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Drug Abuse

  • By: Tracy R. Nichols
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Drug abuse is generally considered to be the use of psychoactive or performance-enhancing drugs for nonmedical or therapeutic purposes. Drug abuse may occur with both legal (e.g., alcohol, cigarettes, prescription, and over-the-counter [OTC] medication) and illegal (e.g., cocaine, heroin, marijuana) substances. The abuse of drugs can lead to both psychological and physical addiction, with the degree of physical addiction depending upon the properties of the drug. Due to metabolic differences between the sexes, women are more susceptible to the effects of drugs, particularly alcohol, and are more likely to become addicted than men. A woman's entry into drug use may begin after experiencing a traumatic event, and women are more likely to use drugs to ease emotional pain from abuse, grief, and/or guilt than men. ...

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