CURRENT reports indicate that approximately one person in each 3,000 of our population is seriously addicted to drugs of the alkaloid type. The newspapers and popular magazines have recently expressed alarm about this situation, particularly the increasing use of morphine, diacetylmorphine, and meperidine (Demerol) among teen-agers. It is generally believed that the seriously disabled group of drug addicts is continually growing. As a social, economic, and medical problem, drug addiction demands the attention of physicians, challenges their best efforts.
How shall the physician attempt to treat these patients when they are placed in his care? In the medical literature of recent years long-term institutional treatment is generally advocated. Gradual withdrawal of the drug is nearly always presented as the method of choice. The time required by various institutions which attempt treatment of this notoriously obdurate disorder varies considerably but is seldom brief. In a recent report, the United States Public