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The Arts and Medicine
January 22, 2019

Addiction 101, in Technicolor

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
JAMA. 2019;321(3):228-229. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19480

It was a sad, kind patient named Joel who taught me more than anyone else ever did about taking care of people who use drugs. His lesson consisted of a single sentence: “Never trust an addict.”

That meant never trust Joel himself, who had progressed in middle age from a serious cocaine problem to a serious alcohol problem, and never trust any of the hundreds of other patients with addiction I did my best with treating over the years. Possibly Joel's was not the world's best advice on the subject, but it wasn't the world's worst either, and it was all I had.

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