Pot is a gateway drug for many

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is no disputing the fact that pot does lead to other drugs in people who are addicts. My difficult child started out years ago just smoking pot. Recently since her last relapse she has begun using spice, mushroom and is now taking percocets, three at a time. She is drinking heavily and it's only a matter of time before something tragic happens.

    Perhaps many people can smoke pot and that's all they do and they have no negative effects, but that is not true for many of our difficult child's who are addicts.

  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nancy, I totally agree with you. I never will accept the argument that pot is totally harmless and should be legalized. I know too many kids that started with "just pot" that have moved down the path of addiction toward much harder drugs and alcoholism.

  3. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It is puzzling why some people become addicts and others do not. I have a sister that smokes only on the weekends and some times if she is really busy she will go weeks without smoking. I have asked her why she doesn't just quit, she knows it's not good for her. My husband quit the same day his daughter was diagnosed with allergies. I tried for years and had a very hard time stopping. Now the smell of a cigarette gives me a headache.

    I have heard several people in meetings say they have tried pot or cocaine and did not understand the appeal. They said they were paranoid and felt like a zoombie after smoking pot and the cocaine gave them nose bleeds.

    I am on the line about legalization. I can think of reasons pro and con. My biggest concern is the type of people they are dealing with when they buy drugs, and when there are drug arrests it rarely involves the top that are making the big bucks. I have watched documentaries about drugs and they use prohibition as an example, it only took alcohol sales underground and did not stop people from drinking.

    My young relatives tell me that it is easy to buy pot at the high school. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another.

    I don't think there is and easy answer either way.
  4. wantpeace

    wantpeace New Member

    I agree, Nancy! I've spoken to addicts themselves who admit that pot was their gateway drug and wish they'd never tried it. Even if they stick to pot, an addict can't do any drug in moderation and it'll negatively impact their lives. Just my opinion.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know I could care less what they do about legalizing pot. It would not change my opinion. Alcohol is legal and yet difficult child is an alcoholic. It just makes me angry when I hear people talk about how it is not harmful and doesn't lead to other things. An addict is an addict and they continually look for new thigns to feed their addiction. I know very few addicts who only use one drug and nothing else and it started somewhere. I am not an alcoholic therefore I can drink one or two drinks and stop, never crossing that line. I would never lose a job or miss an appointment or drive while impaired because it just wouldn;t happen. I don;t need a drink and I don't think about the next time I'm going to have one. Drugs are a non issue.

    difficult child thinks, talks and plans for the next drug/alcohol use 24/7. Her life revolves around it and she enjoys that life. In all honesty I don't ever see recovery in her future. Pot is no longer giving her the buzz she seaks so it's on to bigger things. That's how it is with addicts.

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I actually think a gateway drug for many young teens is good old fashioned cigarettes. Especially now a days when it is not all that socially acceptable to smoke.. so kids who smoke are already moving away from the "good" kid behavior. So once they try cigarettes, it is an easy step to smoke pot... and then move on from there.

    Obviously not all kids who smoke cigarettes, smoke pot and onwards... and not all kids who smoke pot use harder drugs. I am sure there are many who don't. But it seems to me most addicts smoke cigarettes and started there, and very few addicts didn't start with pot. Maybe those who didn't use drugs until an injury when they got hooked on pain pills but I think most addicts start with pot.

    I know that is true of my difficult child. And fact is when he is using he will try anything to get high and he has.... and if he doesn't get sober and stay sober he is at very serious risk of becoming a heroin addict or worse. I know he has tried opiates although as far as I know he has not yet been physically addicted to them (ie needed to detox from them) but if he keeps using it is only a matter of time.

    I am hoping that this time around he gets it... and if not this time then next time.

    Nancy I still have hope for your difficult child... but she has to find her own way. You have done everything you can.

  7. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    There's no disputing that for the children of the people on this board, pot was definitely a gateway drug. That's just the way it is, and I for one am glad it's illegal, even though it doesn't do a darn thing to stop anyone who wants to use it - same thing goes for underage drinking. on the other hand, cigarettes are also highly addictive, and it's just awful that an entire industry is legally perpetuated around the money generated from slowly killing yourself. It really all comes down to self control and discernment. It's just so important to do everything you can to keep your kids away from pot, drinking and smoking from ages 12-18. If they don't start then, they probably won't overdo it later. But difficult children generally have psychological/personality issues, and these issues go hand-in-hand with drug/drinking experimentation and risky behavior in addition to behavioral problems and a stunning lack of common sense. Try to keep a moth away from a porchlight.
  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thank you for posting this Nancy. I heartily agree ! I did not want to post on the other thread because I feared I would get carried away. My opinion is in regards to those people who smoke it for kicks. I would never judge Cory or anyone else who is using it for a medical condition.

    Sure alcohol and cigarettes are also harmful, addictive and legal but that has no bearing on whether or not ANOTHER harmful and addictive substance SHOULD be legal for recreational use.

    As for many people who are able to use pot recreationally and still be successful and productive - that remains to be seen. Who knows if pot is holding them back from a more highly realized successful life? or if they will cross the line between recreational use and addiction? As I used to tell my difficult child - you may get to choose to use drugs or alcohol just once!! After that, it may choose to use you... you never know at what point you will become an addict...so don't let the substance in...

    Marijuana is known to cause amotivational syndrome defined as: ... apathy, loss of effectiveness, and diminished capacity or willingness to carry out complex, long-term plans, endure frustration, concentrate for long periods, follow routines, or successfully master new material. Verbal facility is often impaired both in speaking and writing. Some individuals exhibit greater introversion, become totally involved with the present at the expense of future goals and demonstrate a strong tendency toward regressive, childlike, magical thinking...

    DING DING DING - sound just like my difficult child - and many of the difficult child's on this board. I remember when we used to call "those kids" burnouts.

    Time and time again - I long to ask my difficult child - "so hon - how's all that pot smoke working for you?" When we drug tested you regularly and you tested clean - you were getting straight A's and had a future...GOALS, morals, ideals...DO YOU THINK FAILING OUT OF SCHOOL IS JUST A COINCIDENCE???

    Stating that it's natural and therefore harmless is absurd. Oleander is a lovely flower and grows in the wild. It's also toxic to humans. In fact, I looked up toxic plants on wikipedia and counted 29 before I reached the "C"s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_poisonous_plants

    I was a Special Education major for a year in college way back in 1987. I will admit that it was not the career for me. However, I distinctly remember learning that MALE pot use has measurable effect on sperm and causes lack of mobility and other changes to male fertility. There are many definitive studies linking PATERNAL marijuana use to learning, behavioral & growth disabilities in offspring. There are theories that paternal use of marijuana may contribute to autism. Even on the "paternal grand" side. The autism link is just in early studies. But the timeline of the rise in autism makes sense...to me. And why take that chance? Human reproduction relies upon the best & the fastest sperm reaching the egg. Marijuana use interferes with that process. While there are contraindications for maternal marijuana use during pregnancy, stopping marijuana use mitigates the effects since the eggs are formed long before the woman is born-unlike semen which is an ongoing "manufacturing" process. And we know THC is present in the bloodstream for at least a month following use...who knows what it's affecting during its tenure in the body?

    As far as it being a gateway drug - even my 15 year old knows that. He stated such when we spoke about "staying away from marijuana" just a few days ago... he promised he would never do it because he's seen how it has negatively affected his brother's life and he volunteered that while he is pretty sure difficult child only uses pot - he worries because he (pc15) knows it's a gateway drug. Out of the mouths of babes...

    Do I think marijuana should be legal for casual use? Absolutely not. I can't believe at a time when society is regulating cigarette use to the nth degree that there would be a movement toward legalizing an ADDITIONAL form of smoking. A mood altering form at that! And can you imagine people who smoke at home with small children? Cigarette smoke is harmful enough - but exposing little ones to a contact high? No thank you. And I don't want to be around high people. UGH! I wonder if Cheetos is the lobbyist behind the push? Seriously, though, THC remains in the bloodstream for a long time. I've been told it is hard to quantify. So you could smoke a joint on April 2, cause a car accident on April 30 and be convicted of driving under the influence when you test + for marijuana 28 days after you smoked it.

    Do I think marijuana has legitimate medical use? Sure. Should it be legal and controlled for medicinal purposes? Absolutely. Let the drug companies and the FDA get a hold of it...the FDA will NEVER approve a smokable form. Let them make it into pills - and regulate it to death. Have you tried to buy OTC cold medicine lately? Legalized, medicinal marijuana is a great thing for people who need it. Yet legalized marijuana may be burnout's worst nightmare...

    what did I say about getting carried away???
    Over and out.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 1, 2012
  9. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I'm with you 100% Signorina. I just wish young kids would hear something like this from ex-burnouts rather than from parents. In your young PCs case, it seems to have registered, but for many kids, they think it'll never affect them, and that mom & dad are imbeciles living in the dark ages. There's also plenty of stuff on the internet which completely refutes what you wrote, and that is what my difficult child used to quote all the time.
    Ironically, when he went away to college as a freshman this year, he was in a very challenging school, and we fully briefed him on how unprepared he was. He bombed his first semester, smoked dope all the time, and barely limped thru with-a 2.0
    He was not permitted to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, he got no presents from us, and no money other than his cafeteria card. We got zero financial aid and this school is too expensive to screw up with DHs hard-earned money. I cut off all contact with him, husband would text him once in a while, his FB is protected, so we can't see what's going on there. His sister doesn't even talk to him, she's so disappointed. Anyway, he told us he hasn't smoked pot in months, has been hustling at school, but realizes that the last 3 yrs. in HS when he did absolutely nothing have left him unprepared. He's not used to the discipline of studying, organizing himself and taking himself seriously. He's socially retarded - a 13 y/o in an 18 y/o body.. He realizes we're not going to give him a dime, so now he's working hard, but it may not be enough. He may not be able to keep up, and he knows it and he sees clearly now that he traded 3 important years of his life and we were right all along. He pleaded to come home on spring break last week, and promised to take a drug test when husband picked him up (he passed), and he ate dinner with-us every night, was so grateful to have a clean room and comfortable bed, delicious cooked food, privacy, clean bathroom, that he nearly lost his cookies. He couldn't apologize enough to us. Now I'm a pessimist, so even though he passed the two tests we gave him while here, I know he could've smoked spice, which we can't buy a test for, and he could've done mushrooms, or salvia. He appeared straight and clear-eyed the whole week. He did schoolwork. He has contacted his sister via phone and was sending her pictures. He kept his room clean and made the bed, did laundry and tidied up the bathroom. When we drove him home, he was telling us sincerely how grateful he was to be able to come home and how much he missed us, and how he messed up. So the jury's still out, but he sure looks repentant to me. For now. He could be setting us up. Excessive pot use and stupidity took 3 years of our lives, and may have permanently affected whether or not he can pursue the career he's always wanted. Pot IS a gateway-- to difficult child ruination, in my opinion.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest


    And I truly hope my difficult child sees the light...it sounds like yours has... frankly if my kid was minding his Ps & Qs, being respectful and polite at home, getting decent grades etc; I could/would stop looking for overt signs of drug use. But my kid's pot use is GLARING in his behavior and the effect it is having on his life - low grades, etc. You would think HE could see the correlation!

    I just got off the phone with mine; he wanted to know if we were going away for Easter and if not - could he come for dinner. We will be away. And I am truly hoping he really wanted to come home for dinner and wasn't scouting for info on when we would be away. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst. I all ready took my valuables to the safe deposit box and we've changed the alarm & garage code.

    He is (seems?) truly convinced that he will sublet a room this summer and rent a campus apt next year and be able to work to afford it all plus tuition AND take 18 credit hours and get a 3.0 which will allow him to get off academic probation.

    I had to bite my tongue not to say - "if that will be so DOABLE - why couldn't you do it last semester when you paid your own way or the year before when WE paid your way???" But I didn't say it :-0
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    CJ - It sounds to me like your son is doing well... I think if he was still smoking pot regularly or doing spice or anything else on a regular basis he would not have been so cooperative on the visit and working hard at school etc. I think you said your son was not a difficult child until he was 13 or so.... so I think there is a lot of hope in your case.

    My easy child daughter is also very anti drug.... she has no use for pot or alcohol and is disappointed that some of her friends (all really good kids) are starting to experiment some. We have talked about drugs but I don't have to give her warnings or say much really because she has seen what it can do first hand, she can see how it can mess up someones life and she absolutely does not want that. That is one good that comes out of the mess my difficult child is in, his sister knows the harm that drugs can do.

  12. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Oh, our kids...our kids. They wipe us out.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I have friends who are or have been police officers. One of them has an interesting take on MJ as a gateway drug - he is "neutral" as to legalization, says there's pros and cons.

    MJ as a gateway drug? It's definitely a gateway to connections with drug dealers. And drug dealers have no interest in the wellbeing of their customers... just in how much money they can make. So... the dealers will lace the safer drugs - like MJ - with other stuff, to get customers hooked. Even IF the MJ itself isn't highly addictive... it opens the door to access or unintentional access to harder drugs. And THAT is definitely a problem.

    Canada actually has legalized medical MJ - and attempts to turn the compounds into pill form, have failed. Somehow, it has to be absorbed through the lungs to have the necessary impact. They may have to look at how to turn this into an inhaler? (There's also problems with getting consistent quality of supply, but that's a whole different subject)
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for understanding.

    So many good points here including the fact that it certainly is a gateway to drug dealers who would love for you to get hooked on all kinds of drugs and bring your friends too. And I do think cigarettes is the beginning of it for many of our difficult child's. Years ago so many people smoked. When I was in college everyone did. Then we started listening to the medical reports and we got smart and stopped. Today mostly because of the no smoking education programs and smoking bans and how society now looks down on it, the kids who smoke are those who are drawn living on the edge of society, the risk takers, those who think they are invincible, the ones who will eventually gravitate to drinkng and other drugs.

    I know there are people who can drink and even smoke pot withough harmful effects and without becoming addicted, but like I said they are not addicts and my difficult child is. I am so sick of the people she associates with, the losers of the world, the ones who will never have a steady job, who will live live paycheck to paycheck or those who will work the welfare system and not feel bad or guilty about not pulling their share. I have watched difficult child gravitate to these people since she was 14 years old and it's the way she wants tolive. She is as addicted to that as she is to alcohol and drugs.

  15. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    For me it was cigarettes and alcohol which are both perfectly legal. I bet for many others it was cigarettes and alcohol and not pot. Pot was just the first illegal one...
  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My easy child feels the very same way!! She has witnessed how messed up difficult child is using drugs and wants no part of them.

    Of course, she doesn't have an addictive personality so I don't think she would have gone down that path even if she had experimented. I'm just glad that she didn't.

    I also agree that smoking cigarettes is only cool nowadays with young people who are looking to rebel. difficult child started because she knew we were totally anti-smoking. The other druggies she hung around with also smoked. I work with teenagers every day and smoking is not considered cool anymore. Only the ones on the edge or already in the drug culture smoke.

  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Tiredof33 mentioned something that I personally experienced when I tried pot, many moons ago - it made me paranoid and gave me red eyes and a headache. I could drink a couple of Mtn Dews and get "high" on caffeine - legally, cheaply and best of all, it didn't make me stupid. (But it made me giggle just like my friends who smoked pot... Hmm.)

    But... Quitting cigarette smoking is STILL my worst nightmare. I have not had a cigarette since January 19. But I'll dream about it, or out of nowhere head toward the smoking area - without even thinking about it. The habits are deeply ingrained. And I am addicted, make no mistake. Just because I've broken the cycle doesn't mean I don't struggle constantly. I smoked for so long - I don't know what to do with myself if I am not smoking. (Yes, I find things.) Alcohol is much the same for me - I am capable of one glass of wine - but the moment I have the second glass (or one strong drink, etc.), I cannot stop. Someone else must stop me. Bad relationships were another one. For me, it's not the substance but the feeling it creates...

    So, then, why was I able to stay away from marijuana? Actually (for me) it was pretty simple. I was terrified of my parents being disappointed in me - it was stronger than wanting a way out of my own head. (And trust me, I did want OUT, sometimes. BADLY.) But our kids don't have this - no, they do NOT want to disappoint us (for the most part, some just do not care) - but they don't have the impulse control.
  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My easy child wants nothing to do with drinking either and drugs are a non-issue. She even hates to take advil. She hates drinking so much is causes her problems in her social life since it's difficult to meet guys who don't really like to drink much either. She doesn't even enjoy going to a bar with friends and not drink, hates to be around it. I wish that didn't happen to her but she's seen so much of the chaos that difficult child has caused that she wants no part of it.

  19. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    StepTo2 quiting cigarettes was the hardest habit to kick I have ever faced. I dreamed about smoking too and if I got a sniff of one the cravings kicked in. I took a jar and put the money in it I would have spent on cigs and bought myself something just for me.

    I gained 20 pounds (I'm short so looked like 40 lol) and ate bags of hard candy. I tried EVERYTING for years and finally quit cold turkey. Exercise helped me, and I was determined not to have the weezing cough I hear from smokers!

    I was up to 3 packs a day and it was a full year before I could say, 'I quit!!!'. As hard as it was I am never tempted and as expensive as they are today it was worth the effort.

    If I can do it you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  20. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    "difficult child thinks, talks and plans for the next drug/alcohol use 24/7. Her life revolves around it and she enjoys that life."

    That's my difficult child nephew, to a T. And almost all difficult children as well, as far as I can tell.

    The thing is, I don't think they're that way because they're addicts. I think that being this way is a symptom of an underlying cause, and as has been noted broadly in this forum, the root cause is some kind of as-yet-not-clearly-categorized mental illness. From a ton of observation, I think it stems from an inability to recognize and commit to the standard rhythms, rituals, and mechanism of ordinary life--get up, do school or the job, come home, relax/rest and pursue other interests, then sleep and start the same cycle the next day--so that the arcana and rituals and mechanism of doing/chasing drugs fills the void and makes them feel alive and productive and purposeful in the ways that ordinary life makes the rest of us feel alive and productive and purposeful. I do know that EVERY difficult child I've ever known or heard of seems to regard drug-chasing and -taking as an entirely worthwhile and productive use of their time and energy--and that they feel as empty and rudderless when they (are forced to) stop as the rest of us do when, for instance, we lose our jobs or suffer some similar major disruption in the standard rituals & activities & cycles of behavior that make *our* lives feel productive and worthwhile.

    I saw a clip on YouTube recently of a former drug addict giving advice to parents of addicts and she warned that, when your addict child gets out of rehab, you MUST give him/her plenty to do, have lots of structure and scheduled activity and all of that (the stuff that addicts really relish about rehab, evidently: all of that structure and scheduled activity that fills their days), because (and this really struck me) "we just don't know how to live a life--at all." That seems at the very core of GFGness: each day is a meaningless, structureless, pointless canyon of time, so they fill it with partying and drugging and the pursuit of those activities--whereas the rest of us easily fill it with the standard routine: getting up, doing school/job, coming home and relaxing & pursuing personal interests, then closing the day with sleep. It's so simple and automatic for us and it's SO foreign and intolerably undoable for difficult children. And that is SO sad--to be unable to live or fill one's days in ordinary, productive (or at least unharmful) ways. I can't imagine what that's like, but it's gotta be terrible.