Drug paraphernalia is a term used, often with a slightly negative connotation due to its use in criminal law field e.g. "possession of drug paraphernalia", to denote any equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing drugs, typically for recreational purposes. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine are related to a wide range of paraphernalia. Paraphernalia generally falls into two categories including user-specific products and dealer-specific products.
User-specific products include glass hashish pipes, crack cocaine pipes, smoking masks, hashish bongs, cocaine freebase kits, syringes, roach clips for holding the burning end of a marijuana "joint". Some stores sell items for growing hydroponic marijuana, such as guidebooks, fertilizer, and fluorescent grow-lights. The term paraphernalia also refers to items such as hollowed-out cosmetic cases or fake pagers when used to conceal illegal drugs, or products purported to cleanse an individuals system of drug residues to increase the individual's chance of passing a urine analysis for drug use.
Medical equipment (also known as armamentarium) is designed to aid in the diagnosis, monitoring or treatment of medical conditions.
Pharmaceutical policy is a branch of health policy that deals with the development, provision and use of medications within a health care system. It embraces drugs (both brand name and generic), biologics (products derived from living sources, as opposed to chemical compositions), vaccines and natural health products. Pharmaceutical policy includes:
In many countries, an agency of the national government (in the U.S. the NIH, and in the U.K. the MRC) funds university researchers to study the causes of disease, which in some cases leads to the development of discoveries which can be transferred to pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies as a basis for drug development. By setting its budget, its research priorities and making decisions about which researchers to fund, there can be a significant impact on the rate of new drug development and on the disease areas in which new drugs are developed. For example, a major investment by the NIH into research on HIV in the 1980s certainly could be viewed as an important foundation for the many antiviral drugs that have subsequently been developed.
A prescription (℞) is a health-care programme that governs the plan of care for an individual patient and is implemented by a qualified practitioner. A qualified practitioner might be a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, psychologist, or other health care providers. Prescriptions may include orders to be performed by a patient, caretaker, nurse, pharmacist, physician, other therapist, or by automated equipment, such as an intravenous infusion pump. Formerly, prescriptions often included detailed instructions regarding compounding of medications but as medications have increasingly become pre-packaged manufactured products, the term "prescription" now usually refers to an order that a pharmacist dispense and that a patient take certain medications. Prescriptions have legal implications, as they may indicate that the prescriber takes responsibility for the clinical care of the patient and in particular for monitoring efficacy and safety. As medical practice has become increasingly complex, the scope of meaning of the term "prescription" has broadened to also include clinical assessments, laboratory tests, and imaging studies relevant to optimizing the safety or efficacy of medical treatment.
Prescriptions may be entered into an electronic medical record system and transmitted electronically to a pharmacy. Alternatively, a prescription may be handwritten on preprinted prescription forms that are assembled into pads, or printed onto similar forms using a computer printer. The content of a prescription includes the name and address of the prescribing provider and any other legal requirement such as a registration number (e.g. DEA Number in the United States). Unique for each prescription is the name of the patient. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the patient's name and address must also be recorded. Each prescription is dated and some jurisdictions may place a time limit on the prescription. In the past, prescriptions contained instructions for the pharmacist to use for compounding the pharmaceutical product but most prescriptions now specify pharmaceutical products that were manufactured and require little or no preparation by the pharmacist. Prescriptions also contain directions for the patient to follow when taking the drug. These directions are printed on the label of the pharmaceutical product.
A needle & syringe programme (NSP) or syringe-exchange programme (SEP) is a social policy based on the philosophy of harm reduction where injecting drug users (IDUs) can obtain hypodermic needles and associated injection equipment at little or no cost. Many programmes are called "exchanges" because some require exchanging used needles for an equal number of new needles, in order to discourage the incorrect discarding of used equipment. Other programmes do not have this requirement. The aim of these services is to reduce the damage associated with using unsterile or contaminated injecting equipment.
A comprehensive study by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 stated that there is a "compelling case that NSPs substantially and cost effectively reduce the spread of HIV among IDUs and do so without evidence of exacerbating injecting drug use at either the individual or societal level." The WHO's findings have also been supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), which in 2000 adopted a position strongly supporting NSPs when combined with addiction counseling.