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drug addiction Psychological or physical dependence on a drug. Physical addiction is often manifested by symptoms of withdrawal. Long-term drug use often produces tolerance. Physical addiction has only been medically proven for narcotics (such as heroin), depressants (such as barbiturates or alcohol) and some stimulants (such as nicotine). Other drugs, such as hallucinogens or hashish, are not thought to be physically addictive, but can produce psychosis or paranoia. Two of the most common addictions are alcohol and nicotine, since these are easily available. Unlike narcotics, alcohol is physically harmful, especially to the brain and liver, and cigarette smoking annually accounts for more than 100,000 premature deaths in the United Kingdom alone. In comparison, addiction to ‘hard’ drugs (such as heroin or cocaine) is not common, but drug-related crime makes up a significant percentage of crime statistics in many countries.
198. Drug Addiction
- Confessions of an English Opium-Eater Thomas de Quincy tells of his opium addiction, his nightmarish experiences, and the sufferings of withdrawal. [Br. Lit.: Haydn & Fuller, 155]
- Holmes, Sherlock the famous sleuth, addicted to cocaine. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 473]
- Man with the Golden Arm, The Chicagoan Frankie Machine, a failure, takes to morphine, murders his supplier, and hangs himself. [Am. Lit.: Benét, 632]
- Tyrone, Mary addicted to morphine after childbirth, thanks to her husband’s choice of a quack doctor. [Am. Lit.: O’Neill Long Day’s Journey into Night in Sobel, 431]
- Valley of the Dolls portrays self-destruction of drug addicted starlets. [Am. Lit.: Valley of the Dolls ]
DRUG ADDICTION. SeeSubstance Abuse .