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Drug abuse refers to the systematic use of drugs for pleasure (rather than medical) reasons.
To be classified as as a disorder it has to have most of the following characteristics:-
- It results in physical, mental, and/or emotional harm to the abuser and/or the people in the abusers life,
- The user requires increasing dosages to achieve the same kind of "high,"
- Such a significant portion of the abuser's time is dedicated to thinking, using, and acquiring drugs that their life becomes impacted.
Users not addicted
A "chipper" (when it's not a machine for shredding Christmas trees or wives) is a person who uses many different drugs while avoiding addiction to any specific one. Chippers may, for example, smoke pot on a daily basis, but use "harder" drugs less often enough that they don't become addicts.  Chippers may be at risk of becoming addicts.
Drugs subject to abuse
Virtually every drug can be abused, though some are much more harmful than others, and some are relatively harmless but extremely addictive. Alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, caffeine, nicotine and opiates are by far the most widely used drugs.
The Health Officers Council of British Columbia released a study in 2005 entitled A Public Health Approach To Drug Control in Canada, which studied the effects of drugs on Canucks. Well, it is assumed everybody knows that all the French-loving arctic hippies do is smoke weed and act "commie".
The war on drugs
One argument proposes that the War on Drugs (? to present) has increased rates of drug abuse, paralleling events during the 1920-1933 alcohol prohibition era in the United States. Since usage is pushed into back alleys, there are no checks on usage or on purity, and no restriction of sales.
Warring on drugs also becomes extremely expensive to maintain, with costs accruing from the cops policing the drugs, the court system and the jails to hold people for a crime that ultimately harms no one but themselves - assuming it even harms them. The cost per-day to keep someone in jail averages at USD $94.82. Money that could probably be better spent in education and rehab (or just letting users live with a habit and not forcing adults to degrade themselves because American society still considers the concept of sin-and-punishment reasonable and valid).
But it looks good for politicians and makes private-prison systems lots of profit.
- Thornton, Mark (17 July 1991). "Alcohol Prohibition Was A Failure". Cato Policy Analysis No. 157. The Cato Institutea. "Although consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it subsequently increased. [...] Prohibition, which failed to improve health and virtue in America, can afford some invaluable lessons. First, it can provide some perspective on the current crisis in drug prohibition--a 75-year effort that is increasingly viewed as a failure. [...] Prohibition did not achieve its goals. Instead, it added to the problems it was intended to solve and supplanted other ways of addressing problems. The only beneficiaries of Prohibition were bootleggers, crime bosses, and the forces of big government."
- See the Wikipedia article on Drug rehabilitation.