We call "drug" any psychotropic or psychoactive substance which disrupts the functioning of the central nervous system (sensations, perceptions, moods, feelings, motor skills) or which modifies states of consciousness.
A drug is a product capable of causing physical and / or psychological dependence. The dangers or risks of a substance depend on many factors: the age and sex of the user, the method of consumption, the frequency with which he uses it, etc.
In general, among drugs, one can distinguish those which seem to be calming, such as alcohol, tranquilizers (medicines), cannabis or opiates; those that stimulate, such as cocaine, ecstasy or amphetamines; those that cause hallucinations, such as LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms. These effects may vary depending on the dose consumed.
A distinction is made between psychoactive substances of "natural" origin: extracted from a plant or a fungus, in an almost raw state or chemically reprocessed, substances of "synthetic" origin: completely made in the laboratory from chemicals.
Definition of a drug "depressant": they act on the brain by slowing down certain functions or sensations. Slowed respiratory function and falling asleep are often side effects of these drugs.
Definition of a drug "stimulating": they increase the sensations and certain organic functions such as the heart rate or the feeling of wakefulness... Their "stimulating" action is often followed by a backlash with, for example, the opposite sensations of fatigue and irritability.
Definition of a drug "hallucinogenic": they modify visual, auditory and bodily perceptions. These modifications are very dependent on the context and the person who uses such drugs.
Definition of a drug "stimulants-hallucinogens": they stimulate sensations and certain organic functions while producing distortions of perceptions, but to a lesser extent than with a hallucinogen.
The term drugs covers both illicit drugs such as cannabis, heroin or cocaine as well as legal drugs such as nicotine, alcohol or medication.
The term "narcotic" has a legal meaning: it is the term used to designate prohibited psychoactive substances, included in a list of "narcotics". The products on this list do not represent all "drugs", but only those that are strictly prohibited or whose use is controlled: hallucinogens, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, etc. The term "narcotic" or "similar narcotic" also applies to a certain class of drugs whose prescription and dispensing rules are stricter than for other drugs. The term "psychotropic" also has a legal meaning: it is the term used to designate psychoactive substances regulated as belonging to the category of poisonous substances.
The objective of the definition of a drug classification of products, is to limit the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic drugs to medical and scientific purposes only and to regulate their use in order to avoid any abuse or diversion into illegal use or trafficking, which constitute criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment and fines. The list of “narcotics” is regularly updated based on knowledge of dangerous substances available on the market.
In recent years, new natural or synthetic psychoactive substances (NSP) have appeared on the market. Made in the lab, they mimic the effects of cannabis, cocaine, MDMA / ecstasy, amphetamines or other illegal drugs. They can cause poisoning which is sometimes fatal; as soon as proof of their dangerous nature is provided, their classification in the list of narcotic drugs or psychotropic drugs is requested, either at the national level or at the international level.