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December 1966

A 12-Year Follow-Up of New York Narcotic AddictsIII. Some Social and Psychiatric Characteristics

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(6):599-609. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730180039006

IN THE PAST few years there have been four important books on urban narcotic addiction; these books have been comprehensive in scope and have offered a broad overview of the field.1-4 As a group the books effectively review most of the known data about addiction; but in doing so they point up how little is known about the natural history of addicted individuals.

In this paper, data from a 12-year follow-up of 100 New York addicts will be focused to illustrate those characteristics that may differentiate addiction from other psychiatric syndromes. The use of longitudinally gathered data permits the addict to be conceptualized simultaneously as a delinquent and as a psychologically disturbed individual. No attempt will be made to review all existing knowledge, but rather only selected facets of postwar urban heroin addiction will be discussed. The psychodynamics of addicts will be discussed only where the data suggest

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