• Abstinence - Refraining from drug use.

  • AOD - Alcohol and/or other drugs.

  • Binge - A lengthy episode of very heavy drinking that produces extreme intoxication.

  • Brief intervention - An intervention that takes very little time. Brief interventions are usually conducted in a one-on-one situation.

  • Central nervous system (CNS) - Brain and spinal cord.

  • Craving - A strong desire for a drug caused by dependency on the drug, often prompting drug-seeking behaviour. Many relapses occur because cravings can persist for many months after ceasing use.

  • Detoxification - The means by which a drug-dependent person may withdraw from the drug's effects.

  • Depressants - Drugs that slow down the brain and central nervous system.

  • Drug - Within the context of this course, a drug is a substance that produces a psycho-active effect.

  • Drug dependence - 1@Drug dependence occurs when a drug becomes central to a person's thoughts, emotions and activities. A dependent person finds it difficult to stop using the drug or even to cut down on the amount used. Dependence has physiological and psychological elements. Anyone who relies on and regularly seeks out the effects of a drug can be considered to be dependent on that drug to some degree.

  • Hallucinogens - Drugs that act on the brain to distort perception (i.e. sight, taste, touch, sound, smell).

  • Harm minimisation - Harm minimisation is the primary principle underpinning the National Drug Strategy and refers to policies and programs aimed at reducing drug-related harm. It encompasses a wide range of approaches including abstinence-oriented strategies. Both legal and illegal drugs are the focus of Australia's harm minimisation strategy. Harm minimisation includes preventing anticipated harm and reducing actual harm.

  • Harm reduction - Harm reduction aims to reduce the impact of drug-related harm on individuals and communities. It includes those strategies designed to reduce the harm associated with drug use without necessarily reducing or stopping use.Top of page

  • Intervention - A purposeful activity designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate AOD use at an individual, family or community level.

  • Intoxication - Any alteration in our perception, mood, thinking processes and motor skills as a result of the impact of a drug(s) on our central nervous system.

  • Motivational interviewing - A therapeutic style developed in the AOD field in the early 1980s as an alternative to the more confrontational approach used in some sectors of the treatment field. The main focus of motivational interviewing is to work with clients through the process of change in a client-centred manner. Issues such as resistance and ambivalence are addressed. The aim of motivational interviewing is to build on a client's own motivation and encourage choices for change.

  • Overdose - The use of a drug in an amount that causes acute adverse physical or mental effects. Overdose may produce transient or lasting effects and can sometimes be fatal.

  • Poly-drug use - The use of more than one psychoactive drug, simultaneously or at different times. The term 'poly-drug user' is often used to distinguish a person with a varied pattern of drug use from someone who uses one kind of drug exclusively.

  • Potentiation - When the combined effects of two or more substances are greater than the sum of the effect of the two drugs.

  • Pharmacology - Branch of science that deals with the study of drugs and their actions on living systems.

  • Relapse - A return to drug use after a period of deliberate abstinence or controlled use.

  • Risk-taking - Refers to risky behaviour that could be associated with AOD use, apart from the drug use itself. An assessment involves identifying factors such as sharing injecting equipment, being intoxicated in dangerous places (e.g. near a railway track) and/or having unprotected sex whilst intoxicated.

  • Stimulants - Drugs that speed up the brain and nervous system.

  • Route of administration - Method used to take drugs into the body. Includes oral (via the mouth); injection (intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous); inhalation (via the lungs); mucous membrane absorption (nasal, under the tongue or anal/rectal); dermal/topical (skin patches or cream).

  • Tolerance - Tolerance occurs when a person requires increased doses of a drug to obtain the same effect. Tolerance occurs as the body adapts to the presence of the drug and develops more quickly if use is frequent and heavy.

  • Withdrawal symptoms - Symptoms that can occur when a person using a drug over a prolonged period reduces or ceases use.
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