AmandaWhen former  Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes suffered her very public meltdown almost a decade ago, were columnists and tabloid headlines were quick to make a remote diagnosis of mental illness.  Her odd behavior, strange social media postings, and mounting legal issues thrust her into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

But in a brand-new interview, the now-32 year-old Bynes reveals that her bizarre actions weren’t caused by mental illness—her life was derailed by a serious drug problem. What started out as “typical” teenage experimentation rapidly progressed to harder, more dangerous substances.





Amanda Bynes and Marijuana: The Gateway

“I started smoking marijuana when I was 16. Even though everyone thought I was the ‘good girl,’ I did smoke marijuana from that point on. I didn’t get addicted [then] and I wasn’t abusing it. And I wasn’t going out and partying or making a fool of myself … yet.”

~ Amanda Bynes

When Bynes started experimenting with marijuana as a teenager, she didn’t think that it was a big deal.  But pot has a profound effect on still-developing teenage brains.  While she may not have thought that she was abusing the drug, becoming addicted, or developing me any sort of problem, she just wasn’t there…YET.

Marijuana has been established as a gateway drug because it alters the brain and makes it more vulnerable to the addictive effects of other substances.

This is exactly what happened to young Amanda Bynes.

Amanda Bynes and Party Drugs: The Progression

“[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice.”

~ Amanda Bynes

As she got older, Bynes started going out to clubs and partying with friends, and her drug use escalating to include so-called “club” drugs like molly, ecstasy, and cocaine.  Because these drugs are all stimulants, they give users more energy so they can stay out and party even longer.

And because ecstasy and molly also have hallucinogenic properties, users say they are able to enjoy the music and the club atmosphere on a deeper level.

Bynes’ use of these specific drugs is significant, because  a possible link has been established between marijuana and the use of stimulants, especially cocaine.

And even though Bynes “only” snorted cocaine a few times, recent research determined that even using cocaine one time makes a difference.  According to UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, just one dose of cocaine rewires the brain and affects memory, learning, and decision-making.

The story of Amanda Bynes’ downward spiral into dangerous drug addiction continues in Part 2.

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