Areca nut-abuse liability, dependence and public health

Addict Biol. 2002 Jan;7(1):133-8. doi: 10.1080/13556210120091509.


To define a dependence syndrome may convey attention upon a public health problems hitherto relatively ignored. It may, however, stigmatize substance use, especially when western diagnostic criteria are applied to essentially culture-bound substances. However, when the pattern of use of a substance results in significant personal harm, then whether dependence exists or not is less important than developing an appropriate response, if its use is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Such is the case with areca nut, the fourth most commonly used drug in the world after tobacco, alcohol and caffeine. In this paper I will explore its use and properties with respect to its abuse and dependence liability and consider the associated implications for public health.

MeSH terms

  • Areca / adverse effects*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Ethnicity / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • United Kingdom