Most doctors are probably uncomfortably aware of the old joke that an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than his doctor. But how would one define a drug addict? Because of the taboo and illegal nature of drug misuse, if a similar doctor-based definition were coined, even in jest, it would cause a degree of consternation and indignation among the profession. However, the evidence that doctors abuse certain substances, in particular opiates and tranquillisers (Hughes et al, 1992), more commonly than the general population is well established.
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