Gateway drugs are the less damaging substances people start taking before they move on to more damaging drugs like heroin and cocaine. Traditionally alcohol, cannabis and tobacco have been seen as gateway drugs but new research from the University at Buffalo in New York State suggests that prescription drugs could be just as significant. The researchers interviewed 75 people hospitalized for opioid detoxification and found that 31 of them said that they had first become addicted to legitimately-prescribed painkillers. Another 24 people said that they had become addicted to a friend's left-over pills or had stolen drugs from their parents' medicine cabinet. The remaining 20 participants said that they had got hooked on street drugs. However, 92% of the sample said that they had eventually bought illegal drugs because they were cheaper and more effective.
You can find out more about this research by clicking on the title of this post.