Drug use

The consumption of a drug for purposes other than prescribed medical treatment or scientific investigation. Drug use can be abstinent, infrequent (experimentation), occasional (e.g. less than weekly) or regular (e.g. at least once per week). According to the WHO, hazardous use describes a use pattern that increases the risk of harmful physical, mental and social consequences for users and their social environment (e.g. family, community), while harmful use describes a use pattern that is already damaging the mental or physical health of users and may have social consequences. Drug use is also known as drug/substance misuse/abuse. However, terms such as “misuse” or “abuse” can be considered judgemental if used to describe drug use in general; they are more suitable for referring to harmful use only.