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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

III.7 - Concepts of Addiction: The U.S. Experience

from Part III - Medical Specialties and Disease Prevention
Addiction has remained a vague concept in spite of efforts to define it with physiological and psychological precision. This chapter talks about opium, morphine and the hypodermic syringe, addiction and its treatment, cocaine, the U.S. response to addiction, origin of international control, the and establishment of an international bureaucracy. Opiate addiction is characterized chiefly by the repeated use of the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms, which include muscle and joint pains, sweating, and nausea. Mithradatum, theriac, and philonium are three ancient and renowned medicines that contained opium, among other substances, when compounded during the early centuries of the Roman Empire. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meets annually to review the drug problem and make recommendations on policy to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In its worldwide campaign against addiction, the United States early in the twentieth century asserted that the use of narcotics for anything other than strictly medical treatment was dangerous and morally wrong.
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The Cambridge World History of Human Disease
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053518
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