[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 19, 1970

Recovery From Drug Dependence

JAMA. 1970;214(3):579. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180030097021

The Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence believes that recovery from drug dependence occurs often, either spontaneously or as an outcome of a formal treatment program, and that criteria can be posited to determine the existence of such recovery and to assess its degree. Recovery in this context can include, but is not equated with, the concept of cure.

In the Committee's view, a person who has been dependent on one or more drugs may be considered recovered if he fulfills each of the following criteria:

  1. He remains abstinent from the drugs on which he has been dependent for a period of three years. An occasional minor relapse in the course of treatment does not constitute therapeutic failure, inasmuch as drug dependence is a chronic relapsing illness.

  2. He remains, during this time, free of abuse of other psychoactive drugs, including abuse of alcohol, and uses only those drugs