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What is a substance, and what are the different types?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Although many people in Iowa walk the straight and narrow, others have problems staying sober. In the latter situation, someone might use drugs or alcohol recreationally or as the result of an addiction.

Defining substances

A substance is any illegal or legal drug that has a physical or psychological effect on the user. Even prescription drugs and common legal items such as nicotine and caffeine are considered substances. Some of these are safe to take in small amounts while others can be highly addictive and result in serious side effects. In some cases, overusing certain substances can be life-threatening. For example, smoking cigarettes long-term could result in some people developing emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.

The terms “substance abuse” and “substance use disorder” refer to substance addiction and dependency. They refer to addiction problems involving both alcohol and drugs.

Substances most commonly abused

Some of the most commonly abused substances are alcohol, marijuana, opioids and prescription medications. Although alcohol is legal to buy and consume, it’s one of the most addictive. When a person drinks large amounts, it can lead to alcohol dependency to the point where they cannot function without more and more.

Marijuana is also legal in many areas for medicinal and recreational uses. It’s mostly psychologically addictive and in spite of what some people think, is dangerous to use while driving. Many drug crimes such as possession, cultivating, trafficking, selling or distribution involve marijuana.

Opioids are often prescribed to treat chronic pain. Others, such as heroin are illicit, but the one thing both legal and illegal opioids share in common is that they are highly addictive and change certain brain receptors when abused.

Drug charges could have a severe impact on your life. If you have a problem, acknowledging it is the first step toward getting help.



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