When we’re in middle and high school we’re bombarded with talk about drug and alcohol abuse and the effects that it can have on both our immediate lives, our futures, and the lives of those around us. One of the things that is regularly brought up in the discussions of drugs in particular is the theory of the “gateway drug”.
The theory behind the gateway drug is that the use of a less harmful or detrimental drug will lead to more regular drug use with the severity of the drug escalating as time goes on. What constitutes a gateway is under debate, with everything from alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis falling into the category, with some even including caffeine and specifically black coffee cbd oil cats feline leukemia.
There is some debate about the theory of gateway drugs as opponents of the theory believe that assessing why somebody moves into substance abuse, particularly with “hard” drugs, is more complicated than because they smoke, drink coffee, or drink at a young age as many people do all of these things and never descend into the use of illegal drugs.
The main gateway drugs that are typically cited are tobacco and cannabis, with proponents of the gateway drug theory pointing out that those that smoke are more likely to use cannabis and that those that use cannabis are more likely to be involved in hard drug use. Opponents argue that the circumstances of obtaining the illegal drug cannabis are more of a contributing factor of descent into hard drug use, ie: that the people and places one usually has to go to to obtain cannabis makes them more likely to be exposed to people and places where hard drugs are being used and are readily available.
In recent years with the rise of prescription drug abuse finding its way into the public eye, more proponents of the gateway drug theory are adding prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin to the list as they are readily available to any child or adolescent with access to the medicine cabinet of somebody with a valid prescription, and most people don’t regularly count their pills and don’t miss a few here or there.
Regardless of whether you’re a proponent or opponent of the gateway drug theory, the idea of preventing youths from being exposed to substances that are either completely illicit or at least age restricted is something that both sides can agree on. While you may not believe that things like tobacco and alcohol can lead to harder drug use, preventing those not of age from recklessly experimenting with them before they’re ready certainly can’t hurt their chances of avoiding future drug use.