Many definitions of substance abuse exist. For example, legal statutes can be interpreted to support the position that the mere use of illegal substances is abuse, whereas adaptation perspectives may stipulate that substance abuse occurs only when the negative consequences of using outweigh the benefits. Over time, the establishment of a singular definition of substance abuse has been further confused by changes in social, legal, and cultural norms related to substance use. Nevertheless, substance abuse can generally be defined as the detrimental or risky use of legal or illegal substances or the use of legal substances in a manner or amount inconsistent with medical recommendations.

Because many definitions and methods for measuring substance abuse exist, agreement on the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse has proven ...

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