Gateway Drugs; Facts or Fictions?
MARIJUANA The big, bad gateway drug. Or is it? Seems people have differing opinions about this. Technically, cigarettes and alcohol were the gateway drugs. I say were because nowadays marijuana may be more accessible to youth than alcohol is and cigarette consumption has declined. What does it mean for something to be a gateway drug? Does it mean that a particular drug will inevitably lead to the use of harder and stronger drugs? Or that a particular drug can lead to harder drugs?
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me “I used marijuana when I was a teenager and I didn’t progress to harder drugs.” Or, so and so has been smoking marijuana for 20 years and they never used xyz… This kind of reasoning is flawed.
A gateway drug is another way of saying “first drug.” When you look at it backwards many a hardcore drug user started their drug using careers with more socially acceptable, sometimes legal and “less powerful” drugs (marijuana today is much more potent than that of the 60’s and 70’s and with greater risks). The way to look at this “gateway matter” is inversely. It is correct, the notion that not all users of marijuana progress to harder drugs. However, it is also correct that a majority of “hard drug users” (those whom use illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth and even legal prescription painkillers/narcotics) started their addiction journeys with more “benign” chemicals like weed, beer, liquor and nicotine.
Does anyone really possess the foresight to guarantee their use of a gateway drug will not escalate to a full-blown addiction? Not unless you’re related to Nostradamus! The fact is that no one intends on becoming addicted. Family history or no history, you take a risk when you use. The question is, “Is it a risk worth taking?” Is it a risk worth taking when you know the potential devastating outcomes? I for one do not believe so.
The benefits of recreational or social drug use do not appear so great to me that it is worth risking a possible future of addiction and it’s destructive consequences. I mean it’s not like smoking weed puts extra zero’s in your bank account. Nor does it make a man tall, dark and handsome. You feel good for a little while and then the feeling goes away. That’s about it. To me this experience does not justify the possible ramifications. This is especially true when the user in question is a teenager whom is much more susceptible to addiction and the negative effects of drugs due to their developmental stage.
Remember the cucumber and the pickle. Not all cucumbers become pickles. But you can be sure that all pickles were once cucumbers!