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ARTICLE |

Addictive potential of drugs is concern in pain relief

Beverly J. Montgomery
JAMA. 1978;240(15):1571-1575. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290150017004.
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ABSTRACT

Many physicians and patients fear more frequent and larger dosages of analgesics as recommended by Robert N. Butler, MD, because they believe there is always the chance that the patient may become addicted, especially when narcotics are involved. Heroin in particular is feared.

Yet claims of heroin's addictive potential may be exaggerated, according to Robert L. DuPont, MD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. DuPont is one of the few individuals who has done research on addiction associated with heroin usage. His studies indicate that even among long-term street users only about 10% become addicts. (This does not mean DuPont supports medical use of heroin. "We still need to know first if it has a therapeutic effect," he says.) Lee Robins, PhD, of Washington University, found similar small rates of heroin addiction in working with drug-using veterans of the Vietnam War.

In some of his writings, Robert G. Twycross,

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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