During our life we are constantly facing the perils of abuse in terms of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. When the use of marijuana is concerned many people use it as a gateway drug, but we have been taught that its use can lead to the use of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin or prescription opioids. Yet, this is not the only peril that a person can encounter in its life; the alcohol can take a great toll, especially when using it is a gateway from the problems and difficulties in life.
Contrary to cannabis alcohol is legal and you can buy it in almost every store, but its effects can be very damaging and harmful for the overall health and well-being. Although the use of cannabis has been popularized lately, it is still not the common gateway substance, in fact it comes as a third choice after alcohol and tobacco.
The “drug” that can become very addictive and show irreversible harmful side effects is alcohol. This has been confirmed by a team of scientists at the University of Florida who considered alcohol as the worst gateway drug that leads to the use of other illicit substances.
The intake of alcohol easily leads to smoking tobacco or cannabis and in worst case scenario the alcohol drinkers are more liable to using drugs like cocaine. This we can see in every pub or bar where people tend to drink a lot. The students of the University of Florida vouched for this stating that the peers that drink a lot are at higher risk of using of illicit or legal drugs.
The conducted study at this university used the data that was collected from 14,577 high school seniors from 120 public and private schools in the U.S. This population was divided in non-drinkers and drinkers. Researchers showed that the seniors in high schools who drank alcohol even at a lower rate are 13 times more likely to smoke cigarettes, 16 times more likely to use cannabis and other narcotics, and 13 times more likely to use cocaine. This was not the case with the seniors who did not drink alcohol.
Alcohol is the first substance that young people start to use believing that it cannot be as harmful as the use of drugs, but its consumption can lead you to the use of drugs. It is simple, when having a few drinks you are more likely to smoke tobacco or the offered joint just like doing things that you would never do while being sober like dancing on the table or some other crazy things.
When you have too many drinks the urge for having a cigarette is higher and in that way elevates the dopamine levels in your body. The nicotine and alcohol work together and for your intoxicated brain they become irresistible which can easily lead to taking that line of cocaine on the table.
According to the researchers at Yale, alcohol and cigarettes lead to the next step of opiate abuse, which is not the case with cannabis use.
Alcohol – The Scariest Gateway
Alcohol is present everywhere in the society and its use is being encouraged since it is legal and because of that students need to be aware of its side effects. Both the schools and parents should focus on the adverse effects of the alcohol abuse and not to be considered as something that every senior needs to pass in its youth.
Alcohol is the main culprit for numerous traffic injuries, thousands deaths, and terrible nights. But, it seems that there is not enough attention paid to this issue as it is considered as a semi-normal thing even though it is highly addictive and dangerous. If the use of drugs were the case this would have never been tolerated. Underage smoking and alcohol use commonly precede cannabis use.
According to Dr. Karen Van Gundy, an associate professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire alcohol should be not taken lightly as that is the first gateway drug, and not the use of cannabis. The use of other illicit drugs in the future it does not solely depend if the senior in high school smoked cannabis or not, it more depends on various social factors like emotional trauma, unemployment and stress.
Moreover, taking off alcohol can be very difficult as it is everywhere and alcoholics in recovery need to fight the urge constantly every single day as triggers and temptations are everywhere.
Cannabis can be even helpful in preventing cell damage as a result of alcohol intake. In a performed animal study on rats cannabidiol, a cannabis compound, can act as an effective remedy in the treatment of alcohol-induced neurodegeneration. However, this study has not been conducted on humans so it cannot be stated for sure that its use would be effective in humans as well.
Nonetheless, marijuana can be addictive, but the rates of addiction are still substantially lower than other drugs, including legal and illegal ones. This does not mean that cannabis doesn’t have the potential for abuse or addiction.
Drinking alcohol is considered as a socially normal thing and because of that the early signs of dependency and addiction are not being easily detected. But, still it is considered the better variant of a gateway drug than the one of other drugs. Therefore, there is no so much attention on its overuse and the possible threats it can pose to our body and as well as to the surrounding.
This needs to be changed and there should be lectures on all possible threats alcohol can pose to your body, especially before the youth reaches the legal age of 21. The chances of your child to be offered alcohol at a high school party are much higher than the possibility of other drugs. Hence, there is great need to teach our children what this socially acceptable gateway drug can do to their bodies and mind.