A pharmacological view of narcotic addiction and alcoholism, or sedative addiction, serves as a basis for the further examination of these complex illnesses. The disease called alcoholism (sedativism) consists, however, of much more than just a chronic or periodic addiction to a sedative drug. The urgent need to understand the psychological and societal parameters of this illness is underscored by the likelihood that alcoholism represents the major factor in the cause of death of young adults (<45 years) in the United States today. Its further role as a carcinogen is only recently achieving adequate examination.
Presented at the Alcohol and Cancer Workshop, October 23 and 24, 1978, Bethesda, Md.