Drugs are chemical substances with the ability to change the functioning of the body and mind. We call drugs of abuse those which, by altering a person’s reasoning or value judgement, can lead to health risks: from addiction, to accidents caused by consumption, to infectious diseases.
It is important to consider that drugs include prescription drugs: some over-the-counter drugs such as alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs.
What are we talking about when we refer to drug use or abuse? Broadly, the use of illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin, inhalants, methamphetamines, club or designer drugs, as well as taking medication in a way that is not prescribed by a health professional. The latter practices include taking more than the prescribed dose, taking medicines that have not been prescribed, or taking the medicine in a different way than prescribed by the doctor (e.g. injecting or snorting the tablets instead of swallowing them).
Drug addiction is a disease that has been defined as a chronic brain condition that causes a person to engage in repeated drug use without regard for the harm it causes. This repeated use can leave an imprint on the brain causing addiction.
Because these changes can be long-lasting, drug addiction is considered a relapsing disease, and people in recovery are at risk of returning to drug use even if they have been drug-free for years.
Every organism is different and so is its reaction to drugs. There are those who become addicted quickly and others who become addicted over time. There are also cases of people using drugs of abuse who do not become addicted. The aspects involved in this are very diverse and it is therefore essential to have the advice of a professional who can deal with each individual case.