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November 4, 1968

Implications for Research

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1968;206(6):1280-1284. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150060054012

The abuse of drugs is not solely a medical problem. It is an array of different social, behavioral, and physiological problems in which the manufacturer, distribution, and use of medicinals is involved. While clinical practice presents an incessant panorama of behavioral issues to which the perceptive physician is privy, he usually is only minimally expert or influential in behavioral treatment and legal policy. This certainly is the case in the area of drug abuse.

Hopefully, physicians will sharpen the focus of their interest, develop appropriate skills, and seek the expertise of others whose competence is clear. For reliable knowledge, the traditions of scientific medicine require explicit definition of a number of quite different aims. What do we need to know to prevent the spread of drug abuses—about those motives and forces which initiate drug intake, those sustaining it, and those leading either to uncontrolled or controlled intake? What do we