Alcohol is the Real Gateway Drug

by AdamS on July 8, 2012

For the last several decades, marijuana has been dubbed the “gateway drug” that many kids try and later go on to start abusing more dangerous drugs like cocaine or heroin.  However a new study from the University of Florida has found evidence that alcohol is more likely the gateway drug.  Most teens develop an alcohol addiction long before they ever develop a serious drug dependency.  This study was conducted at a University of Florida alcohol detox facility, and it found that over seventy two percent of the drug addicts surveyed had admitted to drinking alcohol as children, while only forty three percent mentioned they used marijuana as children.  Check out for more information on Florida alcohol detox.

The Study

Researchers at the University of Florida used a sample size of more than fourteen thousand high school seniors from ten dozen schools in the United States to compile all the data they used.  The study first concentrated on the high school seniors that reported using drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and LSD.  Then it took those students and evaluated what the first drug they ever used was.  More often than not it was alcohol and not marijuana that the teen had first experimented with.

Alcohol as a Gateway

Probably, the biggest reason why alcohol is the first drug used by children, is because it is very easy to get ahold of.  Most children can easily steal alcohol from their parents by just grabbing it out of the refrigerator or liquor cabinet.  When that approach is unsuccessful, teens can still find alcohol by simply asking an older sibling or friend to buy some for them.  Children are very capable of finding alcohol if they put even a small amount of effort towards it.   When they begin drinking at such a young age, they are much more likely to move on to more serious drugs as adults, finding alcohol doesn’t give them the same feeling it did originally, and looking to expand their horizons.

Addiction and Dependence

As children start to experiment with alcohol at a very young age, they can very easily get addicted to the substance.   Alcohol affects the brain in such a way that if it is abused too much, the body will develop a dependence on it and the drinker will feel sick or have trouble sleeping if they don’t have any alcohol.  The withdrawals are especially serious when the habit is formed at a very young age.  Children are very susceptible to addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

As the research done by the University of Florida alcohol detox team shows, alcohol is likely a much more dangerous drug than marijuana.  Marijuana has always been labeled the true gateway drug, however most children are experimenting with alcohol long before they ever touch marijuana.  Alcohol addiction can ruin a child’s life and force them to turn to harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, crystal meth or LSD when they become adults.  More programs should focus on preventing childhood addiction to alcohol instead of pursuing a witch hunt for teens using marijuana. Check out for more information.

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