Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you're addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.
Drug addiction can start with the experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people, drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins when they take prescribed medicines or receive them from others who have prescriptions.