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Monday, February 6, 2012

Through a glass darkly: can we improve clarity about mechanism and aims of medications in drug and alcohol treatments?

The treatment of addiction and dependence on, and misuse of, alcohol and other drugs is one of the largest unmet needs in medicine today, so the development of new treatments is a pressing need. However, we have seen the development and use of different terminologies for different drug addictions, which confuses prescribers, users and regulators alike. Here we try to clarify terminology of treatment models based on the pharmacology of treatment agents. This editorial covers all drugs that are used for their pleasurable effects and which therefore can lead to harmful/hazardous use, dependence and addiction. These include nicotine, alcohol and abused prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, as well as opioids and stimulants.

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