Drug Abuse pp 35-47 | Cite as

Pharmacological Factors in Drug Dependence

  • Harris Isbell
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 20)


I would like to state my bias as being that of internal medicine, pharmacology and 30 years of association with opiate type dependence in the United States. I will now attempt the impossible by trying to discuss the pharmacological factors in drug dependence in ten minutes. This is impossible because there is such a large number of different substances with markedly varying chemical structures, and markedly varying pharmacological actions that are used non-medically and frequently to a degree causing dependence. Some of the most important drugs are listed in the following Table in which substances causing specific types of dependence are grouped together regardless of chemical configuration. Because of the diversity and number of kinds of drugs of dependence, the WHO Expert Committee on Addiction Producing Drugs (1964) defined drug dependence as “a state arising from repeated administration of a drug on a periodic or continuous basis.” “The characteristics of such a state will vary with the agent involved and the characteristics must be made clear by designating the particular type of drug dependence in each specific case; for example, drug dependence of the morphine type, of the barbiturate type, of the amphetamine type, etc.” (Eddy, et al. 1965)


Drug Dependence Physical Dependence Abstinence Syndrome Tissue Tolerance Pharmacological Factor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harris Isbell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Kentucky Medical CenterLexingtonUSA

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