When discussing substance abuse and drug addiction, it’s important to understand examples of gateway drugs. Knowing what they are may help you understand why you or a loved one developed an addiction. One of the primary issues is that many people don’t fully understand how the brain or addiction actually works.
Examples of Gateway Drugs
Before explaining examples of gateway drugs, it’s important to know what they are. Experts label gateway drugs as seemingly harmless substances that lead to harsher drugs. For instance, while many don’t see marijuana abuse as dangerous, users can easily transition into prescription painkillers or heroin when they get bored of the high.
Addiction isn’t limited to certain substances, and it’s not even limited to substances at all when you think about gambling addiction. Addiction forms due to a rewiring of neural pathways based on our most primitive instincts. It alters a person’s habit loop, which includes the following aspects:
When looking at marijuana abuse as an example, let’s say you use marijuana every day after work or school. The time of day would be the trigger, and using the drug is the behavior. The reward for this may be relaxing after a long day. However, that reward lays down a memory in your brain. The next time you have the same trigger, your brain wants you to do it again, and eventually, you lose control.
How Early Experimentation Leads to Problems Down the Road
It’s common for young people to experiment with drugs like marijuana and over-the-counter medications. Many teens—and for that matter, their parents—may think that this is no big deal, but it can be. Addiction causes individuals to lose the power of choice when it comes to drug abuse. They can destroy their future as well as cause harm to their friends and family. Even if the substance use doesn’t progress to harder drugs, it can make one’s life become unmanageable.
Prescription Medications Can Be Examples of Gateways Drugs
Many people don’t realize it, but prescription drug abuse is the leading cause of overdoses in the United States. We hear so much about heroin and fentanyl killing people on a regular basis, but this isn’t the main problem. Thousands of people are abusing medications like prescription opioids, which can be highly addictive. The other fact to consider is that over 80% of people who use heroin started off with prescription opioids.
If you or someone you know has developed a problem with any of these examples of gateway drugs, Pinnacle Peak can help. Here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we offer various substance abuse treatments to help people recover. During their time at our drug rehab facility, clients can learn how to stay sober and rebuild a life that’s worth living.
Some of the various addiction treatment programs we offer here include the following:
Don’t let gateway drug abuse progress into something worse. Call Pinnacle Peak Recovery today at 866-954-0524.