If you or a loved one is experimenting with drugs or is struggling with addiction, you may have heard the term \u2018gateway drugs.\u2019 Finding the definition of gateway drugs can help you understand how they are connected to addiction.\r\nA gateway drug is a substance that, while not necessarily addictive, has a high likelihood of leading to experimenting and abusing harder, more addictive drugs.\r\nWhen wondering what are gateway drugs, it is also important to know that gateway drugs can be legal or illicit substances. Legal substances, like tobacco or alcohol, can be used or misused and establish the idea that mind-altering substances are totally safe. Mild pain medications, like Tramadol, may not be highly addictive but are considered a gateway drug. Using these substances increases the chances that you may try addictive substances in the future. For example, Tramadol experimentation may not create an addiction, but it could encourage you to try more addictive pain medications. Teenagers and young adults who experiment with drugs are at a higher risk of addiction. Finding a college student rehab program or teen addiction treatment program can change the course in their young lives.\r\n\r\nWhat Are Gateway Drugs?\r\nSo, how do we come up with the definition of a gateway drug? They are considered less dangerous substances, either legal or illegal, that are not likely to cause addiction but are likely to lead to further experimentation. This experimentation with harder, more dangerous and more addictive drugs could lead you down the wrong path.\r\nSome of the most common examples are:\r\n\r\n\r\n \tMarijuana\r\n \tNicotine and tobacco products\r\n \tAlcohol\r\n \tCough syrup and cough syrups with codeine\r\n \tOver the counter medications\r\n\r\nAdditionally, misusing legal drugs like prescription pain killers can serve as a gateway to drugs like heroin. Many users move on from prescription opiates to street drugs, which can have dangerous additives and unknown potency. Finding an opiate addiction treatment program can help an opiate addict before they start using street drugs.\r\n\r\nHow are Gateway Drugs Related to Addiction?\r\nWhile gateway drugs are not the sole cause of addiction, experimentation can encourage you to try more dangerous drugs. Our definition of a gateway drug tells us that using these 'soft' drugs often leads to abuse of 'hard' drugs. Most drug addicts try other drugs before finding their substance of choice. For example, a cocaine or methamphetamine addict may not have started with these substances. Earlier experimentation with stimulants could have been the entry point into drug abuse. This could have involved prescription medications like Adderall or Ritalin, legal substances that can be misused.\r\nGateway drugs can also create a positive first drug experience and increase the likelihood of addiction to other substances because of changes in your brain chemistry. Marijuana, for example, can change neuropathways in the brain that can make you more susceptible to addiction. Overall, 44.7% of people who try marijuana eventually try other drugs in their lifetime, demonstrating that using a gateway drug increases the chances that you will try other substances, many of which can be highly addictive.\r\n\r\nFinding the Best Treatment Center\r\nNow you have the definition of a gateway drug, you can understand how they impact addiction. The next step is addressing any addiction issues you or your loved one may have. Addiction and abuse negatively impact your health, emotional wellbeing and standard of living. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and are ready to reach out for help, Beaches Recovery provides some of the best and most effective drug addiction treatment programs Jacksonville FL offers. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at <a href='tel:8666050532'>866.605.0532</a>.