Man on bench contemplating whether his addiction started with a gateway drug.If you find yourself dealing with an addiction, you might want to take a moment and think about how it all got started. It’s interesting to note just how few addiction sufferers can actually remember the beginning of their addiction. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum but instead happens quietly over a period of time. Some theories promote the idea that addiction starts with some type of gateway drug.

Definition of Gateway Drug

Before we start a full-blown discussion about gateway drug theories, it might help to lay out a basic textbook definition. By definition, a gateway drug is a substance that is said to precede or lead to the use and/or abuse of subsequent drugs that are more potent and dangerous.

Some people believe that gateway drugs are not addictive themselves. However, they often lead to the abuse of substances that tend to have more addictive properties. Whether this is true or not has been open for debate for decades now. And the question arises – Is there something about nicotine addiction that leads to a desire to use and abuse marijuana? And then how about mind-altering marijuana leading to other more addictive illegal drugs. These very questions have often been the subject of heated debate.

Marijuana – A Gateway Drug?

At the core of the debate about gateway drugs is marijuana. It’s quite common for someone who smokes pot on a regular basis to eventually try illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth. The question is: “Is there really a cause and effect relationship here?”

On one hand, there are a lot of people who smoke pot and also abuse other substances, including alcohol. On the other hand, there’s plenty of regular marijuana users who never touch any other types of drugs. With so many experts chiming in on both sides of the debate, we are left with no choice but to accept that the evidence is inconclusive.

This is what the science says. In 1999, the National Institute of Medicine did its own study about marijuana as a gateway substance. Here is what they concluded:

“In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation into the use of other illicit drugs, it is indeed a gateway drug. However, it does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association.”

Beaches Recovery Treatment

At Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida, we are not as concerned about entering into the debate as we are focused on treating marijuana addiction or any other drug or alcohol addiction. Our facility does not discriminate based on addiction type. Instead, we design our treatment programs to deal with any and all addictions and have specific programs for many types of drugs.

Our approach to treatment is to treat our clients until they no longer have a desire to use any illicit substances. Here’s a basic list of the treatment options that are made available to our clients:

  • Dual Diagnosis therapy
  • Residential care – 30-day to extended care
  • Family residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Outpatient and intensive outpatient
  • Aftercare treatment
  • Transitional housing placement

Before you concern yourself with how your drug addiction started, you would be better served to understand the dangerous nature of your addiction. Your life could be at risk. Before it’s too late, we would like to encourage you to pick up the phone and call us at 866-605-0532. Beaches Recovery’s staff will take you under their wing and lead you down the road to recovery. There you can reclaim the life you are losing to addiction.