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September 4, 1972

Dope Fiend to Drug Addict

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1972;221(10):1164. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200230050020

To the Editor.—  I have just read your EDITORIAL entitled, "From Dope Fiend to Drug Addict" in which you mentioned Dr. Lewis Thomas's suggestion for an approach to the problem through a vast enlargement of methadone programs.This prompts me to call to your attention an article in Science for 26 May, 1972, entitled "The Methadone Illusion," in which Lennard, Epstein, and Rosenthal point out that "the heroin problem" is not a problem but merely a small part of a larger problem of society today.1 They emphasize that substituting one drug for another is not a solution but merely a means of enabling the rest of us to feel that we are doing something. Actually, a person who is taking methadone is still an addict who is taking a potent drug and whose life and outlook are profoundly affected by a potent drug, even though it is given under