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Use of Alcohol and Opium by the Meo of Laos
JOSEPH WESTERMEYER
Am J Psychiatry 1971;127:1019-1023.
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Instructor, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Family Practice and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Medicine. University Hospitals, Minneapolis, Minn. 55455

1971, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Understanding the use of addictive and other psychoactive drugs should be attempted in a variety of frameworks. In this study of alcohol and opium use among the Meo of Laos the author demonstrates that alcohol is employed within rigid social constraints and that alcoholism as such does not occur. Opium, a cash crop, is found in every home; many Meo smoke it, and a few become addicted to it. Studies such as this, using rigorous field methods, demonstrate the importance of the society-individual-drug triad.

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ethanol ; opium
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