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Comment & Response
February 21, 2017

Substance Use Terminology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, San Francisco, California
JAMA. 2017;317(7):769. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.20472

To the Editor Mr Botticelli and Dr Koh1 focused on the need to change the language of addiction to help frame the illness accurately and avoid judgments. Unfortunately, the authors used a term that has negative implications, a propensity to be misinterpreted, is poorly defined, does not reflect the current science, and does not promote evidence-based medicine. That term is addiction. If it is inappropriate to refer to a person as a substance abuser, rather than as a person with a substance use disorder, they should not be referred to as addicts either.

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