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In the past, people would say that legal drugs were good, illegal drugs were bad, and prescription drugs were helpful. However, we know that penicillin, a lifesaving drug, has also been responsible for more than 200,000 deaths due to allergic reactions.
In a discussion of drugs, "good" or "bad" are not appropriate designations. Drugs may be helpful or harmful, depending on how they are used.
People often take aspirin for a headache. Aspirin has several main effects, including:
-- Pain relief
-- Fever reduction
-- Control of swelling
-- Reduction of inflammation
Also reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke among senior citizens
However, like all drugs, aspirin has side-effects (about thirty), things that happen because drugs affect many body systems. For example, aspirin causes the stomach lining to bleed just a little bit of blood. A person with arthritis who is taking twenty aspirin a day has to be careful about anemia and ulcers.
This is the essential paradox of drug use - many drugs have the potential to help or to harm. Therefore, there are three main categories of drug use - use, misuse or abuse.
Drug Use refers to taking a drug correctly for a legitimate medical reason.
-- Aspirin for headaches
-- Insulin for diabetes
-- Morphine for pain relief
-- Drug Misuse refers to taking a legal drug inappropriately.
-- Using drugs with an expired shelf life
-- Swapping pills (someone giving a friend or relative some pain pills left over from his or her recent surgery)
-- Accidentally taking the wrong drug (taking a blood pressure medication instead of a heart medication)
-- Taking a drug incorrectly ("If two Tylenol are good, maybe five will be better for my headache.")
Drug Abuse refers to taking a legal or illegal drug in a way that damages some aspect of the user's life (mental, physical, social relationships, occupational performance).
-- Taking a drug for a purpose unrelated to a medical need
-- Taking a drug to create a state of euphoria
-- Taking a potent pain reliever like heroin simply to get highv
-- Using any drug to create altered consciousness
-- Underage drinking