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Chapter 4. Psychological Factors: Part 3

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 4. Psychological Factors

4.3. Alcohol as a Gateway Drug

Section 4.3. Alcohol as a Gateway Drug


Drinking alcohol can lead to serious consequences. When people drink, their judgment diminishes, and their ability to make good choices is impaired. People who drink have a tendency to make poor decisions, which can lead to use or abuse of other drugs. Under the influence of alcohol, people get more daring and more willing to try things they would never try if they didn't drink. That's why alcohol is considered a gateway drug.

Gateway drugs are substances that people use which, in many cases, lead to taking other drugs. Once they've broken the barrier, it somehow becomes easier to do the next thing. But with drugs, they don't progress into something better; they progress into something more dangerous and harmful.

How do gateway drugs work?

Gateway drugs work in two major ways:

One: Gateway drugs break down a psychological barrier against doing other drugs. Once an individual has crossed the line with a gateway drug,they're more likely to cross the line with other drugs.

Two: Gateway drugs impair an individual's judgment. If they're impaired or high, it's easier to say yes to whatever else is offered. Gateway drugs break down inhibitions, so they're more susceptible to peer pressure and the desire to experiment. And they don't just impair judgment when they're on them - gateway drugs can change the way the user feels about drugs in general, putting them on a really ugly path that'll get them in trouble and make them unhappy - possibly for the rest of their lives.

Are gateway drugs as serious as other drugs?

Many people mistakenly think that gateway drugs are less serious than other drugs. These people are wrong. These drugs are even more dangerous in a way - because using them puts people at greater risk for using other drugs.

Are gateway drugs addictive?

Yes. Not only are gateway drugs like alcohol addictive, they can lead to addiction or dependency on other drugs.

Think before you take that drink. Gateway drugs can lead to a more serious addiction. It can ruin your life, keeping you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish, making you difficult to be around, ruining your priorities, and hurting the people you love. Gateway drugs can easily do all these things.

(Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.): http://www.dare.com/parents/Parents_KeepingKidsDrugFree/Default2f75.asp)

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