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Today’s Gateway “Drug”

June 17, 2010

Today's Gateway Drug


I’ve read many articles and heard many counselors talk about how Marijuana is a “gateway drug” to addiction. It is not the only one. Can a non-drug be a gateway drug? In my opinion, yes it can. I have watched and observed my 19 and 16 year old cousins with their cell phones. The behaviors and conditioning associated with texting is worrisome and should be of great concern to all parents. Technology affords us all many conveniences including instant communication such as texting. However, does it result in producing addictive natured children as well?  

There is obviously a problem. In fact, here is a rehab dedicated to internet gaming and texting addictions. If you google “texting addiction” you’ll be alarmed at the number of articles regarding this topic. It’s probably safe to say that we have an epidemic on our hands, literally. According to this CNN article, a neuroscientist and sleep doctor Michael Seyffert has shown that texting addiction can be compared to heroin addiction in regards to brain activity. As a former and recovering addict, I can tell you that the mental part of addiction is the most difficult to recover from. And now our children are essentially being programmed to become addicts as early as 9 or 10 years old. Texting, like other drugs, provides an instant gratification. If your child cannot live without their phone. If they have it in their hand continuously. If it’s the last thing they do at night and the first thing they do in the morning, they might have an addiction issue.  

So, go ahead, give your child a cell phone. While you’re at it, why don’t you roll up a joint and pass it to them as well.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 5:32 pm

    i’m having a bit of trouble with the comparison between texting and heroin. it seems extreme. according to the article, the problem is that both release neurotransmitter/neurohormone dopamine. but dopamine is also released with food, sex, caffeine, and other pleasurable things and experiences. i mean, i don’t think it would cause such a ruckus if someone wrote an article about how “texting” and “food” release the same hormone in the brain — although apparently, they do. the severity of comparing it with heroin seems like someone’s pushing some sort of agenda, like, the “anti-dopamine brigade.” 😉
    i just don’t think it’s cause for so much alarm. we need dopamine to function. decrease in dopamine affects motor function, memory, attention span, the list goes on. and if this is such a problem, why is the focus only on kids and teens? shouldn’t someone be researching the fact that adults check their phones every two seconds, also? or, is their high level of dopamine and subsequent addictive behavior acceptable? if so, why? because they need their phones to do their jobs? it seems to me like people always have to find something to blame. now, it’s technology.


  2. June 19, 2010 12:51 pm

    I have often wondered about that. The other day, my husband and I had dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. At the table next to us sat a family with two teenagers. The parents were engaged in conversation, but the kids each had their phones on the table and were texting nonstop, even during dinner! They did not interact with the rest of the family. I am sure if the parents had insisted on leaving the phones in the car during the restaurant visit, the kids would have been upset and the meal would have been ruined totally. I am glad I don’t have to deal with this issue. When my kids were teenagers, cell phones were not common place yet. But I observe that texting or talking on the cell phones constantly, isolates kids from their families just as if they were high.

    • June 20, 2010 2:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment. This is what I was getting at….the isolation and preoccupation of it can be compared to using drugs. As with anything else, moderation is the key. But when the use of cell phones becomes a “gotta have it” and it interferes with a “normal” functioning life, it then becomes an issue of addiction.

  3. June 20, 2010 2:05 am

    that is troubling isn’t it? Addiction can take so many forms.

  4. scandalousmuffin permalink
    June 30, 2010 10:10 pm

    I believe that “gateway drug” is largely a term used in association with people who are acting on what are predispositions to addiction. The item or act (pot, texting, etc.) thus becomes the straw person for anger or action, rather where the real focus should be–on the person and their underlying problems.

    I got lucky and don’t think I have the addiction gene to substances. I can stop smoking cigarettes at will.

    I can’t go for very long in my room without going online though. Oh sweet sweet information. *crushes up some wikipedia and snorts*

  5. July 9, 2010 8:23 pm

    Finally, someone gets me! I have had many arguments/discussions with my girlfriend over “texting”…. It is like whispering and secrets within a relationship. Texting/chatting/emails/facebook/Myspace etc… are nothing more than ways to have secret lives and relationships outside of your real one. They are destroying man’s ability to communicate…. I truly believe it to be the new drug and destruction of family by creating “distrust” and “secrets”. And to us addicts, it causes resentments…. not liking that at all….

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