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drug use

use of drugs for psychotropic rather than medical purposes. Among the most common psychotropic drugs are opiates (opium, morphine, heroin), hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin), barbiturates, cocaine, amphetamines, tranquilizers, and cannabis. Alcohol and tobacco are also sometimes classified as drugs. The term "drug abuse" is normally applied to excessive and addictive use of drugs. Because such drugs can have severe physiological and psychological, as well as social, effects, many governments regulate their use.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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