Conclusions

Whether a person will self-administer a drug depends on a number of factors in addition to the pharmacological properties of the drug, the dose administered and its route of administration. These factors include the environment in which the drug is taken and the nature of the previous experience following administration of another drug with similar properties. With some exceptions, any mammal given continuous access to a drug of dependence will show a pattern of self-administration which is similar to that found in man. This suggests that a pre-existing psychopathology is not a prerequisite for the initial, or even continual, drug use, and that drugs of dependence have powerful reinforcing properties whether or not they cause physical dependence.

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