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Article
Sept 18, 1967

DANSE MACABRE ON THE POINT OF A NEEDLE

JAMA. 1967;201(12):967. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130120075024
Abstract

Had medieval Schoolmen foreseen the hypodermic needle and its use in narcotic addiction, they might have argued more often about the number of devils rather than of angels on the point of a needle. En route to the addict's "mainline," the needle is no place for dancing angels.

The diabolic dance on the sharp point began over a century ago with the invention of the hypodermic needle and the introduction of morphine into the Western World. During the past fifty years, however, heroin gradually displaced morphine as the narcotic of choice, and it is now used by approximately 90% of addicts. By far the most dangerous in widespread habituation and one of the most difficult to treat, heroin addiction is the concern of sociologists, criminologists, lawmakers, and psychiatrists. Causes of addiction are looked for in deepseated personality disorders of the addict, and its effects studied in the context of his

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