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Chemical Dependence

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Elnora Rhodes; Department of Health and Public Policy, American College of Physicians, 655 Fifteenth Street, N.W., Suite 425; Washington, DC 20005.

© 1985 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(3):405-408. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-3-405
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Chemical Dependence refers to both physical and psychic reliance on a chemical and encompasses alcoholism and drug addiction. Three types of drugs for which chemical dependence often occurs are social drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (The College will address the public health concerns related to cigarette smoking in other documents); licit drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription; and illicit drugs. Dependence on these substances constitutes a serious public health problem warranting increased attention, prevention, and treatment by physicians. Problem use (defined to include abuse, misuse, and overuse), other than dependence, of these drugs also constitutes a significant public health


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