Substance Abuse: Medical and Slang Terminology

Humera Hamid, BA; Rif S. El-Mallakh, MD; Keith Vandeveir, CADC

Disclosures

South Med J. 2005;98(3):350-362. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Substance abuse is among one of the major problems plaguing our society. It has come to the attention of several health-care professionals that a communication gap exists between themselves and substance abusers. Most of the time the substance abusers are only familiar with the slang terms of abused substances, a terminology that medical professionals are usually unaware of. This paper is an attempt to close that communication gap, allowing health care professionals to understand the slang terminology that their patients use, thus enabling them to make appropriate treatment decisions. In addition, the article presents some key features (including active ingredient, pharmacological classification, medical use, abuse form, usage method, combinations used, effects sought, long-term possible effects, and detectability in urine) of the most commonly abused substances.

Introduction

Substance abuse is one of the major problems currently plaguing our society. A recent survey found the lifetime prevalence of a diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence to be 16.7% among the United States population over 18 years of age.[1] The widespread excessive use of these habit-forming substances is associated with a significant degree of morbidity and mortality.[1–4] Frequently, a communication gap exists between substance abusers and health care providers. Generally, the substance abusers are only familiar with the slang terms of abused substances, a terminology that the medical professionals are usually unaware of. The following is an attempt to close that communication gap, allowing health care professionals to understand the slang terminology that their patients use, thus enabling them to make appropriate treatment decisions. The article first presents some of the key features of most commonly abused substances, using medical terminology. At the end is an index of reference for slang terms, providing the corresponding medical terminology.[1–11]

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....