Defining Substance Use, Misuse, and Substance Use Disorder

Substance is a psychoactive compound that has the potential to cause health and social problems including substance use disorders and their most severe manifestation: addiction.

These substances can be divided into three major categories:

  • Alcohol
  • Illicit drugs including prescription drugs used non-medically.
  • Over-the counter-drugs such as cough and cold medications, inhalants, cleaning fluids, solvents, spray paints, nitrous oxide, gasoline, etc.

Substance Use – is defined as the use—even one time—of any substance.