A drug is a chemical or biochemical Composé able to deteriorate one or more intraneuronales activities and/or to disturb the communications interneuronales. The man recognized the capacity of drugs very early in his history and consumed those since then in order to modifying his physiological or psychic functions, his physiological reactions and his state of consciousnesses. And which can be mortal (the ground is punt man! *! E! exchange.)

Certain drugs can generate a dependence physical or psychological. The use of those can have as consequences of the physical or mental disturbances.

The term “drug” recovers primarily two aspects: the nature of the biological effects that drug induced on the one hand, and on the other hand reports/ratios that which consumes it maintains with it. It is necessary that a given chemical compound either consumed so that it can answer the name of “drug”. It is the mode and the frequency of consumption which created the Accoutumance or the dependence with the product. One can thus think that it is the consumer (through his modes of consumption), more than the product which determines which substance will be, for him, a drug.

A system of regulation of the Production, Trade and consumption of drugs were set up during the 20th century. The rules enacted by the States take account of the political, social and medical implications of the drug taking and determine the Réglementation of their use or their prohibition. A policy of prohibition more or less generalized was also installation for the products Stupéfiant S. the Législation installation thus makes it possible it also to specify the concept of drug.


The etymology of the term is vague.

For the majority of the modern works.

For Claude Saumaise and Gilles Ménage this word derives from “droga” made starting from the Persan “droa” ( aromatic odor ).

Some think that this word could also come from the Hebrew “rakab” ( perfume ) or of the Arab “drâwa” ( ball of corn ). The taking into account of several parameters makes it possible to better determine the concept of drug. For Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, “drug is first of all a product of origin Animal E, Végétal E or Synthétique, which, introduced into the organization by some means that it is, has on this one of the effects biodynamic, and who can, in certain cases, to create a more or less serious Accoutumance”. A third element making it possible to define a drug are the standards imposed by a given company. These three elements make it possible to apprehend drug like a phenomenon of société.
This difference in approach of the same product is related to the concept of sociocultural tolerance, according to which in a country where a substance is produced, a state of relative balance settles between this substance and the users where it is integrated in a social ritual, mystical or religious. This ritual is accompanied by a tradition of the use of the product conveying of the regulations of use, the quantities to be used, the dangers relating to the use, being limited to the illegal Psychotrope S (for example in “drug trafficking”). This slip of the Sens of the term is allotted to the installation of the international legislations and to the emergence of a massive phenomenon of Toxicomanie. In this vision legalist, the alcohol or the Tabac is thus not regarded as drugs in spite of the behaviors compulsifs which they can induce.

This pejorative direction is reinforced by imaginary popular definitely different between the alcohol, the psychotropic drugs and drugs where the ancestral use and Chamanique of psychotropic are erased in a few decades with the profit of a negative imagery symbolized by four representations forfeiture , compulsion , irresponsibility and animality .

The linguistic evolution described previously testifies to a cultural rupture as for the report/ratio with the Substance S Psychotrope S. Indeed, the relationship between the Homme and drugs is regarded as a major anthropological phenomenon goes back to the first steps of the man in the knowledge of his vegetable environment. These plants then make it possible the man to return in contact with another world, the world of the Esprit S, a supernatural kingdom. It is of this division that will be born a division between the world Sacré and the world Profane. The reports/ratios which the man with drugs maintains influenced the development of Systèmes of values, by establishing for example “a space order on the surface of the ground in correspondence with a cosmic, supernatural, ideological order which forms integral part of their cultural heritage”.

The traces of use of plants hallucinogens go up so far in the Préhistoire that certain authors, think that the idea of God could have appeared at the men following hallucinatory experiments.

In France, the National Académie of medicine adopts the following definition of the term dopes: Natural substance or of synthesis of which the effects Psychotrope S cause feelings connected with the pleasure, incentive with a repetitive use which results founding the permanence of this effect and in preventing the mental health disorders (psychic dependence), and even physical (physical dependence), occurring with the stop of this consumption which, so moulted of need. To in no case the word drug should not be used within the meaning of drug or of substance pharmacologically active..

For the Belgian Institut of public health a drug is a psychoactive substance used at not-medical ends.

In a legal context, the term “drug” returns to the illicit substances in opposition to other substances such the psychotropic alcohol, Nicotine or drugs.

The term drug is sometimes used by extension to qualify produced causing a compulsif behavior including a dependence; one speaks then about Toxicomanie. Moreover, the term “drug” is also used to indicate the object of a Addiction (of the behaviors repeated and supposed by the subject foreseeable, controllable). One can quote for example the compulsifs purchases, the Dépendance with Internet, the Dépendance with the video game, the pathological Jeu, the sexuality or the Surentraînement sportif, .

Derived expressions

The Dictionnaire of Trévoux defines also the Substantif “droguor” (who provides, which sells drugs), disappeared since, and the Verbe “to dope” (to give or take drugs). An example of perceptuelle drug can be the Saccharine, which has the same effects on the nervous system as the Fructose or the Lactose, but without being a Glucide (it thus does not have a nutritional value).

By extending the concept of perceptuelle drug, one can realize that many others Stimuli can produce perceptuels effects which are not associated with a benefit of the person who perceives these stimuli, as it is the case of the Pornographie for example.

A illicit drug is a drug whose consumption and sale are prohibited by the law of a country. The illicit character of certain drugs varies from one legislation (and thus from a country) to another. The Cannabis, for example, illicit in France but is authorized under strict regulation with the sale and consumption in the Netherlands.

This distinction between the two terms sticks to the substances Psychotrope S consumed with an aim not-therapeutic and suitable for induce a dependence by differentiating them on their legal statute.

Drugs called licit drugs indicate the substances Psychotrope S whose consumption and sale are not prohibited by the law of a country. By drug sells by auction , one in general indicates the alcohol, the Tabac, the Café, the psychotropic Médicaments or the organic Solvants.

Distinction illicit drugs and licit drugs introduced above in no manner a distinction in fact could induce enters dangeureuse drug (and/or potentially lethal) and inoffensive drug (and/or not potentially lethal). In other words, a licit drug can be quite as dangerous (or not) that an illicit drug: it must be quite clear that the distinction of this paragraph does not approach to in no case this distinction nor does not imply it.

Entertaining drug

The term of entertaining drug is a term derived from the expression entertaining use , which indicates before all the environment of consumption. The use intervenes then from a festive point of view, the désinhibant effect of the Psychotrope S being sought by the users.

This term indicates an occasional and moderate consumption not involving any complications on health or the behavior. This entertaining consumption is thus opposed to the problematic concept of consumption which defines the Toxicomanie.

The fact of presenting the Psychotrope S illegal as of the entertaining substances is regarded as inciting because occulting the problems of marginalisation that an improper use of these products can induce. It is the case in particular in France where the incentive with the use of psychotropic illegal is penally reprehensible.

Diverted use

The term use diverted indicates the use of a Médicament apart from therapeutic indications. It applies to the use of drugs within the framework of the doping but also to the use of Psychotrope S to voluntarily modify the state of consciousness. This term induces a moral judgment. The diverted use often indicates the use of Sédatif S, Opiacé S or Stimulant S at not-medical ends, as it can be the case with the Buprénorphine, the Kétamine, the Morphine, or others.


See also: Psychotropic

Drugs always and everywhere existed. The culture of the poppy to opium was for example known in Mésopotamie 4.000 years before the Christian era, the use of the sheet of Coca is attested in Ecuador and with the Peru into 2.100 and 2 500 av. J. - C. and the known oldest reference to the psychoactive uses of the Cannabis date of 2 700 av. J. - C. in China.

Geographical extension of the plants Alkaloid partly given S.A. their use by the men, who could discover or spread their use during the migrations. Thus, even the areas the least provided in psychoactive plants all the same knew very early the offer of drugs various and varied by the mechanism of the exchanges. At the end of the 19th century, Thomas Larchevêque, in a thesis devoted to the monopoly of the Tabac, defines the vicious substances as goods of which “harmful consumption or at least useless gets no advantage at the organization and who are not that exciting pernicious nervous system”.

What is described as drug during the 20th century arises from the category of the “vicious substances”, defined for the first time at the previous century.

The history, the geography, the localization, the diffusion and the consumption of drugs change abruptly as from the 19th century with progress of pharmacology and allopathic medicine, as well as the expansion of industrial civilization and the internationalization of the exchanges.

The concept of drug then applies to the active ingredients and preserves this direction in Pharmacologie (preparations of the apothecaries then Médicament S). Thus same a chemical Composé can be called drug or drug , according to its use.

Regulation installation as from the 19th century then created two transnational, inter-connected markets but however laying out each one of their own operation and their actors: for the drugs, it is the drug company and the doctors allopaths; for the narcotics, it is the police force, the courts or the customs on a side and the traffickers of the other

A list of criteria is drawn up to consider effects positive and negative of the use of the product for the user and the company in order to determine a acceptable risk :

  1. pharmacological properties of the product (existence or not of Tolerance);
    1. mode of consumption (ingestion, injection, inhalation);
    2. the frequency of use;
    3. personality of the user;
  2. the possibility of splitting the amounts;
  3. the group of users (age, social situation);
  4. risks of danger to others (work, driving of a car);
  5. the possibility of regulating the production and of standardizing the use;
  6. the possibility of evaluating the use (proportioning in blood, the urines, etc).

It is this concept of acceptable risk which is regarded as at the origin of differentiation soft drug / hard drug . The soft drugs which would present a acceptable risk being less penalized than those presenting a unacceptable risk .

Opposition soft drug - hard drug

These terms appeared at the time of the installation of the international regulations concerning drugs. They have a historical direction strongly attached to the regulation of the time when only the morphine derivatives , cocainic and cannabic were aimed by the laws. One opposes this expression to hard drug .

hard Drug is a term which qualifies capable substances to cause a dependence psychic and physical strong This term generally indicates the derivatives of Cocaïne and of Héroïne.

Name “drug soft” is disputed by certain, insofar as it can exist in certain cases one hard use of the soft drugs . In such cases, the catch of a usually qualified product of soft drug can lead to the Toxicomanie.

Opposition dopes synthesis - natural drug

The term of drug of synthesis especially gets busy in opposition to the term natural drug . Natural drug resulting from is natural product having undergoes little or not transformations like the mushrooms hallucinogens or the Cannabis; whereas the drug of synthesis indicates mainly substances like the Ecstasy or the LSD which require a synthesis in laboratory.

This distinction is disputed by certain authors, insofar as the Résine of cannabis, generally regarded as natural , can sometimes undergo chemical handling aiming at increasing by it the active ingredient (THC). Moreover, these authors consider that the use of the natural term can lend to confusion as for the dangerosity of the product.

Socio-medical implications of the drug taking

See also: Psychotropic, Drug-addiction

The effects of drugs are qualified of Psychotrope; they can modify the Esprit, the Volonté, the Jugement, etc Indeed, drugs generally act thanks to one or more Alcaloïde S and modify the synaptic transmissions.

The drug taking is associated with social problems and with Santé which varies according to the type, the quantity and the absorption mode of the Substance blamed. The repeated consumption of drug can lead to the Toxicomanie and to have medical consequences.

Policy of prohibition of drugs

See also: Prohibition of drugs

One of the characteristics of drugs and their market is prohibition and the repression whose they are the object on a worldwide scale. In fact historically the the United States of it are the financial first and promoters, and the philosophy of this law was applied to other products thereafter.

At the beginning of the century, the substances were imported since the foreigner, the colonies and old European colonies, territories subjected to political, industrial and commercial powers which drew from the benefit of the trade of opium and the cannabis such as for example the Great Britain via the English Compagnie from the Eastern Indies and which will go until declaring wars in the name of the free trade of the Opium in what one named the Guerres of opium. The European powers disputed the position prohibitionnist of the United States until in the Années 1950, time when those ceased drawing from the profits of the trade of drugs in their colonies.

The mode prohibitionnist is thus partially founded on social, ethnic and geopolitical bases conflict, these three dimensions being inextricable according to Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy and Laurent Laniel. These authors also consider that the classification of the substances and the related legislation are not based on a scientific base but on ideological bases, morals and policies. The political orientations taken compared to drugs give place to discussed debates, which give place to partial and partial representations.

Ethan A. Nadelmann explains why the economy of illicit drugs on a worldwide scale is clearly the result of the official intervention on a worldwide scale. It specifies that the construction of the international standards consitute a stake and an instrument of being able, in particular of North on the South .

Illicit drugs and their trade form part, more than ever, of the process of Mondialisation, than they are the traffickers profiting from prohibition or the States leading a “war to drug”

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