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Substance Abuse vs. Substance Use

I read today that New York (football) Giants safety Will Hill is facing a suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

That got me thinking. It seems like every time some athlete gets busted for violating some kind of drug policy, it’s called a “substance abuse policy.” What if the person is busted and it’s proved he/she took the banned substance just once? How is that abuse? To abuse is to use over and over and over, causing damage to the user, right?


Abuse is defined as “to use so as to injure or damage.” There is no mention of how many times a person must use to consider it abuse.

Here’s another definition: “improper use or treatment.” Again, no mention of many times is required.

I prefer that news writers use different terms, such as “violating the league’s drug-use policy” or “failing a drug test,” and tIr sad such things a great deal, fortunately.

Now I know that “substance abuse” also is correct.

Until next time! Use the right words!


April 22, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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