What is a Gateway Drug?
A gateway drug is a drug that can lead to the use of other drugs. Alcohol is a gateway drug that leads teens to use of harder drugs. A lot of teens will have experienced alcohol by the time they graduate from high school. Teenagers move to other drugs because the high that alcohol provides diminishes with frequent use and they need to seek the escape of stronger drugs. The following pathways have been hypothesized:
* Alcoholics are more likely to try other substances due to their personality.
* Alcohol alters the brain, leading to a higher chance of addiction to other drugs.
* There is a clear progression pathway leading from alcohol to other substances.
In 2009, 69.9% of heavy alcohol users among those aged 12 to 17 were illicit drug users. This was over 13 times higher than non-alcohol users where 5.2% used illegal substances. Drug users will see their mind and body deteriorate even faster and may lead to death.