Drugs:Fact and Fiction/Introduction
What is a drug? Why do people take drugs? What are the effects drugs have on the body? This book will serve to answer questions, give facts, and dispel persistent rumors spread about drugs. First we need to describe what the word "drugs" refers to.
What are drugs?
Colloquially, drugs often refer to illicit drugs. More broadly, a drug is any chemical substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. Of course this covers all medical drugs, from aspirin and penicillin to heroin and arsenic.
This book will focus on primarily drugs used outside of medical need. These are, generally speaking, psychoactive drugs which taken for any other reason than medical benefit.
Recreational drug use is the use of chemical substances for enjoyment or entertainment purposes. Due to lack of cultural background, weak social support, technological alteration of natural occurring compounds for potency or profit and no control about product quality, consumer age limits or mental state, this practice can be extremely dangerous, leading to death, damage to self and dependency.
Religious drug use is the use of chemical substances in religious rites or with religious connotations, practiced by Native-Americans and South American tribes. Due to the high level of understanding and experience, these culture have in handling the naturally occurring compounds, there is a low risk involved, some of the practices can even aid in correcting dependencies on other substances.
Cultural and creative use due the effect of some of the drugs in brain chemistry some people rely in drugs to augment creative capability and establish new paths for problem solving and self understanding. Can lead to drug abuse and dependency.
Functional use some drugs are used to temporarily or permanently alter physical or mental limitations. This can also lead to drug abuse and dependency.
Notice that we do not use the term "illegal drug". There are several reasons for this. First the definition of what is legal varies from country to country. Secondly some drugs that are abused, taken at levels beyond the recommended dosages, or even prescribed medically or sold over the counter lead to addiction and are legal drugs. Drug use is generally regulated for the safety of the public, but the exact legal status of any substance is dependent on country and/or jurisdiction and political and religions positions.
- A psychoactive drug is any substance that alters your perception or senses.
- A addiction causing drug is any substance that creates physical or psychological dependency in its use.