April 1964

The Physician in Treatment of Drug Addiction

Author Affiliations

Executive Secretary, Committee on Public Health The New York Academy of Medicine 2 E 103d St, New York, NY 29

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(4):323. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720220001001

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One of the biggest obstacles to a vigorous attack on drug addiction is the almost complete avoidance of addicts as patients by most physicians. Forty years ago they departed from the treatment of addicts and have never returned because they have been and still are unjustly exposed to the risk of professional ruin and disgrace at the hands of the Narcotic Division. Over this period the Division by its regulations has dictated the only way it will permit treatment and has thereby deprived the physician of freedom to exercise his clinical judgment.

It is recognized that addiction contains a large psychological as well as physical element. Every addict is different. Therefore, the treatment must not be stereotyped but rather it should be individualized and tailored to the addict. Accordingly, there are therapeutic decisions in which the physician must exercise his clinical judgment: whether to institute withdrawal

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