Gateway drugs are those that may lead to the use of other types of high-risk addictive drugs. Marijuana is perhaps the most recognized type of substance in this classification. This drug carries harmful risks in and of itself, but it is also more likely to lead a person into using other drugs over time. In either case, drug addiction can form, requiring treatment. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we are happy to help you overcome these challenges.
What Are Gateway Drugs?
Gateway drugs are often those people experiment with as the first step in drug use. These are drugs that teens often use because they are readily available to obtain. Experimenting with these drugs can lead to health complications, especially when people consume them in large amounts. Yet, they carry less of an overall risk of addiction. Some examples of gateway drugs include:
- Marijuana: Though many states have legalized it for various uses, marijuana carries is a high-risk. Over time, it becomes less potent and effective, leading some people to use other, more dangerous drugs.
- Cigarettes: This type of gateway drug may offer some addictive risk itself. Cigarettes often teach the brain that the pleasure or relief they offer is worth seeking out. That changes the function of the reward center in the brain, leading to future needs for drug use.
- Alcohol: Many teens and young adults drink alcohol as a way to get intoxicated. Yet, over time, addiction can form. It can also lead to health complications itself, including alcoholism.
- Prescription drugs: Many people have access to habit-forming prescription drugs. This may include prescription painkillers or medications used to treat anxiety. These drugs can cause a high and, as they do, lead to the need to use more potent substances. When people can’t secure more prescription drugs to satisfy their habit, they may move to something that’s easier to obtain like heroin.
If you’re battling an addiction to one of these substances, finding treatment is critical.
How Is Weed a Gateway Drug If It Is Legal?
Many states have legalized recreational use of weed. That has created a false perception for many individuals. When a drug is legal, people often mistakenly believe that it’s perfectly safe. However, marijuana, like any legal drug can be abused. Studies have shown that people who use marijuana are more likely to move on to other, more dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine than people who don’t. This is why it can be considered a gateway drug.
All of the gateway drugs mentioned above are legal in some form. However, all carry the same risk of addiction when overused. Yes, marijuana is legal in many states. However, it can still cause damage to the lungs and leads to cognitive decline in heavy users.
The most significant risk comes from tolerance. Over time a person becomes used to these drugs. The brain and body adjust to them. That means that they do not provide the same high or relief they once did. A person can increase how much they are using, which leads to toxicity risks, or they can try other drugs that offer the same effects with more potency.
In either situation, these drugs can cause addiction, dependence, and tolerance, putting a person’s health at risk. Avoidance of these substances is the ideal option. If you are already using them or have a drug addiction, professional treatment is critical.
Explore Treatment Options at San Antonio Recovery Center
Whether you are engaging in the use of gateway drugs and cannot stop or have a drug addiction to another form, treatment is available and can help you stop using for good. Our team at San Antonio Recovery Center offers a range of programs that provide the first step towards recovery. We encourage you to learn more about your addiction and the risks before using any gateway drug. Our treatment programs include:
- Drug detox services: The first step in recovery for many people is to detox from drugs. Our team can provide you with the resources and support needed to make this process as safe and comfortable as possible.
- Men’s drug rehab: Our men’s drug rehab program is designed to help you overcome your addiction and get your life back on track. We offer a variety of services, including individual and group therapy, job training, and more.
- Women’s drug rehab: Some women respond better to treatment in an environment free from the presence of men. In women’s rehab, they are more free to discuss sensitive topics.
- Residential treatment programs: Our residential treatment programs offer a safe and supportive environment for you to begin your recovery journey.
- Intensive outpatient program: Our intensive outpatient program (IOP) is designed for people who need more structure and support than what our standard outpatient program offers.
Don’t Wait to Get the Addiction Treatment Help You Need
Whether using gateway drugs or suffering from another drug addiction, recognize that now is the best time to get help. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we offer a range of treatment programs for all levels of addiction. We may be able to help you with comprehensive therapy in a modern, comfortable setting. Learn more about the services we offer for gateway drugs in Texas when you call 866.957.7885 or connect with our team online.