gateway drug


Definition of gateway drug

: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug (such as cocaine or heroin)

Examples of gateway drug in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web MuchMusic was my gateway drug into the highs and lows of Canadian media. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, "For Black Women In Media, A “Dream Job” Is A Myth," 9 July 2020 In 2003, Dickey notes, Michael Barkun wrote with remarkable foresight that UFOs were a gateway drug to mainstreaming extremist beliefs. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The American Obsession With Conspiracy Theories, Explained," 7 July 2020 Spielberg’s masterfully constructed thriller that was one of the gateway drugs to Hollywood’s current addiction to blockbusters, sequels and franchise pictures. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "Scorsese is right about Marvel. Except when he’s wrong.," 7 Nov. 2019 The high levels of nicotine in Juul products are of particular concern for their effects on the still-developing brains of a generation of teenagers and as a potential gateway drug that could reverse decades of a steep decline in smoking rates. Matt Richtel, New York Times, "Juul Illegally Marketed E-Cigarettes, F.D.A. Says," 9 Sep. 2019 For some, the rental e-bikes from Jump and Baywheels served as a gateway drug. Rachel Swan,, "E-bikes are wildly popular in the Bay Area. Can they really replace cars?," 11 Jan. 2020 At just $25,000 the athletic, tech-tastic Si is a gateway drug for young auto enthusiasts. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "The racy Honda Civic Si just wants to have fun (auto review)," 7 Dec. 2019 Days later, after being widely criticized and called out by US Senator Cory Booker during a Democratic presidential debate over the comments, Biden reversed his position and said evidence doesn’t support the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 2 Dec. 2019 It has also been shown that smoking marijuana is a gateway drug for more powerful mind-altering drugs like heroin, crack, cocaine, Ecstasy, opioids and other prescription drugs. Chuck Lehmann,, "Legalizing marijuana? Be careful what you wish for | Opinion," 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gateway drug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gateway drug

1981, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of gateway drug was in 1981

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gateway drug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for gateway drug

gateway drug


English Language Learners Definition of gateway drug

: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) that is thought to lead to the use of more dangerous drugs (such as cocaine or heroin)

gateway drug

gate·​way drug | \ ˈgāt-ˌwā- How to pronounce gateway drug (audio) \

Medical Definition of gateway drug

: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on more dangerous, addicting substances (such as cocaine or heroin) To end at the beginning, nicotine … is now considered a "gateway drug," as it commonly precedes and is comorbid with other substance use.— Donald A. Henderson, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 9 June 1999

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