"Socially Accepted" Drug Use vs. "Elicit Drug" UseDrugs such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are considered "socially acceptable" forms of drug use, in addition to medically prescribed medications by your physician. However, "socially unacceptable/deviant" drug use is the use of drugs that are deemed harmful to the function of society. The war on drugs in the late 1970s placed many bans on many drugs and placing them on various DEA drug schedules (tiers). Many ethics books have probed into this very same issue, brining into question the disparity between social repercussions between nicotine/alcohol use "accepted evils," and "criminal use." In no way are we encouraging elicit use, but in the framing of society in general: we can understand why someone can't stop smoking or drinking, yet at the same time we cannot empathize with socially deviant drug use. However, a new paradigm has emerged that recognizes prison and "re-socializing" addicted individuals presents less efficacy than drug-rehabilitation approach. This is because science has proven that drug use is not merely a deficiency in morality, or character of an individual, rather it possesses biological underpinnings.
4/20"National pot-smoking holiday." Gathering are especially prevalent on college campuses nationally deemed "party schools." The event usually takes place on 4/20 @ 4:20 each year.
AbstinenceAn individual's choice to not use drugs, and choose environments that lessen the chance of experimental use.
AdderallA prescription drug used primarily for narcolepsy, ADD, ADHD, and severe obesity. This drug is generally abused to obtain: a stimulant "high," better school performance, and for weight loss.
AddictionThe compulsive condition or need to use a particular substance, surround your life around something, or participate in a particular activity. Addiction is not just limited to substance consumption, but extends beyond to compulsive habituation including gambling, sex, and thrill-seeking among many others.
Addictive PersonalityRefers to a particular set of traits that makes an individual more predisposed to drug use as characterizes by: impulsivity (or novelty seeking), nonconformity, heightened sense of [social] alienation, and greater degree of sensitivity to environmental stresses and lack of appropriate (non-drug related) coping strategies.
AffinityThe strength by which a drug binds to a receptor.
AgonistWhere an exogenous substance (artificially introduced from outside the body) mimics the effects of an endogenous substance (naturally occurring within the body) - leading to a prolonged and/or increased intensity (affinity) of physiological response.
AlcoholAn alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains ethanol (commonly called alcohol). Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits.
AlkaloidsAn organic base found in seed plants, usually in mixture with a number of similar alkaloids. Alkaloids are the active chemicals that give many drugs their medicinal properties and other powerful physiological effects.
AmygdalaPart of the limbic system of the brain typically associated with reward, fear/emotion, and memory. This region of the brain is thought to be responsible for the strong associations between emotion and memory as it manifests in the continual reminder of the perceived reward of use with the potential of relapse. This is why sobriety in many cases is considered a day-today struggle or life-long disease that must be managed.
AntagonistAn exogenous substance (introduced from outside the body) competes for a receptor. Binding to this receptor does not activate a physiological response, but rather blocks potential binding of endogenous ligands (neurotransmitters). Thus an antagonist decreases the level of physiological response due to the receptor being tied up or blocked by the antagonist preventing physiological response that would otherwise normally be elicited by the endogenous binding agent.
AsphyxiationA condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally, can be chemically induced. Medical intervention is often necessary to save the individual's life, either through the application of antagonists the stop the binding of the drug, and/or intubation and subsequent oxygenation of the patient. Brain cells (neurons) given their high ATP (energy) requirements die quickly in the absence of oxygen, and within minutes of being oxygen deprived most commonly leads to complete and irreparable brain damage, among damage to other organ tissues of the body.
BarbituratesMost common group of the synthetic sedative/hypnotics. In small doses, they are effective tranquilizers used in sedation and in relieving tension and anxiety. In larger doses, they are used as hypnotics (sleep inducers).
Behavioral Deficit ModelIn the limelight of the prohibition, a more antiquated view regarding addiction considered it to be entirely a behavioral/character deficit. Furthermore, that subsequent use was no different than first time use and that these individuals did not possess an affliction, but made an active choice in the matter every time they used. Since then, the shifting paradigm favors more of the medical model of addiction, largely in thanks due to behavioral geneticists that have proven a genetic basis for predisposition. While this has provided some credence to biological underpinnings of why some individuals become addicted and others simply experiment and move on, it further provides credence to the trend that while first-time use active choice is involved, subsequent does not provide such a dichotomous choice - rather it becomes a disease of will.
CaffeineCaffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant drug. Caffeine was discovered by a German chemist, Friedrich Ferdinand Runge, in 1819. He coined the term kaffein, a chemical compound in coffee, which in English became caffeine.
CocaineA colorless or white crystalline alkaloid, C 17 H 21 NO 4 , extracted from coca leaves, sometimes used in medicine as a local anesthetic especially for the eyes, nose, or throat and widely used as an illicit drug for its euphoric and stimulating effects.
ComorbidityThe simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. For instance: psychological disorders are often comorbid with drug use. No inferences regarding causality should be drawn.
DEADrug Enforcement Administration founded on July 1st, 1973.
Depressants/"Downers"Depressants are psychoactive drugs which temporarily diminish the function or activity of a specific part of the body or mind. Examples of these kinds of effects may include anxiolysis, sedation, and hypotension.
Drug AbuseInformal Definition: The use of illegal drugs or the inappropriate use of legal drugs. The repeated use of drugs to produce pleasure, to alleviate stress, or to alter or avoid reality (or all three).

Clinical Definition: Must satisfy one or more of the following DSM-IV Abuse-Dependence criteria within 12 month period; and MUST not have previously met criteria for drug dependence.
Drug DependenceInformal Definition: Physical dependence refers to a state resulting from chronic use of a drug that has produced tolerance and where negative physical symptoms of withdrawal result from abrupt discontinuation or dosage reduction.

Clinical Definition: Must satisfy three or more of the following DSM-IV Abuse-Dependence criteria within 12 month period; and MUST experience withdrawal or tolerance.
Drug UseThe consumption/self-medicating use of recreational drugs, or prescription medication.
DSM-IV Abuse/Dependence Criteria
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal
  • Unintended short-term use becoming long-term
  • Desire to quit: repeated but failed attempts at quitting
  • Spending a majority of one's time acquiring or using the substance
  • Sacrifice life aspirations, recreations, social engagements/relationships, and career
  • Use continues despite knowing that the drug is a major source/contributor of further psychological or physiological harm the individual experiences
  • EndogenousA substance that originates from within an organism.
    ExogenousA substance that originates outside of an organism, and introduced into the organism (via various routes of entry: oral. nasal, sublingual, etc.).
    Free baseRefers to the pure basic form of an amine, as opposed to its salt form; usual route is by smoking.
    HallucinogensThe general group of pharmacological agents commonly known as hallucinogens can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.
    HeroinDiacetylmorphine (INN), also known as diamorphine (BAN), is a semi-synthetic opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine (di (two)-acetyl-morphine). Marketed by Bayer between 1898-1910, the name derived by the German word "heroisch" (heroic) due to its perceived "heroic" effects upon its user.
    HypoxiaDeficiency in oxygen reaching specific tissues of the body. This loss of oxgen dependent upon the duration can lead to irreparable cellular damage. Refer to asphyxiation.
    Intravenous (IV)The administration of a drug by way of needle, into a vein.
    K2 SpiceA synthetic form/designer drug formulation of marijuana, initially introduced around 2000. In 2010 was later banned by the DEA after analyzing the "incense" and finding THC or other common analogs. This drug has been considered dangerous also due to the heightened potency not found in traditional marijuana plants and precipitating cases of psychosis.
    LSDLysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25, LSD), formerly lysergide, commonly known as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline and tryptamine families.
    MDMA, Ecstasy, "X"A psychoactive drug that induces feelings of euphoria, reduced anxiety, and senses of love and intimacy with others. Typically associated with electronic music "raves."
    Medical ModelThe view that addiction possesses biological underpinnings and that addiction after its onset should therefore be considered a disease and must be treated as such.
    MethamphetamineA potent central nervous system stimulant, popularly shortened to meth and also nicknamed "ice", is a psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug. (substances that mimic the effects of the hormone epinephrine).
    NicotineA toxic, and possibly carcinogenic alkaloid found in the tobacco plant. Nicotine is one of the most addictive of all drugs, and acts as an antagonist to dopamine.
    Nodding-Off / Hypnic JerkRefers to the head-bobbing action that occurs after an individual has used a pontent amount of substance with their sole-focus on experiencing the high as they drift to unconsciousness. Human physiologists consider this physiological action to be analogous, but not identical to the actions that occur one one nods-off to sleep while slumped over in a chair due to natural fatigue. Some individuals naturally when falling asleep experience a body jerk, which relaxes the muscles and is mentally associated with the "falling" portion denoting the induction of sleep.
    OnsetPeriod in an individual's life when drug use begins. Early onset cases typically have a worse prognosis than late onset. Any drug use during the development of the brain potentiates the possibility of permanent changes/rewiring of pathways in the brain that precipitates the need for continued and possibly life-long use. Early onset is primarily attributed to shared environmental influences, moderate onset is usually attributed to genetic, while late onset of use is typically considered to be a trigger of non-shared environmental influences (aka. stressful life experiences).
    Painkillers Oxy's, Vicodin, CodeineA class of opiates normally prescribed for physical pain during/after physically traumatic events, or surgeries. In the presence of pain they work to change an individual's perception of pain and thus lessen it. If taken for acute situations, use typically does not lead to dependence. However, continued use even for pain into months will eventually cause tolerance and physical dependence. Painkillers are the #1 pharmacologically prescribed drug in the United States yearly (if not the entire world). Given their schedule and high abuse potential these drugs are receive high schedule, but still allowed albeit their therapeutic value.
    Poppy PlantA herbaceous plant with showy flowers, milky sap, and rounded seed capsules. Many poppies contain alkaloids and are a source of drugs such as morphine and codeine.
    ProofA measure of alcoholic strength expressed as an integer twice the percentage of alcohol present (by volume)
    PsychoactiveDrugs that affect the mind. For this reason, all psychologically-addictive drugs are considered psychoactive. They can induce euphoria, hallucinations, or alter perceptions.
    PsychodelicA class of psychoactive drugs that induces hallucinations or altered sensory experiences.
    Psychotropic/PsychoactiveA chemical substance that acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behavior.
    ReceptorsLigand based receptors where a substrate such as a neurotransmitter leads to activation and subsequent physiological changes within the parent cell. All physiological cellular responses are determined by the receptor type NOT the type of neurotransmitter. For example acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter can have stimulating effects on the receptors of the brain and muscle, but depressing effects on the receptors of the heart.
    SpeedballingAlternatively known as snowballing or powerballing is a term commonly referring to the hazardous intravenous use of heroin and cocaine together in the same syringe. The combination is also known as moonrocks, when smoked.
    Stimulants/"Uppers"Stimulants (also sometimes called psychostimulants) are psychoactive drugs which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical function or both. Examples of these kinds of effects may include enhanced alertness, wakefulness, and locomotion, among others.
    Street Drugs / Slang TermsAlternative names for drugs that change rapidly with time and meanings may vary from area to area.
    Substance ExperimentationUsually the initial step in drug use where an individual chooses to use simply out of curiosity or for the novelty, especially in the instance of a social gathering. In the case of preexisting mental affliction combined with early onset, however, experimentation often leads to use and abuse especially if the drug alleviates psychological distress - thus leading to self-medicating.
    TolerenceWhen continual use gradually leads to a decrease in the sensitivity of the drug with time. Physiologically/Scientifically speaking: (1) An up-regulation in the number of receptors of the membrane, and/or (2) an internalizing of cell membrane receptors the net effect of which leads to desensitization to the presence of the binding substrate (drug). Also refer to: drug dependence.
    WithdrawalA set of physiological symptoms manifest upon discontinuation of prolonged use of a drug (to the level of dependence). Depending on the type of withdrawal it can be as benign as the symptoms of the common cold to more severe as the case of life-threatening condition by which systems of the body shutdown and requires hospitalization.

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