Drug Abuse Essay

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Drug Abuse The term drug abuse most often refers to the use of a drug with such frequency that it causes physical or mental harm to the user or impairs social functioning. Although the term seems to imply that users abuse the drugs they take, in fact, it is themselves or others they abuse by using drugs. Traditionally, the term drug abuse referred to the use of any drug prohibited by law, regardless of whether it was actually harmful or not. This meant that any use of marijuana, for example, even if it occurred only once in a while, would constitute abuse, while the same level of alcohol…show more content…
Such substancesÑlegal and illegalÑinfluence or alter the workings of the mind; they affect moods, emotions, feelings, and thinking processes. Drug Dependence Drug abuse must be distinguished from drug dependence. Drug dependence, formerly called drug addiction, is defined by three basic characteristics. First, users continue to take a drug over an extended period of time. Just how long this period is depends on the drug and the user. Second, users find it difficult to stop using the drug. They seem powerless to quit. Users take extraordinary and often harmful measures to continue using the drug. How dependency-producing a drug is can be measured by how much users go through to continue taking it. Third, if users stop taking their drugÑif their supply of the drug is cut off, or if they are forced to quit for any reasonÑthey will undergo painful physical or mental distress. The experience of withdrawal symptoms distress, called the withdrawal syndrome, is a sure sign that a drug is dependency-producing and that a given user is dependent on a particular drug. Drug dependence may lead to drug abuseÑespecially of illegal drugs. Psychoactive, or mind-altering, substances are found the world over. The coca plant grows in the Andes of South America and contains 1 to 2 percent cocaine. The marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, contains a group of chemicals called

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