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Mechanisms of Substance Use Disorder

Mechanisms of Substance Use Disorder

When a drug is taken into the body through any route, it undergoes absorption, metabolism, distribution, and elimination, which is referred to as pharmacokinetics (Grogan & Preuss, 2023). First, absorption is the process that takes the drug from administration into systemic circulation. Different means of drug administration have specific absorption characteristics, disadvantages, and advantages. Absorption affects the concentration and speed at which a drug may reach the target location of effect, for example, plasma. The drug absorption process also involves the course by which the drug is released from the pharmaceutical dosage form (Grogan & Preuss, 2023).

Secondly, drug metabolism is the breakdown of the drug by the body into consequent compounds. Most of the time, metabolism involves converting the drug into water-soluble substances that will continue to renal clearance or conversion of the drug into metabolites that are active, for instance, in prodrugs such as codeine. Different metabolism mechanisms may take place in many areas throughout the body, like the skin, plasma, kidneys, and lungs, but most metabolism occurs in the liver (Grogan & Preuss, 2023).

Thirdly, drug distribution is a description of how a substance is spread all over the body. Distribution is dependent on the drug’s biochemical properties and the physiology of the individual the medication is being administered. Distribution aims to get effective drug concentration at the designated drug receptor site. The effectiveness of a drug is to reach the intended compartmental destination based on the volume of distribution rather than being protein-bound (Grogan & Preuss, 2023).

Lastly, elimination is the process of excreting the drug from the body. Most drugs are eliminated through the kidney, but some are eliminated by the skin, lungs, or gastrointestinal tract. Hydrophilic drugs are directly eliminated without the need for metabolic changes to their structure, but hydrophobic drugs must undergo modification to make them more polar. Garza et al. (2023) note that factors affecting elimination include genetic variation, drug properties, diseases, and drug distribution pathways.


Garza, A. Z., Park, S. B., & Kocz, R. (2023, July 4). Drug elimination. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.

Grogan, S. & Preuss, C. V. (2023, July 30). Pharmacokinetics. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.


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Mechanisms of Substance Use Disorder

Mechanisms of Substance Use Disorder

Explore the mechanisms of drug absorption, metabolism, distribution, and elimination.

Length: Your post should be roughly 4-6 paragraphs in length (a paragraph generally consists of 5 sentences that are organized around a central theme)
References: Cite sources you reference in-text and under a “References” section in APA format. You should utilize at least one additional scholarly resource from the NU library in addition to your course material reading, for a total of two (2) scholarly resources.

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