Archive for category Drug and Narcotic Control'

State and Local Narcotic Control

Early local and state narcotic controls in the United States grew out of the danger perceived by those American communities that were directly affected. Pennsylvania, the home of leading morphine manufacturers, enacted an antimorphine law as early as 1860. Two decades later Ohio passed a law against smoking opium, and in 1897, twelve years after the way had been prepared by pharmaceutical research for massive production of the compound, Illinois enacted a law against cocaine. (Laws of Pennsylvania of the Session of 1860, Act no. 374, Title I, Section 70, “Selling Poisons,” p. 401; Ohio Laws: 1885-1887, vol. 82, p. 49, passed 6 Feb. 1885. The Illinois law against cocaine was approved 11 June 1897 (Laws of Illinois [1897], p. 138). It allowed cocaine sale only on a physician’s or dentist’s prescription and refilling was prohibited.) Soon thereafter, as the activity of the American Pharmaceutical Association between 1901 and 1903 suggests, efforts within the states to control opiates and cocaine rapidly reached across the nation. Cocaine’s euphoric and stimulant qualities, as well as its association with crime and with a feared and repressed minority put it at the top of any list of outlawed substances. These characteristics Read more […]

The Usphs And Martin Wilbert

In 1912, when the Hague Convention spurred federal agitation for a national antinarcotic law, the United States Public Health Service looked into state laws regarding poisons and habit-forming drugs. The PHS had little influence within the federal government, but it was occasionally called upon to assist in a modest way centers of power such as the State Department; it was watched by the health professions lest it depart from its traditional role of combating communicable disease, treating merchant seamen, and gathering and disseminating information. With impetus gained from the national movement to establish a department of health with cabinet rank, the Public Health Service gradually expanded. From the Marine Hospital Service founded in 1798 it became in 1902 the Marine Hospital and Public Health Service, and in 1912 the Public Health Service. The Hygienic Laboratory, established in the late nineteenth century in New York City to perform some rudimentary scientific procedures, also grew and by 1904 was housed in its own building in Washington. Eventually the Hygienic Laboratory became the National Institutes of Health. Martin I. Wilbert, a pharmacist from Philadelphia, was chosen to be a technical assistant in Read more […]

Local Control: Jacksonville’s Narcotic Clinic

In Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Charles E. Terry established a style of addiction control which within ten years became the most controversial in America. Dr. Terry, a dedicated public health officer who took an increasingly prominent role in the debate over narcotic control, became a leading exponent of the medical approach. He worked chiefly within the framework of professional or philanthropic health organizations such as the American Public Health Association and the Bureau of Social Hygiene. Terry eventually compiled a thousand-page anthology of information on narcotics. (Charles E. Terry and Mildred Pellens, The Opium Problem (New York: Bureau of Social Hygiene, 1928; reprint ed., Montclair, N.J.; Patterson Smith, 1970). Terry (1878-1945) received his M.D. degree from the University of Maryland in 1903 and later became the first full-time health officer of Jacksonville (1910-17). After serving as medical editor of Delineator magazine, he became executive secretary of the Committee on Drug Addictions formed in 1921, funded by the Bureau of Social Hygiene, a private research organization supported by such philanthropists as Paul M. Warburg and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He prepared The Opium Problem with the aid of Read more […]

State Control: The Tennessee Narcotic Act Of 1913

Tennessee’s revised narcotic law came into effect more than a year before the Harrison Act. Its most distinctive feature was the registration of addicts to enable them to have opiate prescriptions refilled “to minimize suffering among this unfortunate class” and to keep “the traffic in the drug from getting into underground and hidden channels.” ” Like Dr. Terry, Tennessee’s State Food and Drug Commissioner Lucius P. Brown believed that physicians were the leading culprits in causing addiction. He warned that “a very large proportion of the medical profession has either lost sight of the fact that the habitual use of an opiate produces a true disease, or never knew it.” The withdrawal symptoms, he said, were a specific disease, possibly fatal if not forestalled by the readministration of opiates. In this conviction he was following information, readily obtained from journals and textbooks, that was the chief argument for the medical approach toward addiction — it was a true disease, not a mere habit conquerable by exertion of the will. Brown outlined the state’s options: either provide opiates to indigent addicts to prevent suffering and perhaps death, or provide “state curative treatment for all indigent addicts, Read more […]

New York State Antinarcotic Legislation

Accredited as a world authority on narcotics, Charles B. Towns proposed his own antinarcotic law to the New York Legislature in early 1913 and had it introduced by Senator John J. Boylan. Towns’s bill had been endorsed by the Kings County Medical Society.From the well established, Towns had little trouble (His hospital acquired “medical consultants” like Alexander Lambert and Samuel W. Lambert who at the time was dean of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia); Smith Ely Jelliffe was founder of the Psychoanalytic Review and co-author (with William Alanson White) of the leading American text of psychiatry; the other consultants to the Towns hospital were Drs. George Montague Swift and James Watt Fleming), but from the rank and file medical man who was then beginning to organize to better his economic and social status, he evoked hostility and resentment. The general practitioner’s distaste for Towns and his antinarcotic bill is apparent in some provisions of his proposal which were too extreme to be approved in 1913. Some elements were legitimate attempts to require that a prescription include the address and legible name of the prescriber, prohibit fraudulent professional credentials, and monitor transactions Read more […]

Marihuana and the FBN

Anslinger became the first Commissioner of Narcotics in 1930, although he had had only sporadic contact with narcotic control.1 Nonetheless, his more than ten years of government experience affected his attitude toward law enforcement and addicts. Anslinger was born in 1892 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. His father worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and while Anslinger went to high school and then to Pennsylvania State College, he also worked for the railroad during the summers, doing maintenance and landscaping and occasionally investigating suspicious incidents for the railroad’s captain of police. Later, when the police captain became the state fire marshal, he offered Anslinger a job compiling statistics and investigating instances of suspected arson. In 1917, after the United States declared war on Germany, Anslinger was employed in Washington in the Ordinance Division of the War Department, where his chief task was to oversee government contracts. Ordinance officers were unpopular in Washington; the public expected young men to fight abroad and, when the opportunity came, Anslinger volunteered to the State Department which was looking for reliable German-speaking employees to work in Holland. He recalls being assigned Read more […]

International Anti-Narcotic Activities, 1930-1936

In late 1929 the League of Nations called for a new conference to consider how manufactured drugs might be better controlled.7 The State Department wanted to participate but it faced Representative Porter’s objection that participation might imply that the United States had shifted its stand from demanding a limit on raw production to the secondary issue of manufacturing, the issue which had led to Porter’s departure from Geneva in 1925. Finally, Porter was persuaded to permit John T. Caldwell of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs to be present at the Advisory Committee meetings in early 1930 which would consider a preliminary conference to be held in London later that year — provided that Caldwell took no part in the preparations. At the preliminary conference in October and November eleven nations discussed a plan for estimating their requirements for manufactured narcotic drugs and a means by which the manufacturers could divide the market. Although agreement was not reached then, the following May, at the Geneva Conference on the Limitation of the Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs, fifty-seven nations agreed on a Convention. The American delegation consisted of Caldwell as chairman, two other federal officials Read more […]

Federal Control Of Cannabis, 1906-1920

Social reformers successfully initiated federal restrictions on cannabis along with alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and chloral hydrate in the first decade of this century. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required that any quantity of cannabis, as well as several other dangerous substances, be clearly marked on the label of any drug or food sold to the public.8 Early drafts of federal antinarcotic legislation, which finally emerged as the Harrison Act in 1914, also repeatedly listed the drug along with opiates and cocaine. Cannabis, however, never survived the legislative gauntlet, probably because of the pharmaceutical industry’s opposition. At that time, and for at least a decade longer, the drug trades saw no reason why a substance used chiefly in corn plasters, veterinary medicine, and nonintoxicating medicaments should be so severely restricted. Not even the reformers claimed, in the pre-World War I hearings and debates over a federal antinarcotic act, that cannabis was a problem of any major significance in the United States. Congress rarely heard any witness defend opiates or cocaine, but during the January 1911 hearings on a federal antinarcotic law before the House Ways and Means Committee, the National Wholesale Read more […]

Rising Domestic Fear Of Cannahis, 1920-1934

Fear of cannabis, or marihuana, as it was beginning to be known, was minimal throughout most of the nation in the 1920s. Nevertheless it still concerned the federal government. For example, in the January 1929 authorization of the two narcotic centers for the treatment of addicted federal prisoners, the law specifically defined “habit-forming narcotic drugs” to include “Indian hemp” and made habitual cannabis users, along with opium addicts, eligible for treatment.16 Although there seem to have been few cannabis users transferred to Lexington and Fort Worth, it is significant that congressional worry about cannabis continued after passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and clearly was present before the Bureau of Narcotics was established in 1930. In areas with concentrations of Mexican immigrants, who tended to use marihuana as a drug of entertainment or relaxation, the fear of marihuana was intense. During the 1920s Mexican immigration, legal and illegal, rapidly increased into the region from Louisiana to California and up to Colorado and Utah. Mexicans were useful in the United States as farm laborers and, as the economic boom continued, they traveled to the Midwest and the North where jobs in factories and sugar-beet Read more […]

Prelude To Federal Marihuana Control, 1935-1937

During its first few years, the bureau, as judged from its annual reports, minimized the marihuana problem and felt that control should be vested in the state governments.24 The report published in 1932 commented, This abuse of the drug is noted among the Latin-American or Spanish-speaking population. The sale of cannabis cigarettes occurs to a considerable degree in States along the Mexican border and in cities of the Southwest and West, as well as in New York City, and, in fact, wherever there are settlements of Latin Americans. A great deal of public interest has been aroused by newspaper articles appearing from time to time on the evils of the abuse of marijuana or Indian hemp, and more attention has been focused upon specific cases reported of the abuse of the drug than would otherwise have been the case. This publicity tends to magnify the extent of the evil and lends color to an inference that there is an alarming spread of the improper use of the drug, whereas the actual increase in such use may not have been inordinately large. In 1932 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics strongly endorsed the new Uniform State Narcotic Act and repeatedly stressed that the problem could be brought under control if all the states Read more […]