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The Substances

Learn key drug terms and more about the substances themselves…

Key Drug Terms

Addiction:
Occurs when the body undergoes a chemical change so that it needs the drug to function normally.
Chief effect:
The physical or mental change for which one takes a drug.
Detoxification:
The first step in treating drug abusers; a treatment program that involves a gradual but complete withdrawal from an abused drug.
Drug:
A chemical or substance that causes changes in the body or mind.
Drug abuse:
The intentional improper or unsafe use of a drug.
Drug use:
Taking drugs correctly.
Effect:
The physical and mental response the body has to the action of a drug.
Illegal drugs:
Substances for which possession and sales are forbidden by law because the harmful effects outweigh any useful purposes the drugs may have.
Legal drugs:
Those considered by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to be useful enough to be available.
Medicines:
Drugs used to treat medical conditions.
Nerve cell:
Same term for a neuron, and is a cell of the nervous system that carries “messages” through an electrochemical process.
Neurotransmitter:
Chemicals that are released from one neuron.
OTC (over-the-counter drugs):
Drugs you can purchase without a doctor’s prescription.
Overdose:
Taking enough of a drug to cause shock, coma, or death.
Prescription drugs:
Drugs available only with a doctor’s recommendation.
Psychoactive drugs:
Drugs that alter the mind.
Side effect:
A different, unknown, or undesirable reaction to a drug.
Synthetic drugs:
Drugs created in laboratories by combining chemicals.
Tolerance:
A body’s resistance to the effects of a drug, often occurring during regular use; the user must then take larger doses of a drug to achieve the same effect.
Withdrawal:
Symptoms experienced when a drug that one is addicted to is taken away.

Substances Profiles