Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

  • Randolph J. Canterbury


One of the greatest public health problems in the United States today is alcoholism and drug abuse. Alcoholism alone is responsible for more morbidity than all the cancers and respiratory diseases combined. The lifetime incidence of alcoholism has been estimated at approximately 10% for men and 3% for women. There is a strong familial trend for the disease evidenced by the two times or greater risk for the identical twin of an alcoholic to share the disease as compared to a fraternal twin. Adoption studies demonstrate a fourfold increase in the incidence of alcoholism in children of alcoholic biological parents adopted at birth as compared to adopted children of nonalcoholic biological parents.1,2 Not only is the disease a major one today, but its prevalence appears to be increasing. It is estimated that the consumption of alcohol in the United States has increased by 30% during the last 20 years resulting, in the current mean consumption per year by Americans over the age of 14 of 2.75 gallons of absolute ethanol.3


Substance Abuse Substance Abuser Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Alcoholic Patient Blood Alcohol Level 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randolph J. Canterbury
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry and Internal MedicineUniversity of Virginia School of MedicineCharlottesvilleUSA

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