February 1989

Who Can Say No to Illicit Drug Use?Response to a New Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and the Alcohol Research Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(2):189-190. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810020091014

With each new call to a "War on Drug Abuse," common themes serve to reduce the problem to its lowest common denominator. The projection of "blame" and the trivialization of research findings by the popular press and some political figures can contribute to an attitude that minimizes the complexity of the problem. The heterogeneous characteristics of persons who use illicit drugs and/or develop drug-use patterns that fit DSM-III-R criteria for one or another substance dependence disorder are generally not understood by policymakers. Within the research community the multivariate nature of the problem contributes to a seemingly cacophonous scientific literature. Each discipline can appear to be claiming a higher order of explanation of the cause of the problem and/or its solution.

See also p 109.

Correlational relationships between social and/or psychological characteristics and drug-use patterns have sometimes resulted in imperfect interpretations about cause-and-effect relationships. 1 We sometimes forget that social

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