Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Drug, Set and Setting

In my third Background Briefing, I point out and provide evidence of the fact that the effects of a drug are not just dependent on the drug itself, but also on personal factors (set) and the setting. Wired In now describes this as the ‘drug, person and their environmental context.’

In this article, I also describe one of most amazing pieces of research in the substance use field. A large-scale study revealed that 10 – 15% of US servicemen had become addicted to heroin during the Vietnam War. However, only 6% those veterans who participated in the study became re-addicted to the drug in the US, despite half of this population initially trying the drug on their return.

'This research contradicted the commonly held belief that heroin addiction is an inevitable consequence of using the drug, and that once it has taken hold it is virtually impossible for the user to give up the habit. It provides a good example of the ways in which changes in social circumstances can have a powerful effect on the way people use drugs.’

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