild substances open the “gateway” to more addictive substances.
Of course, the gateway drug theory is just that, a theory. Despite that, a lot of research backs up the idea of progressive drug use. By definition, progressive drug use supports the theory.
Keep in mind, however, that gateway drugs don’t just affect young adults. Anyone can succumb to them. People only associate the term with young adults because they experiment more during that stage in their lives. Make no mistake that gateway drugs can affect people of all ages.
What Are Some Gateway Drugs?
Determining what are gateway drugs is difficult. The reason is that all experts have their own ideas of which substances fall into this category. However, the most common gateway drugs are prescription painkillers, alcohol, and marijuana.
In most cases, using prescription drugs doesn’t lead directly to addiction. However, abusing them can lead to habit-forming actions. Experts believe that these drugs put the brain on a collision course for addiction.
Of course, if these drugs are gateway drugs, why doesn’t everyone make the progression to harder drugs? After all, some people have alcoholic drinks now and again without turning to harder drugs such as heroin.
Experts say that factors other than gateway drugs contribute. Knowing what are gateway drugs is just the start. People also have to take their genetics, upbringing and social situations into account. All of these factors play a role in determining whether people move on from gateway drugs to harder drugs.
Let Us Teach You About Gateway Drugs
Do you want to know more about the definition of a gateway drug? If so, consider reaching out to The Willows, a women-only rehab center. We’re proud to be a North Carolina marijuana addiction treatment center for women. A few of the programs that our clients enjoy include:
- Individual and group therapy
- Partial hospitalization programs and outpatient rehab
- Acupuncture and meditation
- Motivational interviewing program
Don’t let a lack of knowledge lead you down a dark hole. Learn more about the definition of a gateway drug and how it can lead to the use of harder drugs. Dial us today at 855.773.0614 to learn more about our programs.