When teaching about chemical dependency it is imperative to begin with a brief discussion of the differences between substance “use”, “abuse”, and “addiction”. “Use” consists of the “appropriate” consumption of alcohol or some other mood altering drug. Appropriate usage of a chemical means that the consumer is using the chemical at the appropriate time, in an appropriate place, and in the proper quantity. It involves the application of a drug in a way that it was meant to be utilized, and by persons defined as appropriate consumers.
When minors use alcohol (or any other non-prescribed mood/mind altering drug) it is considered abuse. The consumption of alcohol (or any other non-prescribed mood/mind altering drug) by minors is considered abuse. Any consumption of an illegal drug is considered abuse. When someone consumes a prescription medication that was prescribed for someone else, it is considered abuse. It constitutes using the chemical in a manner that is inconsistent with its intended purposes). That could include taking a prescription drug in a manner not prescribed — in terms of quantity, form, or frequency. It could mean consuming the chemical at an improper time or place. It could involve drinking alcohol to get drunk. Consumption is also considered abusive when the chemical takes on elevated importance in the lives of the consumer.
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