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West J Med. 1990 May;152(5):613-6.

Prescription drug abuse. Patient, physician, and cultural responsibilities.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, School of Medicine, San Francisco.


The abuse of prescription drugs is one facet of America's drug problem that is particularly complex because access to prescription drugs must be maintained for some purposes and contained for others. The American Medical Association has sponsored two national conferences to grapple with the confluence of the medical access to prescription drugs and a national drug abuse control policy. One result has been a classification of misprescribing physicians that blames physicians for prescription drug abuse. The conceptualization and public policy response to prescription drug abuse have been largely shaped by the emotional response to the epidemic of crack cocaine and other nonprescription drug abuse. A new perspective is needed--one that accommodates the evolving role of physicians in society, the life-style choices that physicians enable in their patients, and the respective responsibilities of both physicians and patients in physician-patient transactions.

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