Until quite recently, concern with narcotics addicts in the United States was largely limited to law-enforcement officials. Within the past decade, however, there has been developing an increasing interest in this group of patients on the part of the medical profession. The social problems stemming from the use of drugs by large numbers of young people have also quickened the interest and concern of the general public. While the criminal behavior that usually accompanies presentday addiction is rightly the province of law-enforcement agencies and the concern of the public, it must be emphasized that drug addiction per se is a medical problem which deserves the serious and creative attention of the medical profession.
Dependence on drugs stems from many factors which contribute in varying degrees to an eventual behavioral pattern. These factors include social and economic status, ethnic origin, housing, employment, the law, problems of urban living, biological and physiological