The United States Bars the Manufacture of Heroin

Abstract

On April 3rd 1924, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives * met for a hearing introduced by the Hon. Stephen G. Porter, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania, proposing to amend the Acts of 14 January 1914, and 26 May 1922 entitled "The narcotic drugs import and export Act" by the addition of the following sentence:

Details

Pages: 20 to 26
Creation Date: 1953/01/01

The United States Bars the Manufacture of Heroin

On April 3rd 1924, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives [*] met for a hearing introduced by the Hon. Stephen G. Porter, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania, proposing to amend the Acts of 14 January 1914, and 26 May 1922 entitled "The narcotic drugs import and export Act" by the addition of the following sentence:

"Provided,that no crude opium may be imported for the purpose of manufacturing heroin."

It might be of interest to the readers of this special issue of the "Bulletin" to have an account of this hearing, since it gives the main reasons which led Congress to accept the amendment proposed by Mr. Porter.

Before introducing his bill, Mr. Porter sent a series of letters to prominent physicians, judges, city magistrates and police and prison authorities in order to ascertain their views. He did not overlook, as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, the international implications of his proposal.

For many years Mr. Porter had studied the problem of narcotic drugs and drug addiction and in introducing his amendment he explained that he had come to the conviction that heroin was the most dangerous of all the habit-forming drugs, that it was responsible for a large amount of crime, although the medical profession, with a few exceptions, looked upon it as a comparatively useless drug. He pointed out that the Army, the Navy, the Public Health Service, the Veteran's Bureau and the American Medical Association had all condemned its use on the ground that it is entirely too dangerous and had no medical value that cannot be supplied by codein or other drugs.

* When a bill is introduced in either branch of Congress of the United States, the usual practice is to refer the bill to the appropriate Committee of the Senate or of the House of Representatives for consideration. This Committee holds hearings which for the most part are open to the public and at which any persons interested may appear and present arguments either in favour of or against the proposed legislation.

In support of his assertions Mr. Porter introduced extensive written testimony. Moreover, the Committee on Ways and Means heard statements by:

Dr. Rupert Blue, United States Public Health Service,

Sidney W. Brewster, Assistant superintendent and deputy Warden, Reformatory Prison, Hart's Island, New York City,

Dr. Charles W. Richardson, Washington, D. C., and,

Dr. Amos O. Squires, Chief physician, Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, N. Y.

The main reasons given in support of the condemnation of the use of heroin might be summarized as follows:

1. The medical usefulness of heroin is negligible compared with its evil effects; the drug can easily be replaced by one of the other alkaloids of opium with the same therapeutic effects.

In an order dated 2 December 1916, circular letter No. 102 by the Public Health Service, the Surgeon General pointed out that "heroin as a palliative in certain respiratory affections serves no purpose which cannot be accomplished by other agents fully as effectively and without the attendant possibility of great disaster."

On 25 March 1918, the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. McAdoo appointed a committee to investigate the traffic in narcotic drugs. The report of this committee, submitted in June 1919, concluded with the following statement :

"It is the opinion of the committee, based on the results of its investigations, that the medical need for heroin, a derivative of morphine, is negligible compared with the evil effects of the use of this alkaloid, and that it can easily be replaced by one of the other alkaloids of opium with the same therapeutic results, and with less danger of creating habituation."

In 1920 the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service forwarded a questionnaire on heroin to some of the leading physicians and surgeons of the United States. Sixty-six physicians replied to the question as to whether heroin could be replaced in medical science by the substitution of codein or morphine. Of this number 46 voted in the affirmative and 20 in the negative.

Mr. Hawley: "You think that is a fair average of how the medical profession generally would vote, or would there be a stronger opinion in favor of the suppression?''

Dr. Blue: "I think if the facts which have been brought before your committee to-day were generally known, the profession would be pretty nearly unanimously disposed towards its suppression."

Mr. Hawley: "You think they would follow the conclusions of the American Medical Association?"

Dr. Blue: "Yes, Sir."

Dr. Richardson, when giving his testimony before the Committee of the House of Representatives, made reference to a resolution adopted by the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association at its New Orleans' meeting in 1920. Dr. Richardson explained that the House of Delegates was the law-creating body of the American Medical Association which represented at this time 90,000 physicians in the United States. The resolution read "That heroin be eliminated from all medical preparations. And that it should not be administered, prescribed, nor dispensed, and that the importation, manufacture, and sale of heroin should be prohibited in the United States."

Dr. Richardson stated further, answering a question upon what effect heroin produces that can not be obtained by cocaine or morphine, and whether he could name a case where heroin would be used to very great advantage over other derivatives from narcotic drugs, that "Heroin when first introduced was supposed to be an unusually valuable drug in certain conditions, especially where morphine as a sedative was required. For instance, in my work in medicine it was largely used to allay cough - it is very valuable in that work - and in this administration many of us have observed that our patients demanded more of the drug. They were forming the habit, and I want to tell you, that in nearly eight years, I have not written a prescription for heroin." And then, replying to a question as to whether he had found other drugs that would take the place of heroin, he said, "Absolutely. Sometimes they produce headache and nausea, but they have the physiological effect. The only thing about heroin is that it is more pleasant to take." Dr. Richardson explained moreover that, if morphine produced sickness and nausea, there was another derivative of opium, namely codeine, that was "nearly as good as morphia," which could replace heroin.

Dr. Rubert Blue pointed out that the action of the United States Public Health Service was based on the belief that the administration of the drug was dangerous and that the need for a respiratory sedative in medicine could be met by using codeine, where there is less danger of creating habituation.

2. Heroin is a dangerous narcotic drug with pronounced physiological and psychological ill-effects.

Dr. Blue, testifying before the Committee, explained that heroin resembles morphine in its general effects, but acts more strongly on the respiration, and is, therefore, more poisonous. While heroin does not cause constipation, it does undoubtedly create habituation even to a greater degree than any other drug.

It is used chiefly to allay cough in certain diseases. Some authorities claim that in addition to its general effect heroin inflates the personality and exaggerates the ego to a dangerous extent.

He made reference to the opinion of the American Medical Association, as formulated by a committee appointed by that Association to study the narcotic drug situation in 1920.

He then quoted the opinion of a series of physicians:

Dr. Bastedo, of the Medical Department of Columbia University, concludes, after an exhaustive investigation and prolonged study of these drugs, that heroin is not an effective or safe substitute for morphine or codeine.

In a number of tests codeine proved superior in its power to allay cough, to overcome pain, and to promote sleep. Like morphine, heroin is the cause of a vicious habit.

Professor Cushney, of Edinburgh, states that the advantages claimed for heroin (action on respiration) by its advocates, have not been confirmed by an impartial investigation.

The Viennese expert, Professor Knaffl-Lenz says that:

"Heroin is incomparably more poisonous than morphine, and the therapeutic dose is not appreciably smaller than the toxic dose. For this reason, German pharmacologists warned physicians from the beginning against the use of this remedy, and pronounced it to be not indispensable."

It therefore does not satisfy the requirements of a substitute for morphine. He goes on to state that it is much more suitable for abuse than morphine, and produces physical collapse more rapidly than that drug. In view of these facts, heroin has never been used to any great extent in Germany or Austria, and hardly at all in nursing homes and public hospitals in those countries.

Answering the question as to whether the use of heroin shortens life of an addict, that is, as to whether the addict of heroin dies quicker than the addict of morphine, Dr. Blue stated that "the drug being more poisonous," he thought it does shorten the life of an addict more rapidly than would morphine.

The following exchange of views then took place between a Committee member and Dr. Blue:

Mr. Hawley: "Why is it a more dangerous habit-forming drug? What is the physiological reason for that?"

Dr. Blue: "I might enumerate the causes of addiction in reply to that question. In considering that phase of the problem, I would place the excessive production of narcotic drugs, the association with addicts, and persuasion by drug peddlers, as the chief causes."

Mr. Hawley: "Are those the causes that lead to its use?"

Dr. Blue: "Yes. The small dose and bulk facilitate smuggling and secret addiction."

Mr. Hawley: "Why is it the most dangerous habit-forming drug? What is the reason for that?"

Dr. Blue: "It produces physical and mental collapse more rapidly than any other habit-forming drug."

Mr. Hawley: "Does it create an appetite for itself?"

Dr. Blue: "Yes, authorities say that a dangerous drug is one which produces a marked tolerance leading to an increase in dosage, craving for the effects of the drug, and disregard of the disagreeable after-effects. Heroin possesses all of these properties."

It was further explained to the Committee that there was another reason for the popularity of heroin among addicts, i.e., the facility with which it could be taken.

One of the members of the Committee asked a witness whether addicts always snuffed heroin. The following discussion then took place:

Dr. Squires: "No; but it is one of the very frequent ways of using it, by snuffing it. And among the criminals it is no uncommon thing, if they cannot get a hypodermic needle, to take an ordinary pin and poke a hole in their arm and take the heroin and rub it over the hole. We find that very common."

Mr. Dickinson: "Is it ever taken by capsule in the mouth?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes; you can take it internally, hypo-dermically, or snuff it. It is a very convenient drug to take."

Mr. Dickinson: "But you can take it by capsule in the mouth just like morphia?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes, or in tablet form. You can buy the heroin powder and put it in a capsule, or you can have the heroin tablet made."

Mr. Dickinson: "And swallow it?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes."

Mr. Treadway: "In what form is it generally ped-dled?''

Dr. Squires: "In powder. They sell it in powder. They have what they call ‘decks’, heroin put up in so many little powder papers."

Dr. Squires explained also to the Committee that the addict began generally with a small dose and then in-creased it gradually in order to get the same results. He said that some of the addicts took more than they really ought to take, or should take, because they were afraid they would not get enough. According to Dr. Squires, the amount that they took was "really tremendous." He cited cases when the addict took as much as 80 grains a day, the average for an addict being 15 to 20 grains. To the question what was the toxic dose, Dr. Squires answered that this depended on the individual make-up, adding "The medicinal dose is one-twentieth to a sixth of grain. I would hesitate to take a grain, although I might take it and get away with it."

(3) There is a link between heroin addiction and crime.

Early in the Committee's proceedings Mr. Porter made reference to a memorandum in which Dr. Alexander Lambert, of New York, stated that "Heroin cuts off the sense of responsibility in the moral sense much quicker than morphine. It destroys the sense of re sponsibility to the herd. Heroin addicts will more quickly commit crime and with no sense of regret or responsibility for it. The herd instinct is obliterated by heroin, and the herd instincts are the ones which control the moral sense in the sense of responsibility toward others and the environment in general. Heroin obliterates responsibility the same as cocaine, and it makes much quicker the muscular reaction, and therefore is used by criminals to inflate them, because they are not only more daring but their muscular reflexes are quicker."

Moreover, Mr. Porter reported to the Committee that he had written to Mr. William McAdoo, police magistrate of New York, asking for his authorization to quote the following statement:

"We committed last year from this office about 900 drug addicts and I should say that 98 per cent are users of heroin. Very rarely do we run across a case where the addict is taking morphine or cocaine."

And further among one written testimony introduced by Mr. Porter, Dr. Herman N. Bundeson, Commissioner of Health of Chicago, said that "I think criminologists the world over will tell you that the violent crimes are the ones that are committed by heroin addicts."

Dr. Richardson stated during his testimony that "This question of heroin habituation and its production yearly of enormous numbers of new criminals is one of the most important moral questions that is up before the American Government at the present time" and later, speaking about the effects of heroin on addicts, he said: "That is one of the things it does, dethrone their responsibility. It gives them an exalted impression of their own importance, and criminals by using it obtain this result." Dr. Richardson concurred with the observation made by a member of the Committee, that under these circumstances "no business transaction of any kind would be really dependable with heroin addicts."

Dr. Squires explained that at the Sing Sing Prison, prior to 1919, the question of drug addiction was not of the same great concern, as it had been during the last years. In 1917, out of the total number received at the prison, less than four-tenths of one per cent were drug addicts. Prior to 1919, for an average of six years, drug addicts would only equal about 13 a year. In 1920 it increased over 100 per cent over that average. In 1922 it increased over 500 per cent over that average, and in 1923 it increased over 900 per cent. "So to-day, said Dr. Squires, one out of every eleven men who is admitted to Sing Sing prison is a drug addict. They are what you might call criminal drug addicts."

Additional figures were brought before the Committee by Mr. Brewster who said that approximately 60 per cent of the inmates at the reformatory prison at Hart's Island, and 100 per cent of the inmates at Riker's Island, where they go first for the cure, were drug addicts; and about the same proportion at the penitentiary at Hart's Island. At the Woman's Workhouse, Black Wells Island, practically all prostitutes committed were drug addicts. Sixty to 80 per cent of all committed there were drug addicts. Of these drug addicts, from 90 to 95 per cent used heroin.

Data were also submitted to the Committee concerning the Leavenworth and the Atlanta penitentiaries showing the rapid increase in the percentage of prisoners who were drug addicts.

The figures for the Leavenworth penitentiary are as follows:

 

Average population

Prisoners received

Violation drug act

Drug addicts

1914 1,019 463 15 3
1915 1,160 936 15 12
1916 1,664 1,116 48 47
1917 1,677 705 31 29
1918 1,613 1,144 53 50
1919 1,895 1,300 57 72
1920 1,800 1,147 94 64
1921 1,721 1,205 247 64
1922 2,242 1,686 498 263
1923 2,473 1,482 717 299

From 1 July 1923 to 31 October 1923, 417 prisoners were received. Of this number 138 were for violation of the Harrison Narcotic Act and 41 admitted they were habitual users of narcotics.

For the Atlanta penitentiary the figures were as follows:

 

Number of prisoners or inmates in institution for the year

Number of addicts in same year

Per cent

1914 453
-
-
1917 812
-
-
1918 1,216 134 11
1919 1,171 71 6
1920 1,492 128 8
1921 1,508 235 15
1922 1,707 352 20
1923 1,847 336 18

It was pointed out, however, and this was confirmed by other statistics submitted to the Committee that the figures concerning the Leavenworth and Atlanta penitentiaries were higher than those relating to State prisons since the prosecutions of the violations of the Harrison Narcotic Act were tried in the United States courts and the prisoners sent to the above mentioned penitentiaries.

During Dr. Squires' testimony the following discussion took place between him and Mr. Porter:

Mr. Porter: "Pardon an interruption, but the reason they commit the crime is their frenzy to get money with which to buy more drugs, is it not?"

Dr. Squires: "A large percentage of them, yes."

Mr. Porter: "It is not a desire to commit a crime, but the desire to get money with which to buy drugs?"

Dr. Squires: "A large percentage of our men are there for grand larceny, because the taking of the drug is a very expensive luxury."

Mr. Porter: "Do you recall that case in your State where four or five addicts went into a bank and shot the cashier and clerk?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes, of course that is a rather common crime."

Mr. Porter: "They were all addicts?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes, and the drug addict, they tell me, will spend as much as $48 a day to secure these drugs from the drug peddler. The drug is adulterated with sugar or milk, and they have to buy a lot in order to satisfy their craving."

The Chairman: "As I understand it, then, Doctor, they commit crimes in order to get money to buy this drug?"

Dr. Squires: "Not all of them; no, some of them do."

The Chairman: "In some instances they do?" Dr. Squires: "Yes."

The Chairman: "Now, right in that connexion, I would like to ask another question. Do they commit crimes while they are under the influence of the drug - that is, does the drug create such a state of mind that they are more reckless?"

Dr. Squires: "Yes, some of them never would commit the crime if they were not in the state of intoxication due to the drug. Others will take it when they are more themselves, but the craving is there and they will commit the crime in order to get the money in order to satisfy their craving."

Mr. Porter: "Doctor, can you tell the Committee the percentage of the gunmen in New York who commit crimes of violence, who are addicted to the use of drugs ?"

Dr. Squires: "I could not tell you that."

Mr. Porter: "Well, a great many of them are?"

Dr. Squires: "A great many of them are. A man who takes heroin is particularly reckless."

A similar opinion was expressed by Mr. Brewster in the course of his testimony:

Mr. Porter: "Now, from your experience as a criminologist, do you believe that many of the crimes of violence committed in and about New York City are due to addicts who are unable to secure the drugs, and in their frenzy commit these crimes for the purpose of securing money with which to buy drugs?"

Mr. Brewster: "In my opinion, I think there are a large number."

Mr. Porter: "Am I correct in this conclusion? That the purpose of the confirmed criminal in taking heroin before perpetrating a crime of violence is to relieve himself of moral restraint?"

Mr. Brewster: "That is my opinion; and that is also true of cocaine. I would say this, that users of morphine, while they do commit crimes, they are not usually crimes against the person; they are not usually crimes of violence. They are such crimes as theft, forgery, or something along that line. The man who uses heroin is a potential murderer, the same as the cocaine user; he loses all consciousness of moral responsibility, also fear of consequences."

And at another time during his testimony, Mr. Brewster said that in many cases the leaders of the various gangs of gunmen do not use narcotics themselves but when they send out members of the gangs on a crime to commit murder or robbery, they see that they are well "charged" before they go, usually with heroin.

During his testimony Dr. Squires, answering Committee members' questions, defined the state of mind of heroin addicts as follows:

Mr. McLaughlin: "Others who have testified have stated that at more length than you have that the use of heroin induces a criminal state of mind."

Dr. Squires: "It makes them reckless, and it inflates their personality. They are a good deal like a patient with paresis; the world is theirs, as it were. It inflates their personality to the extent that it makes them have a feeling of grandeur."

The Chairman: "And do they in a measure lose their sense of right or wrong?"

Dr. Squires: "They do, indeed. They do not regard the property or person of another. But, as I say, just as you can expect that the influence upon any individual depends upon that individual, the same thing holds true with any drug. There are some people who take heroin and would not commit a crime at all, and there are others that it makes it easy for them to become criminals."

Dr. Squires pointed out further that about 50 per cent of the addicts came back to prison. He confirmed a statement made on a previous occasion that he believed "that a large percentage of the men who are convicted of a crime, who are drug addicts, would not have committed the crime if they had not been influenced by the drug habit." He also confirmed a statement that "probably 75 per cent of the drug users admitted to prisons take heroin."

In the written testimony introduced before the Committee by Mr. Porter a letter of the Department of Health of the City of New York is of particular interest since it confirms the high percentage of heroin addicts among drug addicts and the fact that they acquired it through evil association. The letter is entitled "Should the manufacture of heroin be interdicted'' and reads as follows: "It is our opinion that interdiction is indicated owing to the promiscuous and improper use of this drug by the addict and the rather infrequent use of this drug in general medical practice.

"The narcotic clinic operated to study first-hand drug addiction by the Department of Health of New York City demonstrated that of 7,464 narcotic drug addicts over 90 per cent of them were addicted to the use of heroin.

"In 69 per cent of the total clinic applicants the drug-habit had been acquired through evil associates. The vast proportion of these were all under 30 years of age.

"The recent report of special deputy police Commissioner of New York City regarding three years experience in scrutinizing the "dope" evil is also corroborating, at least statistically.

"Of 9,637 persons arrested in the three past years 6,892 were addicted to heroin or cocaine, singly or combined.

"The average age of the addicts in 1921 was 25 years, while in 1923 it ranged between 27 and 28 years.

"This official, also a physician, also reports that only two per cent of those arrested can trace their addiction to medical treatment. The major causes were found to be "curiosity, morbidity, and criminal association.''

"Hence, we may conclude that 98 per cent of nearly 10,000 drug addicts acquired their vice through curiosity, morbidity, and criminal association and that 71 per cent of the total were users of heroin."

In another written testimony Dr. S. Dana Hubbard states: "... Heroin is the drug used by addicts of over 95 per cent of New York's underworld (criminal classes),according to the statistics of the police and prison statistics, and the unfortunate part of the situation is that less than 1 per cent of these miserable creatures acquire the habit through illnesses.

"...The heroin question is not a medical one, as heroin addicts spring from sin and crime. It is a social problem where the medical and pharmaceutical and allied professions can do much to aid in solving this serious problem.

"Society in general must protect itself from the influence of evil, and there is no greater peril than that of heroin."

In a memorandum quoted by Mr. Porter, Judge Cornelius F. Collins, Justice Court of special sessions, City of New York (December 1918) points out that: "At least one-tenth of the whole of the business of the Court of Special sessions of New York County is made up of drug addicts, those possessing the drug or having dealt in it in some way. This means 10 per cent of all cases coming into our Court, a large part of which do not involve moral turpitude. In addition to the number of these addicts, as such, come quite a large number charged with larceny, assault, unlawful entry, and the like, who are nevertheless addicts, so that it is safe to say that in 20 to 30 per cent of the cases coming into the Court of special sessions involving moral turpitude the culprits are given to drug addiction in some form or other."

(4) Action taken by Federal or International Bodies and the Medical Profession against the use of heroin.

During the Committee's discussions Dr. Richardson answering to an observation stating that it appeared that the movement against the use of heroin actually started in a Federal Department, the United States Public Health Service said: "Yes; primarily, but the medical profession was awakened to the necessity.

The Public Health Service started it, but the Public Health Service made more headway with it simply because they could control their men more directly than the medical men in general control their patients." It was then established that the action of the United States Public Health Service taken in December 1916 had been followed four years later by the resolution of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association at its New Orleans' meeting in 1920 referred to above. The circular directing the discontinuance of the use of heroin was to the following effect:

"In view of the fact that the great increase in the use of heroin at present constitutes a considerable menace to public health in the United States, it is desired to set an example and to signalize to the general public the danger which may accrue from its use. Heroin as a palliative in certain respiratory affections serves no purpose which can not be accomplished by other agents fully as effectively and without the attendant possibility of grave disaster.

"You are therefore directed to discontinue dispensing heroin and its salts at relief stations of the service, and to send all the stock of these drugs now on hand to the purveying depot, 1414, Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D. C., either by parcel post or by freight on Government bill of lading.

"Rupert BLUE, Surgeon General."

Three years later, on 29 December 1923, General M. W. Ireland, Surgeon General of the United States Army, issued an order that heroin should cease to be given to members of the Medical Corps of the United States Army, and all offices and posts where heroin or its derivatives or preparations were held were ordered to return it to the depots.

On 2 February 1924, the Surgeon General of the United States Navy, Admiral Stilt issued an order stating that "further issues of heroin to the United States naval service have been prohibited."

Finally, on 10 March 1924, George E. Ijams, Assistant Director of the Medical and Rehabilitation Service of the United States Veterans' Bureau sent a circular stating that "This bureau does not approve of the administration of heroin to any of its beneficiaries. This decision is based on the best medical authority. Heroin shall not be issued in future to any member or unit of the Veterans' Bureau and such stocks as may be on hand shall be forwarded to the nearest supply depot."

Dr. Rupert Blue stated that the suppression of dangerous and unnecessary drugs is interesting the world, as reflected in the action of the International Office of Public Health at Paris. In April 1923, upon the suggestion of the American delegate to the Office, this representative body of medical men issued through the French Foreign Office a circular letter to the signatory powers requesting information relative to the advisability of suppressing heroin. Up to October 1923 replies received which indicated that the majority of the governments would vote in the affirmative. The Italian delegate presented the results of the inquiry made in Italy. Of 58 physicians to whom the questionnaire had been sent, 30 voted in favour of the suppression and 18 against.

The question of the suppression of heroin had also been considered by a committee composed of members of the Advisory Committee on traffic in Opium and other dangerous drugs, and the Health Committee of the League of Nations. In 1923 this Committee adopted the following resolution:

"In view of the fact that a question is being raised heroin, the sub-committee thought it might give its as to the possibility of prohibiting the manufacture of opinion from the medical point of view and might state that the Mixed Sub-Committee, composed of technical experts, agrees, having regard to the small therapeutic value and harmful effects of diacetyl-morphine, to advocate the prohibition of its manufacture."

(5) Barring the manufacture of heroin would strengthen the position of the United States in International Narcotic Conferences.

It is of universal knowledge that the first step in the international campaign against narcotic drugs took place in 1909 when an International Opium Commission met in Shanghai on the initiative of the United States Government.

The fact, however, that for a certain time the domestic legislation in the field of narcotic drugs remained behind the generous intentions of the United States Government thwarted the action of this Government in international gatherings relating to narcotic drugs.

Thus, rendering account of the 1912 Opium Conference at The Hague, Mr. Hamilton Wright wrote:

"There is no doubt that during the sittings of the International Opium Conference at The Hague, the American delegation was placed in a somewhat embarrassing position owing to the neglect of the Congress to pass legislation which had been urged upon it by the Executive, aimed to perfect the opium-exclusion act of February 1909, and to bring under efficient control the export and interstate commerce in opium and other habit-forming drugs. Both formally, and informally, it was pointed out to the American delegates at that conference that the other nations could have little hope for a final suppression of the opium and allied evils by international action so long as the United States, which had initiated the movement, failed to adopt the standard of national control in vogue in several European nations and in Japan."*

* The International Opium Conference. Hamilton Wright. The American Journal of International Law, vol. 7, p. 135, 1913;

It was apparently bearing in mind this situation that Mr. Porter urged the Committee to approve his bill before the International Opium Conference which had to convene in November 1924 in Geneva. Mr. Porter stated that:

"The Resolution passed by Congress 26 February 1923, declared that the true intent and meaning of the Hague Opium convention was that production of the raw materials should be limited to strictly medicinal and scientific needs. That had always been controverted by certain nations owning colonies in the Orient. At Geneva we got them to accept our construction. The resolution passed in the last Congress is therefore the accepted construction. In November we return to Geneva with a plan to enforce the convention in accordance with this construction and interpretation."

And answering to a question of a member of the Committee as to whether the passage of the bill was an essential factor in connexion with that plan, Mr. Porter added "Yes. In case this bill is passed the United States will be in a much stronger position to urge other nations to do likewise."

A similar view was expressed by Mr. William Mc Adoo, Police magistrate of New York in the following statement which was conveyed to the Committee: "I am quite convinced that if the United States will distinctly prohibit the manufacture of heroin, or a similar drug under any name, other nations will follow the example or else have to tacitly admit that the drug is made for addicts and not for medicinal purposes."

* * *

Almost no testimonial was raised against the bill, except for a few letters emanating from physicians, but, as the Chairman of the Committee pointed out "none of the manufacturers has asked for a hearing, and none of them has expressed himself to me or to the clerk in opposition to the bill."

Upon conclusion of the hearings, the Committee reported unanimously in favour of the proposed legislation, and, by an Act of Congress approved 7 June 1924, (the vote in both Houses of Congress being unanimous) the importation of opium for the manufacture of heroin was prohibited in the United States.