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March 12, 1982

Drug Abuse: A Guide for the Primary Care Physician

JAMA. 1982;247(10):1503-1504. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320350097046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The American Medical Association Department of Mental Health has compiled a text for the primary care physician that attempts to "incorporate the latest research on and clinical experience with drug abuse: its causes, incidence, diagnosis, treatment and prevention." This ambitious project generally succeeds in its goal and condenses volumes of drug abuse literature into well-edited chapters. It does not include alcohol abuse, as this topic is covered in the AMA Manual on Alcoholism.

The text is divided into three sections. The first, entitled "Defining the Problem," speaks to the definition and etiology of drug abuse, classification of the major drugs of abuse, a discussion of patterns of drug abuse throughout the years, and an interesting review of physician attitudes toward drug abuse. The second section, "Clinical Problems and Procedures," covers methods of screening for drug abuse in a general patient population, the medical management of drug reactions, clinical complications of