Drugs

Definition - What does Drugs mean?

Drugs, broadly defined, are non-food substances that have a physiological effect on the body. Drugs may be used alone or in combination with other substances as medication. Drugs may be used for curative or diagnostic purposes. Drugs may also be used for recreational purposes by altering the user's mental or physical state. Depending upon regulations, a drug may be dispensed through use of a prescription or purchased freely over the counter, meaning no prescription is required. Use of a drug for non-medical purposes may be illegal under certain circumstances.

WorkplaceTesting explains Drugs

Drugs are identified and classified differently depending on the context of their production and usage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines drugs as substances that are officially recognized by a pharmacopoeia or formulary. Medicinal drugs are those used for the "diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease." The FDA also includes substances that affect the structure or function of the body, or are used as an ingredient in a medication as drugs. Biological products created using non-chemical processes may be considered drugs under the FDA's definition.

Within the context of workplace drug and alcohol testing, the term drugs most often refers to controlled or illegal substances. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) defines controlled substances as drugs that are included on any of the scheduled drug lists of the Controlled Substances Act. These schedules may be found in 21 U.S. Code sec. 812.

Drugs are included on one of the statute's five controlled substances schedules if they have a potential for abuse and use of the drug may lead to physical or psychological dependence. It should be noted that some drugs included in the schedules of controlled substances may also have legitimate medical uses. Only drugs that have no currently acceptable medical uses (as determined by the government) are included as Schedule I drugs. Those controlled substances considered least harmful are included in Schedule V.

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