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April 8, 1939

A STUDY OF THE PROMISCUOUS USE OF THE BARBITURATES: THEIR USE IN SUICIDES

Author Affiliations

CLEVELAND

From the Department of Pharmacology, Western Reserve University.

JAMA. 1939;112(14):1340-1343. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.62800140010011
Abstract

At a meeting of the American Medical Association in June 1937 a resolution was introduced on the "Evils from Promiscuous Use of Barbituric Acid and Derivative Drugs," in which was included the following statement: "The evils of these drugs include habit formations, toxic cumulative action, their substitution for alcoholic beverages for drunken episodes, their use for successful as well as unsuccessful suicidal attempts, their improper use being a recognized causative factor in many motor accidents and their improper use being a recognized etiologic factor in some criminal assaults...."

The widespread use of barbiturates is illustrated in table 1 by statistics of the manufacture and sale of the drugs in this country for 1936 compiled by the United States Tariff Commission. These figures were made available through President H. G. Bertram of the Winthrop Chemical Company, in whose opinion, because of the high United States duty, "sales" may be considered practically

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