CT Clearinghouse


What Is a Drug?

Research & Statistics

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

    BRFSS tracks a variety of health risks in the United States. Users may search for data from interactive databases that provide prevalence data on health risks such as alcohol and tobacco use, and follow trends in behaviors such as binge drinking. Trends and Prevalence data are viewable by state or nationwide. Maps illustrate health risks at national, state and local levels.

  • Core Institute (Core Surveys) The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey assess the nature, scope, and consequences of alcohol and other drug use on college campuses.
  • Monitoring the Future Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. This site includes links to new information, data tables and figures, and additional publications.
  • National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH)The National Survey on Drug Use & Health, formerly called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, provides national estimates of use, number of users, and other measures related to use of illicit drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other forms of tobacco by population, ages 12 years and older.
  • NIDA Notes This publication covers drug abuse research in the areas of treatment and prevention, epidemiology, neuroscience, behavioral science, health services, and AIDS. The publication reports on research; identifies resources; and promotes communication among clinicians, researchers, administrators, policymakers, and the public.
  • Pride Surveys Pride Surveys was created in 1982 by professors at Georgia State University in Atlanta and Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Their purpose was to help local schools measure student alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Pride Surveys now measure behavior on many crucial issues that can affect learning: family, discipline, safety, activities, gangs, and more.
  • Research Data, Measures & Resources - NIDA

    Links to various NIDA publications, databases, surveillance, prevention & treatment resources, and more.

  • Selected Papers of William L. White The collected papers of William White, author and historian in field of addiction treatment and recovery. The site includes the full text of 200 plus articles, 5 monographs, over 30 recovery tools, 9 book chapters, 3 books, and links to additional books written by White and co-authors over the past forty years. Most documents can be freely downloaded.
  • The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) Library Bibliographies on Substance AbuseThe Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) Library at the University of Washington provides a list of bibliographies on substance abuse. The bibliographies include citations to journal articles, books, book chapters, and miscellaneous reports and unpublished documents.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Trends & StatisticsNIDA's website provides access to publications on trends and statistics in common drugs of abuse.
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy The Office of National Drug Control Policy makes available state and local profiles which include overviews of drug use statistics and drug prevention efforts.
  • The Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System

    The Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System is a prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion surveillance system that collects timely product-and geographically-specific data.

  • The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

    YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors in youth that contribute to leading causes of death, disability and social problems. Monitored behaviors include: tobacco use, diet, physical activity, alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injury or violence.

  • World Drug ReportPublished by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), this report provides analysis and statistics on the production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.

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What Is a Drug?

A drug is a substance which by its chemical nature affects the structure and function of the living organism. This definition includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs, chemicals and food.

Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, coffee, heroin, cocaine, solvents, anti-anxiety medications, cough syrup, LSD, and tranquilizers are all examples of drugs.

Why Do People Use Drugs?

  • to treat a medical problem
  • to lower inhibitions
  • to relax
  • to fit in
  • to experiment
  • to feel good  

Source: Narcotic Educational Foundation of America