What Is a Gateway Drug?

What Is a Gateway Drug?Drug addiction rarely develops overnight. Instead it develops through a gradual process of experimentation, enjoyment and eventual surrender to psychological compulsions. Social, emotional and even biological components affect this process, but it always starts with a first experience with a drug. Any Seattle resident can get addicted if the factors are right.

What Increases the Risk of Addiction for Seattle Residents?

The following factors increase the risk for developing an addiction:

  • Anxiety or other pre-existing psychological disorders
  • Stress in the home
  • Low self-esteem
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Lack of relational accountability from parents or guardians
  • Easy access to drugs or alcohol
  • Boredom

Gateway drugs introduce Seattle users to the experience of getting high. These drugs may seem harmless at first, but for many people they are just the first step in a long journey toward dependency. Most addicts are hooked long before they even know they are on the line.

Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

The most common gateway drug may be alcohol. It is legal, inexpensive and relatively easy to obtain. It is also socially acceptable. Billions of dollars are spent each year promoting beer, liquor and wine as key ingredients to parties. Although the legal drinking age is 21 years old, many Seattle teenagers start drinking before reaching that age.
Alcohol use definitely serves as a gateway to alcohol abuse, but it also introduces many Seattle residents to the pleasurable experience of becoming intoxicated. Teens that drink are more likely to abuse marijuana, opiates and other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine.

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Marijuana is also a common gateway drug. Although it is not physically addictive, it can create a powerful psychological addiction. This means that users will eventually need the drug just to function normally. Users also develop a tolerance to marijuana relatively quickly. This means they must smoke more and more to feel high. Eventually, as an addict’s brain craves a more intense high, she may be tempted to combine marijuana with alcohol, or to abuse narcotics such as morphine, prescription painkillers or heroin.

Are Prescription Painkillers Gateway Drugs?

Prescription painkillers are a significant gateway drug as they affect can Seattle residents who had no intention of getting high. Individuals with a biological predisposition toward addiction may become hooked the very first time they take the drug. Tolerance to these drugs also develops quickly, and many who seek that first high will turn to heroin or more advanced drug combinations.

Seattle Addiction Help

If you or a Seattle resident you know have experimented with substance abuse, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today. Our counselors are standing by right now to answer your questions. We can help you put this disease behind you before it ruins your relationships, health and life. Whether you need additional information or to be connected to specialized addiction recovery programs, we’re here for you. Gateway drugs don’t lead anywhere good, so call us today for a path to recovery.