A gateway drug is a drug that has a certain degree of social acceptability which is thought to promote the subsequent use of stronger, more dangerous drugs. According to Drug Watch, The earlier children use the gateway drugs tobacco or alcohol or marijuana, the more likely they are to move on to other drugs. Youth who drank alcohol were 50 times more likely to use cocaine, and those who smoked tobacco cigarettes were 19 times as likely to use cocaine. Nearly 90% of cocaine users had smoked tobacco or drank alcohol or used marijuana first. The study, based on 30,000 American households, established a clear progression that began with use of the gateway drugs of alcohol, tobacco or marijuana and led to use of other drugs.
- Drugs Are Illegal Because Drugs Are Dangerous, Drug Watch International, May 1, 2001.