The Most Dangerous Gateway Drugs

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The Most Dangerous Gateway Drugs

Young adults experiment with drug use every day. For some, this can be a way to exercise control over their lives and bodies, while for other people, it can be a way to connect with others or respond to peer pressure. Often, using gateway drugs can lead to other drug use and addiction. Knowing and understanding the risks of gateway drugs and signs of drug addiction can help people know when to seek drug addiction treatment.

If a young man in your life is using gateway drugs, call Red Oak Recovery® today. Our holistic substance abuse treatment center serves men ages 18-30 in Asheville, North Carolina. Call us today 866.457.7590 to learn more about holistic addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery®.

What Are Gateway Drugs?

Some people think gateway drugs are a myth. In reality, gateway drugs are drugs that often lead to other drug use. Gateway drugs are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive across the United States. The four most common gateway drugs are:


Cigarettes and other tobacco products, including vape pens, contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can lead to other drug use. Like most drugs, when someone becomes dependent on nicotine, they need to smoke frequently to prevent withdrawal symptoms. This can often lead to combining cigarettes with marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs. Cigarette smokers may also be more inclined to try smoking illicit drugs.


Marijuana has been used medicinally and recreationally for centuries. Today, it is relatively accessible and legal in some states. The two main chemicals in cannabis have different effects. CBD does not affect cognition and acts as a painkiller and relaxer, while THC can cause intense sensory experiences and can become addictive. Cannabis use disorder can often lead to other drug use.


Despite being legal, alcohol is not harmless. Those who develop alcohol addiction frequently combine alcohol with other drugs for a stronger effect. Because alcohol impairs judgment, many people try other drugs while drunk.

Prescription Drugs

In some cases, prescription drugs are overprescribed or easy to get from friends or loved ones. Most prescription drugs are highly addictive. Prescription painkillers can lead to heroin or fentanyl use, while Adderall can lead to cocaine and meth use.

While experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a common part of young adulthood, those who begin using gateway drugs as teenagers are more likely to develop severe and dangerous addictions. Continued use of marijuana in young adulthood can lead to cannabis use disorder, which can have serious side effects. In many cases, people combine gateway drugs and experiment with illicit drugs while already using gateway drugs.

Holistic Addiction Treatment for Young Men in Asheville, North Carolina

Gateway drugs should be considered as dangerous as illicit drugs. For many young men, using drugs and alcohol can be a sign of underlying mood disorders. At Red Oak Recovery®, we put holistic health first with a dual diagnosis for addiction recovery. Whether someone is struggling with drugs, alcohol, anxiety, or depression, the team at Red Oak is ready to help.

At Red Oak, we give young men ages 18-30 a safe space to find themselves in the natural world. With wilderness and experiential therapy, men at Red Oak disconnect from their stressful urban lives and reconnect to themselves. Our family therapy program helps loved ones reconnect, change behavioral patterns, and improve communication for a reliable and healthy support system.

What Is Holistic Addiction Treatment?

Holistic addiction treatment is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, not just the obvious symptoms of their addiction. A holistic approach will take into account things like mental and social factors, and when combined with standard treatment protocols can create a safe, comfortable space to begin to heal in.

Examples of holistic addiction treatment programs include:

  • Fitness therapy and nutritional counseling
  • Meditation therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music or sound therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga
  • Adventure therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Breathwork

Holistic treatment options can vary by location, often integrating the surroundings into the therapy. A holistic approach to addiction can be highly beneficial to the recovery process when combined with a traditional course of treatment.

Start Addiction Treatment at Red Oak Recovery® Today

If you or a young man in your life is experimenting with gateway drugs, they may be a sign of a deeper issue. Call Red Oak Recovery® today to find out how we can help. Call our friendly staff now at 866.457.7590 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about the benefits of holistic addiction recovery in North Carolina.