Definition of gateway drug in US English:

gateway drug

noun

  • A habit-forming drug that, while not itself addictive, may lead to the use of other addictive drugs.

    ‘many believe that alcohol and cigarettes are gateway drugs that increase the risk of subsequent involvement with illegal drugs’
    • ‘Demonised as a gateway drug, hailed as a medical wonder drug, cannabis is never far from controversy and the debate to legalise it has never been more acute.’
    • ‘Many young people in the town are regarded as casual users of these recreational drugs, which are often seen as the gateway drug to substances such as cocaine and heroin.’
    • ‘It's still a gateway drug for meth or cocaine; I wouldn't want my kids out there recreationally smoking marijuana.’
    • ‘He scorns claims that cannabis is a gateway drug: ‘It's the individual's personality that leads to other drugs.’’
    • ‘We thought that comics were like a gateway drug into reading.’
    • ‘Twenty-nine point one percent of ecstasy users also abuse one or more other illegal substances, indicating it is likely to be a gateway drug.’
    • ‘As to the gateway drug claims, heroin addicts have the type of personality that makes them heroin addicts.’
    • ‘Does this mean that alcohol is a gateway drug for marijuana?’
    • ‘He added: ‘I don't believe that cannabis is a gateway drug that will inevitably lead users on to experimentation with other harder drugs’.’
    • ‘Instead, the legal status of marijuana makes it a gateway drug.’
    • ‘Cigarettes are a gateway drug; most narcotics addicts start on cigarettes.’
    • ‘While it might not be a gateway drug, I like to think of it as a ‘buffer drug’.’
    • ‘At least the movie does a formidable service by proving once and for all that neither marijuana nor LSD is the true gateway drug.’
    • ‘There was also no evidence in either city to back the common refrain that marijuana serves as a gateway drug.’
    • ‘It's de rigueur in high school health classes (or at least it was when I was in high school) for marijuana to be presented as the gateway drug.’
    • ‘‘I consider our single malt a gateway drug for the whiskey industry,’ he says.’
    • ‘Furthermore, those who used all three of these gateway drugs were much more likely to use cocaine than those who used only one gateway drug.’
    • ‘The life list is the beginning of the mania, but much like a gateway drug, it can lead to more extreme enumerating activity.’
    • ‘The Mexican authorities were shocked at the liberalisation of the drug in Britain, he said, as marijuana was a gateway drug to cocaine.’
    • ‘There's clear evidence that cannabis is itself a gateway drug to harder and more damaging drugs, and that cannabis itself has a devastating impact on our poorer communities.’

Pronunciation

gateway drug

/ˈɡātwā ˌdrəɡ//ˈɡeɪtweɪ ˌdrəɡ/