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Amphetamine and Other Non-opioid Drug Users Attending a Special Drug Dependence Clinic

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 06 May 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:322
  1. R. Gardner,
  2. P. H. Connell


    This paper reports the findings in 104 users of nonopioid drugs (mainly amphetamines) attending a drug dependence clinic in London between March 1968 and February 1969 in relation to demographic characteristics, forensic, psychiatric, and medical histories, clinical groups, management policy, and the use of biochemical tests for the presence of drugs in the urine.

    Nearly one-third gave a history of starting amphetamine misuse while at school (13·5%) or within a year of leaving school (16·3%). Amphetamine psychosis had occurred in 35% of cases and was a more frequent complication of intravenous than of oral abuse. Except for a small proportion of older patients who have become dependent on drugs originally prescribed for therapeutic purposes, “maintenance therapy” is most unlikely to be effective in the treatment of amphetamine dependence. Nevertheless, about one-quarter of the younger patients in this series had obtained prescriptions from general practitioners after starting their drug abuse illicitly. There is a strong case for the compulsory notification under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) of persons dependent on amphetamines.