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Drug dependence I: definitions, aetiology and prevalence

Abstract

Before discussing the treatment of drug dependence it is helpful to define the terms used and to examine some aspects of aetiology and prevalence. Dependence on more than one drug is common. We have already discussed treatment for the alcoholic1 and for the user of cannabis;2 this issue and the next will deal mainly with dependence on opiates, barbiturates and amphetamines.

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