Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
Historically, and too often now, the doctor taking a patient's medical history typically has touched only cursorily on substance use: "smokes one pack per day, occasional drink socially." Such superficiality is extraordinary, considering that substance abuse is arguably the number one public health problem in the United States, affecting 18% of the population at some time in their lives and costing $144 billion per year in health care and job loss. Recognizing this importance, Fleming et al,1 have written, "Performing an alcohol and drug history on every patient seen in a clinical setting . . . is likely to become the new standard of care."
Substance AbuseThe American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment. JAMA. 2000;283(14):1887. doi:10.1001/jama.283.14.1887