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Drug

WHO – World Health Organization 

"A term of varied usage. In medicine, it refers to any substance with the potential to prevent or cure disease or enhance physical or mental welfare, and in pharmacology to any chemical agent that alters the biochemical or physiological processes of tissues or organisms. Hence, a drug is a substance that is, or could be, listed in a pharmacopoeia. In common usage, the term often refers specifically to psychoactive drugs, and often, even more specifically, to illicit drugs, of which there is non-medical use in addition to any medical use."
 
DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition 
 
" 'Psychoactive' (also called "psychotropic") is a term that is applied to chemical substances that change a person's mental state by affecting the way the brain and nervous system work. (This can lead to intoxication, which is often the main reason people choose to take psychoactive drugs.) The changes in brain function experienced by people who use psychoactive substances affect their perceptions, moods, and/or consciousness."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"Drugs act on the central nervous system and alter its normal, everyday activity, causing changes in mood, awareness, and behavior. Psychoactive drugs disrupt the communication between neurons (brain cells), so abusing them can have serious short- and long-term effects on the brain."
 
MILDT – Mission Interministérielle de Lutte contre la Drogue et la Toxicomanie
 
(Mission Interministérielle de Lutte contre la Drogue et la Toxicomanie)
"Une drogue est un produit naturel ou synthétique, dont l'usage peut être légal ou non, consommé en vue de modifier l'état de conscience et ayant potentiel d'usage nocif et de dépendance."
 

Misuse

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"Use of a substance for a purpose not consistent with legal or medical guidelines, as in the non-medical use of prescription medications. The term is preferred by some to abuse in the belief that it is less judgmental."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
" 'Misusing' could mean different things, including: taking a drug that was prescribed for someone else (even if you’re taking it to reduce your own pain) or taking a higher dose of a drug than you were prescribed. It can also mean taking a drug (whether yours or someone else’s) to get high—what is often called “abuse.”

Abuse

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"Abuse is defined as continued use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, occupational, psychological or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the use. It is a residual category, with dependence taking precedence when applicable. The term ""abuse"" is sometimes used disapprovingly to refer to any use at all, particularly of illicit drugs. Because if it's ambiguity, harmful use is the equivalent term in WHO usage, although it usually relates only to effects on health and not to social consequences."
 

Tolerance

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"A decrease in response to a drug dose that occurs with continued use. Increased doses of alcohol or other drugs are required to achieve the effects originally produced by lower doses. Both physiological and psychosocial factors may contribute to the development of tolerance, which may be physical, behavioural, or psychological. Tolerance is one of the criteria for the dependence syndrome."
 
DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition 
 
"Tolerance is signaled by requiring a markedly increased dose of the substance to achieve the desired effect or a markedly reduced effect when the usual dose is consumed.
The degree to which tolerance develops varies greatly across different individuals as well as across substances and may involve a variety of central nervous system effects (such as coordination and passing out)."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"A state in which an organism no longer responds to a drug. A higher dose is required to achieve the same effect"

Withdrawal

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"A group of symptoms of variable clustering and degree of severity which occur on cessation or reduction of use of a psychoactive substance that has been taken repeatedly, usually for a prolonged period and/or in high doses. A withdrawal syndrome is one of the indicators of a dependence syndrome. "
 
DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition 
 
"Drug withdrawal is basically symptoms – the unpleasant way you feel during the time your body is ridding itself of the drug. Your experience of withdrawal can vary in a number of ways, including whether you abruptly stop using the drug (quit “cold turkey”) or reduce your intake over time. The symptoms of withdrawal from drugs (and alcohol, also considered a drug) are a clear indication of addiction since they don’t occur unless you’ve developed a physical or mental dependence on a drug"
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"When someone is addicted to drugs and stops using it, he or she may experience: muscle and bone pain, cold flashes with chills, throwing up, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, restlessness, kicking movements, strong craving for the drug."
 

Overdose

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"The use of any drug in such an amount that acute adverse physical or mental effects are produces. Deliberate overdose is a common means of suicide and attempted suicide. In absolute numbers, overdoses of licit drugs are usually more common than those of illicit drugs. Overdose may produce transient or lasting effects, or death; the lethal dose of a particular drug varies with the individual and with circumstances."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"Drugs slow, and sometimes stop, breathing, and this can kill a person—what is called a fatal overdose. Signs of a possible heroin overdose are: slow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, cold damp skin, shaking, vomiting or gurgling noise.
People who are showing symptoms of overdose need medical assistance immediately."
 

Black out

WHO – World Health Organization
 
"Acute anterograde amnesia, not associated with loss of consciousness, resulting from the ingestion of alcohol or other substances; a period of memory loss during which there is little if any recall of activities. When this occurs in the course of chronic alcohol ingestion, it is sometimes referred to as the 'alcoholic palimpsest'."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"An alcohol blackout is a gap in a person’s memory for events that took place while he or she was drinking. When a blackout happens, a person’s brain does not create memories for these events as they are happening. For people who have had a blackout, it can be frightening to wake up the next day and not remember what they did the night before."
 

Bad trip

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"In drug users' jargon, an adverse effect of drug use, consisting of any mixture of the following: feelings of losing control, distortions of body image, bizarre and frightening hallucinations, fears of insanity or death, despair, suicidal thoughts, and strong negative affect. Physical symptoms may include sweating, palpitations, nausea, and paraesthesias. Although adverse reactions of this type are usually associated with the use of hallucinogens, they may also be caused by the use of amphetamines and other psychomotor stimulants, anticholinergics, antihistamines, and sedatives/hypnotics."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"The effects of hallucinogens can begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 6 to 12 hours. Hallucinogen users refer to the experiences brought on by these drugs as ""trips"", calling the unpleasant experiences ""bad trips"". The short term effects are: increased heart rate, nausea, intensified feelings and sensory experiences, changes in sense of time, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, increased breathing rate, sleep problems, uncoordinated movements, excessive sweating, panic, paranoia, psychosis. the long term effects: speech problems, memory loss, weight loss, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, persistent psychosis and flashbacks."
 

Binge drinking

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"A pattern of heavy drinking that occurs in an extended period set aside for the purpose. In population surveys, the period is usually defined as more than one day of drinking at a time. A binge drinker is one who drinks predominatly in this fashion, often with intervening periods of abstinence."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse
 
"All they have to do (to be considered ""binge drinkers"") is drink at least four (for women) or five (for men) drinks in one sitting"
 

Heavy drinking

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"Heavy drinking is often defined in terms of exceeding a certain daily volume (three drinks a day) or quantity per occasion (five drinks on an occasion, at least once a week)."
 

Hangover

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"A post-intoxication state comprising the immediate after-effects of drinking alcoholic beverages in excess. Non-ethanol components of alcoholic beverages may be involved in the etiology. Physical features may include fatigue, headache, thirst, vertigo, gastric disorder, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, fine tremors of the hands, and raised or lowered blood pressure. Psychological symptoms include acute anxiety, guilt, depression, irritability, and extreme sensitivity. The amount of alcohol needed to produce hangover varies with the mental and physical condition of the individual, although generally the higher the blood alcohol level during the period of intoxication, the more intense the subsequent symptoms. The symptoms vary also with social attitude. Hangover usually lasts not more than 36 hours after all traces of alcohol have left the system."
 

Flashbacks

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"Post-hallucinogen perception disorder, a spontaneous recurrence of the visual distortions, physical symptoms, loss of ego boundaries, or intense emotions that occurred when the individual ingested hallucinogens in the past. Flashbacks are episodic, of short duration (seconds to hours), and may duplicate exactly the symptoms of previous hallucinogen episodes. They may be precipitated by fatigue, alcohol intake, or marijuana intoxication."
 
DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition 
 
"A flashback is the sensation of re-experiencing the effects of a drug after the true effects of the drug have worn off. Most often, flashbacks are used to describe the re-experiencing of the effects of a hallucinogenic drug, such as LSD or magic mushrooms. Flashbacks typically happen in the days or weeks following ingestion of the drug, but can happen months or even years after the drug use has been discontinued. Sometimes, flashbacks can be intense and unpleasant, and can happen frequently, even if the person experiencing them is abstaining from drug use. Flashbacks that continue to happen in this way are a medically recognized phenomenon, which is documented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (Flashbacks)."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"They often happen without warning and may occur within a few days or more than a year after drug use. In some users, flashbacks can persist and affect daily functioning, a condition known as hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD). These people continue to have hallucinations and other visual disturbances, such as seeing trails attached to moving objects."
 

Detoxification

WHO – World Health Organization 
 
"The process by which an individual is withdrawn from the effects of a psychoactive substance. As a clinical procedure, the withdrawal process carried out in a safe and effective manner, such that withdrawal symptoms are minimized. The facility in which this takes place may be variously termed a detoxification center, detox center, or sobering-up station."
 
DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition 
 
"Detox is a must if you are medically compromised by your alcohol or drug use, if required by another program, or if you want to quit but don't feel you have the self-control to taper or reduce gradually. Detox programs cleanse alcohol and other drugs from your body safely, preventing physical withdrawal from killing you or making you ill. Your psychological addiction will remain, but your physical tolerance will be greatly reduced, making it unsafe to drink or use again."
 

Relapse

WHO – World Health Organization 
"A return to drinking or other drug use after a period of abstinence, often accompanied by reinstatement of dependence symptoms. Some writers distinguish between relapse and lapse (""slip""), with the latter denoting an isolated occasion of alcohol or drug use."
 
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse 
 
"You know by now that addiction is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that takes hold in some people who abuse drugs. You may also know that some people can quit their drug use. But often a person will return to using drugs after they have quit. This is what NIDA Scientists call a relapse."
 

Risk factors and protective factors for drug use

Studies have identified many factors that help differentiate persons more likely to abuse drugs from those less vulnerable to drug abuse. Factors associated with greater potential for drug abuse are called “risk” factors, while those associated with reduced potential for abuse are called “protective” factors. However, this does not necessarily mean that all individuals at risk will eventually abuse drugs. Also, a risk factor for one person may not be for another.
 
These factors belong to six main levels (or domains) of influence that constitute an individual’s internal and external environment, which are: intrapersonal, family, school, peers, community and policy. These levels could constitute important focal points for designing prevention interventions.  The most effective prevention programs are those that tackle different levels of intervention, thus adopting a more holistic approach to the issue of drug abuse. This is the ecological model for program planning.
 

 

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R, 62 years old, father of M, M is now recovering from drug addiction

"I used to think that, as a father, it was my job to get the money for the house, school, university, and the gifts." - "What about now?" - "I made him eggs today" - "Last week, we went hiking. It was just him and me"


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