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November 17, 1978

Clinical Aspects of Amphetamine Abuse

JAMA. 1978;240(21):2317-2319. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290210099043

DURING the nearly 50 years that stimulant drugs of the amphetamine type have been used in medical practice, they have been subject to identifiable patterns of misuse and abuse. The term "use" is defined here as taking drugs pursuant to proper medical indications. "Misuse" is taking drugs for nonmedical indications, and "abuse" is drug taking that interferes with a person's health or economic or social functioning.

In recent years, abuse was considered only as a problem of youth involvement in the drug scene. Today, however, it is not uncommon to find misuse and abuse by adults as well.

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) ranked "speed" and amphetamines tenth and 11th among the country's most abused substances in 1974 to 1975. Established by the Drug Enforcement Agency and cosponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, DAWN receives information from hospitals, crisis centers, and medical examiners. Although the data are