The subject of drug use has a lexicon of different words and phrases that are used and two phrases that are often heard within the vocabulary of those discussing drug use in whatever context, are “hard drugs” and “soft drugs”. It is safe to say that these two phrases have probably been more misused and created more confusion and misunderstanding than any others concerning drug use.
Firstly, it is the case that there is no hard and fast definition of what constitutes a hard drug or a soft drug. Both of these terms are completely arbitrary and there are no official criteria as to what would identify any drug as hard or soft. Further, no official scientific or medical paper exists that definitively outlines what a hard drug or soft drug is.
Consensus? What Consensus?
Whilst there may not be a definite definition of what a hard or a soft drug is, you will find that there are general views of what they are. It must be stated that individuals, whether they be doctors, drug recovery specialists, or even drugs users themselves may have specific views that vary slightly from the general view.
Even here there is a misconception that the terms “hard” and “soft” relate solely to the amount of damage that drug can do to someone who takes it, and ultimately becomes addicted to it. By this definition, hard drugs are regarded as being more toxic to the user’s system and some believe that a drug that is more addictive should have the label “hard”.