“Smoking, alcohol and drugs destroy the family, raise the cost of health care, overwhelm the educational, criminal procedure and social systems of the nation and contribute to the emergence of an unprecedented wave of violence and homelessness.”
People have been using drugs for thousands of years, but science has taken them up quite recently. The study of drugs involved in pharmacology, its subject – everything related to the action of chemicals on a living organism.
Pharmacology is a part of biology, closely related to physiology and biochemistry. Pharmacology section psychopharmacology – focuses on the effects of drugs on behavior. Although the name of science is a combination of psychology and pharmacology, to understand the effects of drugs on human behavior, environmental factors must also be taken into account, i.e. social. This book is devoted to human psychopharmacology.
People talk a lot about drugs, but it’s not easy to give a precise definition of drugs. With great difficulty, the experts nevertheless developed an acceptable definition. The World Health Organization (WHO) in its report in 1981 defined drugs in a broad sense as “a chemical substance or mixture of substances different from those necessary for normal life activity (like food), the intake of which entails a change in the functioning of the body and, possibly, its structures “.
This basic definition raises the question of what is drug use and abuse. Later in this chapter we will examine in detail the distinction between them, but now it is important for you to understand the general idea. The concept of “drug abuse” is used differently by different people who write on this subject and there is no universally accepted definition. Therefore, the only way to define this concept is to reach agreement between experts. Scientists have reached such an agreement regarding the terms used in scientific studies on alcohol and drugs, as well as in clinical practice. The definition of drug abuse can be given as follows: “drug use is detrimental to the physical and mental state,” legal capacity “and the social status of the person and people experiencing the impact of the person.”
As you can see, the main role in the definition is played by the consequences of the behavior of the addict for himself and the people of his social group. This classification of drugs and their use details this definition. There are some problems with him. The main thing is that the behavior that leads to disastrous consequences within one social or cultural group may not lead to them within another community, or their power of action will be different. Thus, it is impossible to give a definition that works everywhere. But, nevertheless, the term “abuse” in relation to alcohol and other drugs is used very, very often, and therefore it is not necessary to abandon attempts to reach a definition applicable to the absolute majority of situations. For now, the original notion of drug abuse is sufficient.