benzodiazepines: a type of central nervous system depressant psychotropic drugs that produce sedative/hypnotic effects, sometimes used to treat anxiety; for example, Xanax, Valium, Librium, Ativan, Klonopin.
central nervous system (CNS) depressants: psychotropic drugs that slow down or reduce activity in the brain; for example, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates.
driving under the influence (DUI): a criminal offense associated with operating a motor vehicle while a person’s ability to safely operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or other substances; also may be identified as driving while impaired (DWI).
non-benzodiazepine medications: a class of sedative/hypnotic drugs usually used to promote sleep which have many of the same effects as benzodiazepines but may have fewer associated risks; for example, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta.
persistence: how long a substance remains active in the body; related to the pharmacokinetic principle of drug half-life.
pharmacokinetics: science and principles of pharmacology addressing how drugs are acted upon by the human body, including rates of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, breakdown, and excretion/elimination.
polydrug use: using two or more psychotropic substances in combination, usually with the intent of achieving a particular effect; alcohol is commonly involved in polydrug use scenarios.
prescription abuse: the use of a controlled substance (medication) without a prescription, in a manner other than was prescribed, or for the purpose of altering feelings/experience.
speed of onset: a pharmacokinetic principle related to how quickly a drug’s effects are first experienced by the user; this varies by type of substance, but is also powerfully influenced by mechanism of administration (e.g., orally, intravenously, inhaled)
tolerance: when repeated use of a substance leads to a person having diminished response such that less effect is experienced by the same dose and/or higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect; one of the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.
withdrawal: the cluster of symptoms experienced when a substance dose is decreased or when its use is stopped completely; not experienced with all substances; one of the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.