How do we understand drug use? How are drugs related to our social worlds? How should drug use be understood, approached and dealt with? Insightful and illuminating, this book successfully discusses drugs in social contexts. In an elegant manner, the authors bring together their different theoretical and practical backgrounds, offering a comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction that opens up a wide scientific understanding moving beyond cultural myths and presuppositions. Powerful and engaging, this book discusses main questions within the field of psychoactive drugs research, such as: Why do people take drugs? How do we understand moral panics? What is the relationship between drugs and violence? How do people's social positions influence their individual involvement in drug use? This is an invaluable reference source for students on criminology, sociology and social sciences programmes, as well as students and drug service practitioners in social work, social policy and nursing.

What Is a Drug/Medicine?

What is a drug/medicine?

A drug is any psychoactive substance that can alter the way the mind or body works, regardless of legal status or medical approval. It can be synthetic or produced from natural sources and can be used for a variety of reasons including medicinal, recreational and spiritual.

The perceived benefits of natural botanical substances have led almost all societies throughout history to extract the desired active ingredients from plants, minerals and fungi for their perceived curative, preventative, therapeutic or spiritual properties. Along with these drugs extracted from the natural world, drugs can also be synthesised in laboratories and produced within the human body. The effects of psychoactive substances vary greatly and can alter the way a person thinks, feels ...

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