Although not everyone agrees on how to define drug abuse, most would agree that it represents a complex disorder with consequences for the abusing individual, his or her family, and the larger society. Drug abuse is therefore a matter of national and international concern and the focus of much study aimed at determining, among other things, the extent of drug abuse, the factors that may influence an individual to abuse drugs, and effective methods to treat drug abusers and limit the harm caused by drug abuse.

Methodological Considerations

Studying drug abuse poses several methodological problems that make it difficult to compare the results across different studies. The term drug abuse itself is controversial because of a lack of agreement on what constitutes a “drug” and what constitutes ...

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