Journal of Drug Abuse Open Access

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The Lexicon of Drug Abuse

David V Gauvin, Zachary J Zimmermann and Theodore J Baird

We review the historical changes that occurred as a result of the formation of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence from its 1949 inception at the World Health Organization of the United Nations. Philosophical, scientific, and vernacular changes occurred over the years in response to the growing scientific literature base appearing in peer-reviewed journals. Drug dependencies of all known and popular drugs-of-abuse became the focus of many of the international drug control policy meetings from the early 1960s to today. However, despite the growing body of literature and cumulative knowledge base, there is still no general consensus on the language we use to discuss our science.