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Be More Precise With Terminology

November 1, 2006
by root
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The July/August 2006 issue includes the following cover headline: “Restore Balance in the Meth-Impaired Client.” The use of abbreviations should be discouraged in addiction medicine. Is the “meth” in the headline referring to methadone or meth-amphetamine? In general, the addiction vocabulary includes too many slang terms, such as “clean” and “dirty” urines, or “hard-core” addict.

If the field of addiction medicine is to be recognized as a legitimate medical specialty, our vocabulary will have to dispense with “street” terms, and we will need to be clear and specific in what we say and write. Edwin A. Salsitz, MD, FASAM, New York City