Today’s teens are experimenting with drug and alcohol use at increasingly younger ages—many as early as middle school. However, a teen who begins using gateway drugs with friends often needs the help of a substance abuse treatment center.
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers addiction treatment services for teen boys. If you’re concerned about your teen’s use of gateway drugs, call 866.300.5275 to get help at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery.
Gateway Drugs: Myths and Facts Parents Should Know
Parents receive overwhelming information about what teen behaviors are acceptable and which should be cause for concern.
When it comes to the topic of teen substance use, teens today are more likely to use substances like:
- Prescription drugs
These are often known as gateway drugs. Myths and facts on the topic of gateway drugs abound.
Parents who stay informed about teen drug use and gateway drugs are better prepared to recognize when to intervene and seek professional help for a teen’s substance use.
Gateway Drug Myths
Parents should be aware of these common gateway drug myths and know that these common statements aren’t true.
1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Gateway Drug.”
In recent years, proponents of marijuana legalization have popularized the idea that the “gateway drug” concept is a myth. This isn’t true. Studies consistently show that individuals who use “hard drugs” tend to start by using gateway drugs.
2. It’s Normal for Teens to Use Gateway Drugs
It’s common knowledge that the teenage years are when individuals often begin experimenting with substance use, but that doesn’t make it healthy or acceptable. Parents shouldn’t dismiss drinking or smoking marijuana as normal teen behavior. Teens who use substances are negatively impacted in a wide variety of ways.
3. Gateway Drugs Aren’t Addictive
Gateway drugs can easily lead to addiction—and that’s often the outcome. Some gateway drugs, like alcohol or certain prescription drugs, can cause physical dependence.
However, drugs don’t need to cause physical dependence to lead to addiction. The psychological effect of drugs can make it extremely difficult to stop using them.
Gateway Drug Facts
Gateway drug facts based on science and evidence-based data show the damage that these drugs can do.
1. Teens Who Use Gateway Drugs Are More Likely to Try Other Drugs
Part of the reason the concept of “gateway drugs” has received pushback in recent years is due to the idea that using a gateway drug a single time can result in addiction or will immediately lead to the use of harder drugs.
While that’s not necessarily true, data from the NIDA shows that most individuals who develop addictions to drugs like cocaine, heroin, and meth first used gateway drugs and then later experimented with other substances.
2. Gateway Drugs Change Teen Brain Chemistry
Any mind-altering substance has the potential to alter teen brain chemistry. This effect is particularly important for the still-developing teen brain. The longer a gateway substance impacts the mind, the greater the impact on mental health.
3. Gateway Drug Addiction Often Requires Treatment
Addiction to gateway drugs can be just as difficult to overcome as any other substance, which means it often requires the support of behavioral health professionals at a substance use treatment center.
Get Help for Teen Gateway Drug Abuse at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Teen substance use is a serious problem that can produce long-term negative consequences. If your teenage boy abuses substances, getting them help today can make a lifelong difference.