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October 25, 1971

Paean to Morpheus

JAMA. 1971;218(4):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170067019

"Narcotics and Medical Practice" (this issue, p 578) is the latest product of a continuing monitoring of the drug-dependence scene by expert committees of the American Medical Association and the National Research Council. The statement is a timely one, with public and professional concern growing over the spread of heroin abuse in the armed forces overseas and in city and suburban streets at home, and with the new Controlled Substances Act coming into full implementation.

The two organizations are forthright in their observations and recommendations. Especially noteworthy are the guidelines they offer which depart from their previous joint statement in 1967,1 reflecting changed circumstances and new experience.

In the current statement, for example, they term the technique of methadone maintenance "proper medical practice" under certain conditions. They also acknowledge that ambulatory withdrawal can be feasible "with adequate social support and control of the dispensing of medication." In their previous

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