I first started to think what substance abuse is and what my own idea of it is? What first comes to mind when thinking of substance abuse are drugs, but of course it can also be many other things. Constant use of substance in a harmful manner that negatively affects your mental, physical or social life is a simple definition of substance abuse. But when do you become a substance abuser and not just a person who is using some substance? When will it become a problem and harmful to you? I think its use becomes harmful when it starts to have an effect on your everyday life and has an impact on your personal relationships. Although, broad range of substance abuse in today’s society is not that simple.
Something that also awoke a discussion in our group was question ‘is alcohol a drug? Yes, alcohol is legal in Finland for over 18 year olds. You can use it and it doesn’t mean right away that you are an alcohol abuser. Only when it harms you, your health, your social relationships, etc., is when it becomes alcohol abuse.
But, what about drugs? There has been a lot of discussion about drugs. Can they be used in medicine? Are they harmful if you only use it occasionally? In Finland it is illegal to use, sell or hold drugs without prescription. The most common discussion that I have paid attention to has been the occasional use of cannabis. Many say or feel that they are recreational cannabis users (so-called party users) and do not perceive it to have serious harmful consequences.