Defining Drugs of Abuse
  • Ralph E. Tarter


Pharmacology is the scientific discipline concerned with determining the biochemical actions and behavioral effects of drugs. Understanding the pharmacological actions of drugs on brain and behavior is thus the cornerstone of basic research directed at elucidating etiology of the substance use disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Although etiology of the substance use disorders involves manifold factors, including genetic predisposition, social context (family, peers, societal norms, demography), psychological disposition (temperament, personality, cognition), as well as regulations and legal controls determining drug cost and availability, the complex causal variables resulting in these clinical disorders originate from pharmacology.


Withdrawal Symptom Abusable Drug Social Adjustment Societal Norm Abuse Liability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph E. Tarter
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical School and Center for Education and Drug Abuse ResearchPittsburghUSA

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