drug addiction and drug abuse
Definitions of drug abuse and addiction are subjective and infused with the political and moral values of the society or culture. For example, the stimulant caffeine in coffee and tea is a drug used by millions of people, but because of its relatively mild stimulatory effects and because caffeine does not generally trigger antisocial behavior in users, the drinking of coffee and tea, despite the fact that caffeine is physically addictive, is not generally considered drug abuse. Even narcotics addiction is seen only as drug abuse in certain social contexts. In India opium has been used for centuries without becoming unduly corrosive to the social fabric.
The United States has the highest substance abuse rate of any industrialized nation. Government statistics show that about 40% of the United States population has tried marijuana or illicit drugs. By comparison, nearly 90% has tried alcoholic beverages. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug.
Sections in this article:
- Legalization and Decriminalization
- Reduction of Demand for Drugs
- Supply Reduction
- Fighting Substance Abuse
- Effects on Society
- Effects on the Family
- On the Individual
- Effects of Substance Abuse
- Motivations for Drug Use
- Illegal Substances
- Legal Substances
- Types of Abused Substances
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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