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It is the intent of this article to provide information on various types of drugs, including illicit drugs and prescription drugs. We will also provide
information on drug use, its effects and abuse, as well as drug addiction. See also information on:
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This article will also provide detailed information on the following drugs:
Within the specific drug sub-articles above you will find helpful drug facts and information, including drug effects for specific types of drugs as well as
state government specific drug laws. We will also provide information on drug rehab and treatment.
Please return to this page on a regular basis. New information about drugs will be added regularly.
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What Is A Drug?
A drug, broadly speaking, is any chemical substance that, when absorbed into the body, alters normal bodily function. There is no single, precise definition,
as there are different meanings in medicine, government regulations, and everyday usage (slang).
In pharmacology, dictionary dot com defines a drug as " a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to
otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being."1
Drugs may be prescribed for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic disorders.
Recreational drugs are chemical substances that affect the central nervous system, such as opioids / opiates or hallucinogens. They may be used for perceived
beneficial effects on perception, consciousness, personality, and behavior. Some drugs can cause addiction and habituation.
Many natural substances such as beers, wines, and some mushrooms, blur the line between food and drugs, as when ingested they affect the functioning of both
mind and body.
Examples of commonly used drugs:
is a drug taken to cure and/or ameliorate any symptoms of an illness or medical condition, or may be used as
preventive medicine that has future benefits but does not treat any existing or pre-existing diseases or symptoms.
Dispensing of medication is often regulated by governments into three categories — over-the-counter
(OTC) medications, which are available in
pharmacies and supermarkets without special restrictions, behind-the-counter
(BTC), which are dispensed by a pharmacist without needing a doctor's
prescription, and prescription only medicines
(POM), which must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional, usually a physician.
Medications are typically produced by pharmaceutical companies and are often patented to give the developer exclusive rights to produce them, but they can
also be derived from naturally occurring substances in plants called herbal medicine. Those that are not patented (or with expired patents) are called
generic drugs since they can be produced by other companies without restrictions or licenses from the patent holder.
Drugs, both medicinal and recreational, can be administered in a number of ways:
- Orally, as a liquid or solid, that is absorbed through the stomach.
- Inhaled (breathed into the lungs) as a vapor.
- Injected as a liquid either: intramuscular, intravenous, intraperitoneal, intraosseus.
- Rectally as a suppository, that is absorbed by the colon.
- Vaginally as a suppository, primarily to treat vaginal infections.
- Bolus, a substance into the stomach to dissolve slowly.
- Insufflation or snorted into the nose.
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Recreational drug use is the use of psychoactive substances to have fun, for the experience, or as an attempt to enhance an already positive experience.
National laws prohibit the use of many different recreational drugs and medicinal drugs that have the potential for recreational use are heavily regulated.
Many other recreational drugs on the other hand are legal, widely culturally accepted, and at the most have an age restriction on using and/or purchasing
them. These include alcohol, tobacco and caffeine products.
Legal definition of drugs
Some governments define the term drug by law. In the United States, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act definition of "drug" includes
"articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals" and "articles
(other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals."2
Consistent with that definition,
the U.S. separately defines narcotic drugs and controlled substances, which may include non-drugs, and explicitly excludes tobacco, caffeine and alcoholic
- “Drug” Dictionary (dot) com Unabridged (v 1.1), Random House, Inc.
- “21 USC Sec. 802” U.S. Department of Justice.
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