Gateway drugs were defined as those entry-level substances that are more available to teenagers and typically precede experimentation with harder drugs.
Students responded to six items designed to measure the number of close friends who used the five gateway drugs (two items pertained to cigarette use).
In the 1984 book Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs
, Robert DuPont estimated that "up to 50 percent of regular users of marijuana also use heroin.
All-American Eric Schiller believes young children involved in age group swimming competitions do not go on to become teenage users of nicotine and marijuana, which are gateway drugs
to cocaine and crack.
Research concerning gateway drugs
has produced impressive evidence that adolescents who smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol at least one time per month are 30 times more likely to smoke marijuana.
Prescription painkillers are gateway drugs
Treatment data show that of all adults in alcohol and drug treatment today, six in 10 of them began using gateway drugs
, such as alcohol, before they were 16 years old.
The three variables which best predicted self-reported drug use at grade 10 were (1) number of friends using gateway drugs, (2) self-reported average grade, and (3) involvement in enjoyable extracurricular activities.
Beyond the initial entry of the number of friends using gateway drugs, the additional entry of self-reported average grade and involvement in extracurricular activities contributed to a small increase in explaining the variance in self-reported drug use at grade level 12 (Table 1).
The report also indicates that adolescents in general, under attack from all sides by the multi-tentacled specter of drugs, are finding illicit substances easier to access - and at younger ages - and increasingly are using tobacco, alcohol and marijuana as gateway drugs toward harder substances.
The report also implicated marijuana, as well as cigarettes and alcohol, as primary adolescent gateway drugs - substances that serve as precursors for the abuse of more serious drugs.
So advertisement and other influences in the media involving the gateway drugs
do play a critical role in the problem of drug addiction.