Raising children can be challenging enough on its own. The presence of negative outside influence can make the task seem even more challenging. Parents who want a bright future for their children teach them that drugs are a pitfall that should be avoided. While most parents focus on informing their children about substances like cocaine and heroin, there are also gateway drugs of which every parent should be aware. These drugs should also be taken seriously.
Although not illegal, tobacco contains nicotine, a serious substance that many people do not automatically consider to be a drug. However, the nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive and has been shown to cause cancer and other illnesses. Due to ease of access, teens often experiment with smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products early on. Furthermore, studies indicate that when teens use gateway drugs like cigarettes, their risk of later using illicit drugs, which may have a more immediate negative impact, is higher.
Prescription drug abuse has increased in recent years. This increase was partially due to the fact that prescription painkillers can be measured by dose and do not have the stigma that street drugs carry. Nevertheless, prescription drugs are a category of gateway drugs that can lull users into addiction because the drugs are socially acceptable and predictable. However, doctors report that the use of opioid drugs like Oxycontin has been shown to very easily lead to heroin use and addiction, partly due to a decrease in the cost of heroin and measures that have been taken to make drugs like Oxycontin more difficult to crush and inject or snort.
Another commonly overlooked gateway drug is alcohol. Studies indicate that most drug users report having experimented with alcohol first. Like tobacco, alcohol is also easily obtainable, thereby making the substance more accessible to children and teens than illicit drugs. Experts also believe alcohol abuse can increase the likelihood that a person will use other drugs.
Marijuana is an illicit gateway drug that has been shown to be the first illicit drug that is commonly used by users of other illicit drugs. Studies indicate that youth who use marijuana are 85% more likely to use cocaine than other youth. In addition, 60% of youth who use marijuana before age 15 have been shown to eventually use cocaine.
Parents must remain aware and vigilant of gateway drugs and their potential harm. Knowledge is key in raising kids to be drug-free, healthy, and safe.Â If your kids do fall into drugs heavily click to see how you can find them help.
Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a blogger that usually writes about health and family. She wrote this article with Stanley Martinson.