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Book and Media Reviews
February 20, 2008

Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control

JAMA. 2008;299(7):840-841. doi:10.1001/jama.299.7.840

Alcohol is the most widely abused drug in the United States, and 3.4% of the population is alcohol dependent by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) definition.1

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.2 Individuals with alcoholism are much more likely to develop medical problems, sustain injuries, and be involved in motor vehicle crashes, which often are fatal.