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The Truth About Gateway Drugs, Told by a User of 35 Years

Updated on August 6, 2010

gateways to a hell of an existance

When I hear on the television or research what is told to the public as the truth when it comes to gateway drugs, I often wonder where they are getting their information, for to me it sounds quite a bit like those filmstrips that we had to watch in high school about drug use and abuse.

Just last night while I was watching something on the discovery channel, they had a man who was supposedly an expert in the subject of drug use and how it is introduced to our kids. He told the viewers that peer pressure to smoke pot was the number one way that kids got broken down and would then experiment with harder drugs.

Although this guy might be a little bit correct in his theory, I think that if that is considered to be the first, I think that the second greatest influence believe it or not, is when kids ask their parents if they smoked marijuana. The parent feels obligated to tell the child the truth and more times than not goes way too far describing what happened. By the time they put those two experiences together, in their minds both sounded as though it was something that they weren't supposed to do, but everyone they talked to about it sounded like they enjoyed the experience. A taboo, something looked down on by society, but tried by the people they trusted the most.

Here is the problem with this whole mess. In my opinion, pot smoking is not the drug that brings you around to the harder drugs like heroin, cocaine, or meth. It has been my experience that alcohol was by far the drug that brought me around to do those other drugs. Here is a few reasons why this is true.

Smoking pot makes a person relax, and it causes you to physically become somewhat lazy, for lack of a better word. It makes you spend your time doing things like watching television, eating, and it also makes the most menial task doable. For example, doing dishes dusting, and that sort of brainless activities. A person who is stoned on pot will not think about going out and seeking something better, because you are so stoned you are very happy where you are, and doing whatever it is that is right before you.

On the other hand, a person, especially a young person who is drinking will get some crazy ideas, and will go out and drive, and will do things that they would not otherwise even consider doing. How many times have we heard the story about the person who goes out to a bar to drink and ends up in bed with a person who they do not even know, nor do they know their name. A drunk will try anything put before them. even a dare.

Another rather obscure gateway drug comes from the family doctor, or even more easy to come by, right in the medicine cabinet of the home where they live. How many people have prescriptions half used from some sort of accident that they had, or from a surgery that a grandparent had, like a hip or knee replacement. Oxycoton, Vicodin and Norco are the three most prescribed pills that doctors prefer to give their patients these days. They are prescribed for everything from mouth or tooth pain, to sprains, and surgeries.

Now that there is a half used bottle available for easy access, a young person only needs to look, get curious, and while they are in the bathroom taking a shower, or even brushing their teeth before going to school, it takes only a matter of five seconds to move them from the medicine cabinet to a pocket. It will be weeks, even months before anybody misses them, if they are ever missed.

Once someone begins taking any of these pain killers, it only takes two or three days in a row of eating these, that a person becomes physically addicted to them. This means that even if the kid feels guilty, or gets scared and stops, it is only a matter of a few hours and their bodies, especially children who are small in body weight, begin to feel uncomfortable. Quiting makes you feel lethargic and depressed. It gives you leg cramps, and you feel sick to your stomach and you do not want to eat. It does not take very much thinking to realize that if you just eat one more of those pills, you will feel better, and down the hatch it goes.

I am hoping that in describing the effects of these different substances that you will be able to paint a picture of what happens each step of the way.

Continuing, when the child continues to eat one or two of those pills during the day, eventually the bottle runs out. Then they are in a real pickle. The physical symptoms of withdrawals are so very uncomfortable, that by this time anybody will seek out a cure, and the most common and easiest substances to get a hold of once the pills are gone, are street drugs, heroin, meth, and coke. Even though the effects of these drugs are quite different, they all cure the sickness induced by the pills.

After going through this cycle just once, it is so easy to continue, finding pills, seeking that perfect euphoria that they bring, followed by the opposite of that, and followed up with street cures. Soon most persons will skip the pills and just go for the street drugs, although there is a group who believe that because they go to the doctor to get the pills, it is perfectly alright to become addicted, and I am now referring to adults.

draw your own conclusions

      What I believe  is that because of the taboo put onto the weed that is smoked, it has become the favorite "gateway drug"  to blame.   Hopefully I have showed you that alcohol has much more likelihood to cause the reckless behavior needed to try a hard drug.  At this time I would also like to state that even smoking cigarettes can be considered a gateway drug for the introduction of a habitual substance is very clear with tobacco too.  It takes practice to learn to do something over and over.

     By the time we consider peer pressure, the idea that doing some of these things is considered enjoyable, the knowledge that our parents have experimented with pot and usually drink socially, the excitement of sneaking pills out of our parents possession, the idea that some of this is quite alright because it was given to you or a family member by a trusted doctor, and  the fact that it is quite acceptable to have habits like smoking, how can anybody who calls himself an expert say that there is one weed that is a gateway drug and that it causes children to get hooked on hard drugs.  This theory is just ludicrous.

     I am not going to come to any conclusion myself about what causes someone to do something else,  Hopefully I have given enough facts for each person to come to their own conclusions.


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  • ddsurfsca profile image

    ddsurfsca 8 years ago from ventura., california

    Thank you for your comment. I have lived the nightmare of prescription opiates, for I have constant pain issues, and most doctors want to give you a pill and get you out so that they can feed the rest of the patients through, like sheep. It is hard to find a good doctor that cares and actually wants to heal you not just put a band aid on your boo boo

  • PB_Smith profile image

    PB_Smith 8 years ago from Southern California

    Good perspective on a complex problem. I agree, as does most of the reputable, honest and unbiased research I have seen, alcohol is THE "gateway" drug in America.

    People need to stop considering the legality of a substance when considering it a drug or not. That is one of the biggest hurdles. Too many people think that just because it is legal than it isn't a "drug". Legality and drug harm are two totally different and often unrelated topics.

    You are also 100% correct concerning prescription opiates. They are very easy to get and very addicting.