A drug use disorder (commonly referred to as a substance abuse or substance dependence disorder) refers to the compulsive-like use of alcohol, nicotine, or illicit drugs in the presence of personal and social negative consequences. When a drug disorder is at its most severe stage, the user shows inability to consistently abstain, regularly feels craving to use, and often fails to recognize that the drug use is causing significant problems with his or her life. The social, medical, and personal costs of drug use disorders are significant.

There are numerous explanations for why a person develops a drug use disorder. Science has accumulated a wealth of evidence that provides insights into how biology plays a key role in the development of a drug use disorder. This ...

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