Medicalization of Psychoactive Substance Use and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Any attempt at medicalization of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other psychoactive substances of abuse in the United States is likely to encounter strong opposition by many responsible physicians. Such opposition would be grounded in their perception that medicalization would be contrary to the purposes of medical practice. Most physicians would, however, be willing to consider prescribing such substances for pathological users if such prescribing took place within the context of a fully developed doctor-patient relationship in which the patient recognized the dependency as undesirable and wanted to cooperate with the physician in a mutual effort to end the dependency or, if this were not feasible, to mitigate its destructive effects.

Author(s): Robert J. Levine

Download the Article

Read on JSTOR

Volume 69, Issue 4 (pages 623–640)
Published in 1991