Few subjects elicit such strongly held opinions as narcotic addiction. And few subjects suffer from such a paucity of well-controlled clinical studies. There are, of course, notable exceptions.
For example, O'Donnell, the senior editor of this book, has done extensive follow-up studies of Kentucky addicts.1 Rather than simply giving a "curerate," he has listed a number of carefully defined parameters, such as death-rate of addicts compared to nonaddicts, current addiction status, percent of man-years since hospital discharge addicted to narcotics, etc. One arrives at such figures as the following: 73% had periods of addiction to narcotics and 76% had periods of abstinence from narcotics during the follow-up period.
There is evidence that the situation may be changing rapidly in regard to reliable research. Nevertheless, except for pharmacological studies, the novice in this area must search far for hard facts.
One of the main difficulties has been a series of