Among drugs prescribed by physicians in the United States, the minor tranquilizers lead the list, and diazepam (Valium) is a current favorite.1 Indeed, our people have been characterized in news stories as a drug-taking society, without reference to the various "street" drugs obtained illicitly.
An earlier editorial (225:517-518, 1973) commented on a study by Parry and his colleagues that demonstrated that American usage of pychoactive drugs is consonant with that of industrialized nations of Europe. The authors based their data on lengthy personal interviews (60 to 90 minutes) that sought information from persons 18 to 74 years old about their use of psychoactive drugs during the preceding year. About one third of all adults had used some type of psychotherapeutic agent, and the usage rate was substantially higher among women than among men. Minor tranquilizers were the most often prescribed drugs, and most prescriptions were written by general practitioners