The car is packed to maximum capacity, the directions are in the GPS, and your child is off to his freshman year of college. It is an exciting time for the entire family. Attending a University for more education has become part of the American life. High school is preparation for the long nights of studying, library power sessions, and detailed lectures that will provide young adults with the skills to build a career. College for some students is a time to find themselves and experiment with the world. Unfortunately, some college students fall victim to substance abuse, which can ruin their futures. Heroin abuse and addiction are on the rise in Indiana Colleges and it is being linked to gateway drugs. Gateway Drugs A gateway drug is a drug that leads to future drug experimentation, use, abuse, and possible addiction. A gateway drug can be anything that is experimented with first and leads to further drug abuse. The popular opinion in the United States is that marijuana is ‘the’ gateway drug. Research has shown that a majority of young adults have experimented with marijuana or believe that doing so is not as hazardous as society makes it out to be. In fact, individuals that have experimented with marijuana are much more likely to abuse other drugs later in life. In recent years the most popular gateway drug has changed. Prescription medications are now becoming the most popular gateway drug. Most young adults, before the age of 13, have been exposed to prescription drugs in one form or another. The United States is the number one consumer of prescription drugs in the world; therefore it is not a surprise that prescription drugs are heavily abused. The major problem with prescription drugs as a gateway drug is that they are more likely to lead to hard drugs and drug abuse than marijuana. College Students and Risky Behavior Young adults are more prone to risky behavior because they have underdeveloped minds. The part of the brain that justifies actions and weighs consequences is not fully developed until later ages. This leads college students to engage in much more dangerous situations. This risky behavior often means experimenting with dangerous substances. Alcohol and drug use in colleges has reached a staggering number. College students are beginning to develop dependencies and addictions to drugs that keep them from succeeding in their next level of education. Abusing drugs and alcohol can lead to lowered inhibitions and more risky behavior. Gateway Drugs in Indiana Universities Heroin is considered one of the most, if not the most, dangerous drugs that anyone can do. No one starts experimenting or using drugs with the intention of getting addicted to heroin. Unfortunately, there are thousands of Americans that are suffering with a heroin addiction anyway. There have been several cases of Indiana college students falling victim to heroin abuse. The rise in prescription drug abuse is taking its toll on these young college students. These young minds are entering college with drug problems without even taking a single course. The demanding and competitive nature of college can also push students further down the path to addiction. When students are given proper guidance or support they can easily fall victim to drug abuse and addiction. Gateway drugs are incredibly dangerous because individuals react differently to different substances. The fickle beast that is addiction cannot be predicted. College students should be aware of the dangers they can cause by experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Colleges and Universities are reacting to the rise in drug abuse and addiction. Programs and educational meetings are held to prevent college students from falling victim to substance abuse.