Drug Definition and Meaning

A drug is a plant, mineral, or animal substance that has a stimulating, hallucinogenic, narcotic, or depressant effect. A soft drug is known as one that has a low addictive degree, such as cannabis, while a hard drug is highly addictive (such as cocaine and heroin).

On the other hand, drugs are the raw materials of biological origin that are used, either directly or indirectly, for the preparation of medicines. The chemical composition of the drug provides a pharmacological action that is useful for therapy. According to abbreviationfinder, DA stands for Drug Abuse.

A drug is a substance with a narcotic, hallucinogenic, depressant or stimulant effect.

Drug effects

At a general level, drugs are known as substances that, when introduced into the body, can alter or modify its functions. People can take drugs for the pleasure they generate, although the suspension of consumption generates psychological discomfort. Excessive drug intake, on the other hand, has negative consequences for the body. The need to consume drugs to obtain pleasurable sensations or eliminate some type of pain is known as drug dependence.

According to the effects on the central nervous system, drugs can be classified as depressants (inhibit its functioning and slow down nervous activity, such as alcohol, morphine, methadone and heroin), stimulants (increase bodily functions and they excite the central nervous system, as occurs with cocaine, caffeine, nicotine and amphetamine) or hallucinogens (they disturb consciousness and distort perception, as do LCD and peyote).

It should be noted that there are legal drugs that can be purchased freely or by prescription, while other drugs are illegal (can only be purchased on the black market).

Drug use can lead to addiction, causing multiple health and social problems.

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Legalization to fight crime

In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, among other drugs considered, until then, illegal. In a fight to lower the crime rate, the Portuguese government replaced the prison sentence with the possibility of receiving therapeutic treatment. It is worth mentioning that it is the place with the highest rate of drug consumption in the world.

It was argued that the fear of being imprisoned is a very negative and counterproductive factor in the life of an addict and that, on the other hand, it was more profitable for the country to face the cost of free therapy than to keep the same individuals in prison.. Thanks to this new initiative, people accused of having bought illegal drugs were referred to a support group made up of a psychologist, a social worker and a legal adviser.

Drug use test results

Trying to answer the question of how effective legalization was in this particular case, it is worth mentioning that at the time, many feared that this policy would open the doors to a kind of tourism in search of free access to drugs and worsen the already terrible situation that Portugal was going through at the beginning of the new millennium. However, results obtained a few years later showed that the opposite had happened.

Among the improvements that were noted after giving the experiment some time, it was appreciated that the use of illegal drugs by adolescents had decreased, as well as HIV infections caused by sharing syringes, while the percentage of people seeking treatment to combat drug addiction had amounted to more than double its equivalent in 2001. According to the experts’ analysis, this measure allowed the Portuguese government to deal with the problem of the consumption of illegal substances with considerably greater success than it had obtained any Western country so far.


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