Findings from this study and others suggest that alcohol may become a gateway drug for subsequent use of cigarettes, such as current and heavy smoking.
Cigarette smoking as a predictor of alcohol and other drug use by children and adolescents: evidence of the gateway drug effect.
This counselor admits he sees an alarming trend of teens using more drugs today than ever before, and some are skipping the gateway drugs
, such as marijuana, and heading straight for methamphetamines and ecstasy.
Most teens are at this stage, in which they try the gateway drugs
alcohol and marijuana, usually in search of a euphoric high.
Five gateway drugs were studied in relation to family structure, in addition to total drug involvement, affiliation with drug-using peers, and perceptions of peer attitudes toward drug use.
Gateway drugs were defined as those entry-level substances that are more available to teenagers and typically precede experimentation with harder drugs.
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.
Alcohol and tobacco are gateway drugs
to marijuana and harder drugs.
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.
Gateway drugs -- drugs of entry -- serve as stepping stones to illicit drug use.
Children who experiment with and later use gateway drugs are, in effect, practicing the wrong social skills and learning the wrong behaviors.
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.