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A chemical substance that alters the function of one or more body organs or the process of a disease. Drugs include prescribed medicines over the counter remedies and various other substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs of abuse that are used for non-medical purposes.

Drugs are substances other than food that affect the way your mind and body works (Al Robertson et al).


Drug abuse is definable mainly in terms of societal disapproval. It may involve experimental and recreational use of drugs, which is usually illegal with risk of arrest; unsanctioned use of psychoactive drugs to relieve problems or symptoms; or use of drugs first for the previous two reasons but later because of dependence and the need to continue at least partially to prevent the discomfort of withdrawal. Abuse of prescription and illegal drugs occurs in all socioeconomic groups, including among persons with advanced education and professional status. However, the most devastating use of psychoactive drugs still occurs in the context of poverty.

This is the use of a drug for a purpose other than that for which it was prescribed or recommended for.


Addiction, a concept without a consistent, universally accepted definition, is used here to refer to a lifestyle characterized by compulsive use and overwhelming involvement with a drug. It implies the risk of harm and the need to stop drug use, whether the addict understands and agrees or not.

It is the physical or psychological dependence on a drug. Drug dependence is the compulsion to continue taking drugs either to prevent the ill effects of not taking it or to produce a desired effect of taking it.

Drug dependence can be physical or psychological or more commonly both.

Around 50% of young people between ages of (16-25) have had an illegal drug (Ramsay et. al). People that addicted to drugs are drug abusers:

a. They take drugs for reasons other than medical

b. Disregard instruction for proper use

c. Obtain drugs illegally


A single definition for drug dependence is neither desirable nor possible. Some illicit drug use, although considered abuse because it is illegal, does not involve dependence of any kind. Drug dependence of a specific type (eg, cocaine dependence) emphasizes that different drugs have different effects, including type and risk of dependence.

Two concepts contribute to the definition of drug dependence: tolerance, which describes the need to progressively increase the dose to produce the effect originally achieved with smaller doses, and physical dependence, a state of physiologic adaptation to a drug, manifested by a withdrawal (abstinence) syndrome. In a withdrawal syndrome, untoward physiologic changes occur when the drug is discontinued or when its effect is counteracted by a specific antagonist that displaces the agonist from its binding site on cell receptors. Physical dependence does not accompany all forms of drug dependence.

Psychologic dependence is accompanied by feelings of satisfaction and a desire to repeat the drug experience or to avoid the discontent of not having it. This anticipation of effect is a powerful factor in the chronic use of psychoactive drugs and, with some drugs, may be the only obvious factor associated with intense craving and apparent compulsive use. Drugs that cause chiefly psychologic dependence include cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine, and hallucinogens

Drugs that produce strong physical dependence (eg, heroin, alcohol) are prone to abuse, and dependence is difficult to treat. If a drug does not cause physical dependence, discontinuing the drug does not cause a major stereotypical withdrawal syndrome. However, most psychoactive drugs cause tolerance, and in some cases, reactions after discontinuation resemble a withdrawal syndrome (eg, depression and lethargy after withdrawal of cocaine or amphetamine; characteristic changes in the EEG after withdrawal of amphetamine).

Drugs that produce dependence act on the CNS(Central Nervous system) and have one or more of the following effects: reduced anxiety and tension; elation, euphoria, or other mood changes pleasurable to the user; feelings of increased mental and physical ability; altered sensory perception; and changes in behavior.


There are three groups of



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