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March 14, 1966

The Dole-Nyswander Treatment of Heroin Addiction

Author Affiliations

From the University of Illinois College of Education, Urbana.

JAMA. 1966;195(11):949-950. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100110117032

The Dole-Nyswander treatment of heroin addiction, reported in the Aug 23, 1965, issue of JAMA1 raises many important issues, both medical and sociological, about the treatment of drug addiction in the United States.

First, by their own admission, Drs. Dole and Nyswander are administering massive doses of methadone to known heroin addicts. This goes far beyond anything contemplated in the "British System." The Rolleston Committee Memorandum of 1926 (as well as the more recent Brain Report), which governs the present administration of Britain's Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920, provides that narcotics may be legally administered to addicts by physicians "where it has been... demonstrated that the patient, while capable of leading a useful and relatively normal life, when a certain minimum dose is repeatedly administered, becomes incapable of this when the drug is entirely discontinued."2 Technically, this interpretation is consistent with the Dangerous Drugs Act, because physicians may