Picture this: your teen is at a party with friends, and someone they consider to be cool walks into the room with a bag of cocaine. Everyone has been drinking alcohol and their inhibitions are way down. Suddenly, this cocaine is sounding more and more appealing to your teen. Why is this? It’s because alcohol is a gateway drug. So is tobacco. When your teen starts drinking and/or smoking, they are at a higher risk to do harder drugs.

What is a gateway drug?

Gateway drugs are drugs that provide a “gateway” or lead to more illicit drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. These gateway drugs include tobacco, alcohol and possibly marijuana. Many users of cocaine or heroine have spoken about using alcohol and tobacco before moving on to harder drugs. Multiple studies have been conducted verifying that alcohol and tobacco use makes it easier for people to desire harder drugs.

The gateway drug

gateway drugs
Image Source: Flickr user – Imagensevangelicas

When most people hear about “gateway drugs,” they probably automatically think about marijuana. Marijuana has for a long time been thought to lead to harder, more illicit drugs. Recently a study, conducted by NYU researchers, investigated high schooler’s reasons for smoking marijuana and how they were related to using other drugs. They looked at how marijuana use was associated with: powder cocaine, crack, heroin, LSD, amphetamines and tranquilizers.  They found that marijuana users who used because they were bored were more likely to go into harder drugs.
Another study, about gateway drugs, found that children who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to go into harder drugs. Clients who abuse alcohol are 50 times more likely to go into harder drugs. These statistics might seem a bit outrageous, but they highlight the importance of getting your teens away from gateway drugs as soon as possible.


Taking preventative measures to stop your teen from using gateway drugs is essential to their future help. A zero tolerance policy towards alcohol and tobacco is an effective way to prevent your teen from using gateway drugs. The longer you are able to keep them away from alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, the better. If your teen stays away from gateway drugs for the duration of their adolescence, they are not as likely to get into hard drugs in the future.

Wilderness therapy can help

If your teen is already using a gateway drug, sending them to a wilderness therapy program can help them overcome their addiction and lessen their chances of getting into harder drugs in the future. Wilderness therapy programs take teens out of their familiar environment and provide an opportunity for great change and improvement.
blueFire Wilderness has advanced therapeutic techniques and a trained, caring staff that can help your teen quit gateway drugs.
To learn more about blueFire and how we can help your child overcome substance abuse and/or addiction, please call us today at 844-413-1999.

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