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Controlled Drinking and the Treatment of Alcoholism

Irving Maltzman, PhD
JAMA. 1987;257(7):927. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390070047013.
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To the Editor.—  Timothy F. Kirn's article entitled "Advances in Understanding of Alcoholism Initiate Evolution in Treatment Programs"1 was most interesting. In his effort to present a balanced picture, he includes interviews with Alan Marlatt and Reid Hester. These interviews contain several points in need of clarification. In the references, an article from Science is placed between a book by Sobell and Sobell2 and one by Polich et al3 and therefore a mistaken impression is given that all three citations are in agreement. Sobell and Sobell purport to show striking evidence in support of controlled drinking by physically dependent, gamma alcoholics. Polich et al also purport to provide evidence supporting controlled drinking. However, the citation to the article from Science, whose authors are not identified, is to an article by Pendery et al4 that shows that the Sobells' patients purportedly trained to control their drinking were

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