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September 6, 1965

Alcoholism: Its Facets and Phases

JAMA. 1965;193(10):856. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090100102050

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Has any substance been productive of more pleasure and misery than alcohol? Can we compare its worth as tranquilizer, social lubricant, or euphoriant, with its role in causing lost jobs, unhappy homes, neglected children? How can we diminish the harm it causes without prohibiting its use to the majority who enjoy it safely? Although a relatively small proportion of those who drink do so to excess, it is estimated that there may be 5 million such alcoholics in the United States. Nobody knows how best to help them. Many feel that this is a medical problem, but most doctors dislike trying to treat heavy drinkers. A few physicians have worked very hard to help alcoholics and to investigate better ways of so doing.

For years Marvin Block, MD, has been one of the leaders in this field. Block discusses, in terms suitable for lay readers of moderate intelligence, the entire

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