Coming to Better Understand the Term 'Gateway Drug'

From Laguna Beach, California to America’s eastern seaboard, the term “gateway drug” has been tossed around for decades by both those directly and indirectly involved in the nation’s drug rehab community, yet many questions remain with respect to the term’s definition. Supposedly, the term refers to certain drugs that lead to the abuse of other more harmful substances.
Marijuana, for instance, is often cited as being one of the world’s most popular, influential gateway drugs. While studies of cannabinoids, the leading active ingredient in street marijuana, suggest that addiction to one drug may actually lead to future experimentation, many aren’t convinced.
Reports of detracting viewpoints, “Even if people who use cocaine started with marijuana, it is not clear that the marijuana use caused or encouraged the cocaine use: The person may simply have encountered marijuana first, and/or is the sort of person more inclined than others to experiment with a variety of illegal drugs.”
In fact, fewer than one percent of marijuana users actually progress onward in their wayward ways towards formal cocaine addiction. What is known, however, is that marijuana can produce harmful, long-term changes in brain functionality, comparable to those produced by drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol.
Any other so-called “gateway drugs” will, most assuredly, also produce both physically and mentally detrimental results for the user. Whether in Laguna Beach, California or elsewhere, drug rehab — regardless of addiction origin — is the best bet for overcoming poor past decisions.


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