Illicit traffic in narcotics, barbituratesand amphetamines in the United States


The Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America directed at the close of the first session of the 84th Congress the appointment of a sub-committee for the purpose of making an investigation and study of illicit trafficking in narcotics, barbiturates and amphetamines in the United States, with particular attention to be paid to a study of the effect of the so-called Boggs law, Public Law 255 of the 82nd Congress, on the illicit narcotics traffic.1


Pages: 13 to 18
Creation Date: 1956/01/01

Illicit traffic in narcotics, barbituratesand amphetamines in the United States

Report to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America from the Sub-Committee on Narcotics

The Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America directed at the close of the first session of the 84th Congress the appointment of a sub-committee for the purpose of making an investigation and study of illicit trafficking in narcotics, barbiturates and amphetamines in the United States, with particular attention to be paid to a study of the effect of the so-called Boggs law, Public Law 255 of the 82nd Congress, on the illicit narcotics traffic.[1]

The report of the sub-committee is based on a study conducted in the main for fifteen days of public hearings in Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Ky.; New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago.

The editors of the Bulletin present herewith in extenso some chapters of this report, other chapters having been omitted because they would overlap with what has been published of the Report of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, which is given supra, or with the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Narcotics to the President of the United States which was published in Volume VIII, No. 2 of the Bulletin, q.v., for instance, the chapters: Background information relating to the drug problem, the parts on drug addiction, legislation, enforcement, hospitalization and rehabilitation, international control.



With respect to narcotics, the sub-committee is convinced that the Boggs law providing for minimum mandatory sentences has brought about a considerable improvement in the fight to stamp out the illicit trafficking. Prior to the enactment of the Boggs law, the average sentence for violations of the narcotics laws was 18 months. At the present time, the average sentence is 43 months. The evidence which we obtained, however, also indicates that about 80% of narcotics convictions now are of first offenders. Although present law now imposes a minimum mandatory sentence on a first offender of at least two years and up to five years, it also permits probation or suspension of sentence in the case of the first offender. This possibility of suspension or probation for the first offender has resulted in the big-time operators who have previous narcotics convictions remaining in the background. They operate through anti-socially inclined persons who have never been convicted of a violation of the narcotics laws and who are willing to risk apprehension, particularly in those areas of the country where the judges are inclined to impose minimum or suspended sentences and where probation is easily obtained.

The sub-committee has concluded that not only should probation and suspension be removed in the case of the first-offender trafficker but also the maximum sentence should be increased from five to twenty years. Enforcement officers have reported certain weaknesses in present laws and have called the attention of the sub-committee to certain court decisions which have tended to vitiate the effectiveness of existing federal enforcement legislation. It is the sub-committee's view that corrective legislation should be enacted to restore the effectiveness of these laws. Such statutory changes relate primarily to procedures and technicalities rather than to matters of substance.


With respect to barbiturates, the sub-committee has found that there is not only a lack of realization of the seriousness of the consequences and possibilities of abuses on the part of the public, but also on the part of the medical profession and others who are concerned with their manufacture and distribution. Barbiturate abuse has become a serious social problem. Although federal, state, and local officials charged with the responsibility for enforcing present laws relating to barbiturates are aware of the seriousness of these problems, they are not only operating under the handicap of insufficient funds and shortage of enforcement personnel, but also are further handicapped by a lack of legislative authority for proper enforcement. There is divided opinion among medical experts as to the addictive and habit-forming potentialities of barbiturates. Some contend that barbiturates are just as addictive as are narcotics; others claim that they are not addictive but are habit forming. In any event, all agree that they can be abused.

Generally speaking, the medical profession and enforcement officials oppose the recommendation that barbiturates should be subjected to the same control as that which now applies to narcotics. Owing to the nature of the supply and use of these drugs, the sub-committee is of the opinion also that barbiturates should not be subjected to the same type of control as now applies to narcotics. Barbiturates are domestically produced. On the other hand, the natural sources of narcotics are almost exclusively foreign. This means that they must be imported before they can enter illegal channels. In the light of this, the sub-committee recommends that federal regulation of barbiturates should be on the basis of the power of Congress to regulate inter-state commerce rather than through the device of regulatory taxes.


With respect to amphetamines, the sub-committee found that medical experts and enforcement officials are in general agreement that amphetamines are not addictive. However, it was also generally agreed that amphetamines are equally as subject to abuse as are barbiturates and that their improper use results in anti-social behaviour to the detriment of society. Amphetamines are now classified under the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act along with barbiturates as dangerous drugs.

The sub-committee believes that amphetamines should be regulated by the Federal Government in the same manner as barbiturates. It is also recommended that persons who have not secured these drugs through authorized channels be subjected to penalties for illegal possession.

Barbiturates and amphetamines, like most narcotics, have a proper and valuable place in certain medical treatment. At the same time barbiturates and amphetamines are also like narcotics in that, owing to the very properties which make them not only useful but essential to the medical profession, they are subject to abuse by emotionally unstable persons. It is not their use which concerns the sub-committee; it is their misuse. These drugs are at one and the same time a blessing and an evil. When used properly under medical direction, they are effective in the alleviation of illness and suffering. When used in strict conformity with medical prescription and not for sensual gratification, barbiturates and amphetamines represent an outstanding pharmaceutical advancement. The therapeutic administration of these drugs produces results that are beneficial with respect to many human maladies. A patient may use them with confidence within the limits prescribed by his attending physician. When misused, barbiturates and amphetamines, like narcotics, become a social and legal problem which is of grave public concern.

The details of the sub-committee's recommendations and the reasons for them are set forth in subsequent parts of this report.


There is an interrelation between addiction to narcotics and the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines. All persons abusing and misusing any one or a combination of these drugs, with few exceptions, are not normal persons in that they are suffering from some basic psychological or mental disorder. This means that efforts at prevention and rehabilitation and treatment of these persons must proceed basically along the same lines in each case. The problems of enforcement and legislation are similar in the case of each of these drugs to the extent of the type of individuals involved. The social problems involved are basically the same. Generally speaking, there is a lack of public awareness as to the seriousness of abuse of these drugs. There is a serious lack of statistics on the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines. This statistical lack stems from the fact that these drugs are of relatively recent development and their distribution and use have not been subject to the rigid controls applicable to narcotics. In the case of narcotics, statistics are more reliable. However, estimates of the number of narcotic addicts vary considerably.



Effective control of the vicious narcotic traffic requires not only vigorous enforcement but also certainty of punishment. Conclusive evidence was presented during the sub-committee's investigation that the imposition of heavier penalties was the strongest deterrent to narcotic addiction and narcotic traffic. In those areas of the country where we found leniency in sentencing the prevailing practice, drug addiction and narcotic traffic without exception are on the increase. Also without exception, wherever heavier penalties are imposed by the courts, narcotic traffic and addiction are at a virtual minimum or non-existent.

The enactment of Public Law 255-the so-called Boggs law-in 1951 has been largely responsible for turning the rising tide of the narcotic traffic and of narcotic addiction. The Boggs law for the first time imposed minimum mandatory penalties for violations of the narcotic laws. It provides a penalty of not less than two years nor more than five years for a first offence; not less than five years nor more than ten years for a second offence; and for a third or subsequent offence, not less than ten years nor more than twenty years. For second or subsequent offences it prohibits probation or suspension of sentence.

Before the enactment of this law, the average sentence for a violation of the narcotics laws was eighteen months. The average sentence now is approximately forty-three months. However, it must be recognized that special incentives in our penal systems serve to decrease the actual time spent in a penal institution under a sentence imposed by the court. The violator is eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence. As is true of all Federal law violators, he is subject to conditional release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Available data from the Bureau of Prisons indicate that a violator of the narcotics laws actually serves an average of less than two-thirds of the sentence imposed by the court. This tends to defeat the purposes of the act and should be corrected as set forth in the sub-committee's recommendations.

The committee is convinced that the Boggs law in its present form has contributed greatly to the control of the narcotic traffic. As a result of our investigation we urge that it be strengthened to combat more effectively drug addiction and illicit drug traffic. We have adduced substantial evidence that because of the severe penalties on repeating offenders and the fact that suspension and probation are not available in the case of an individual with a record of prior narcotics convictions there has been an increase in first offender traffickers. Repeating offenders subject to the heavier mandatory penalties under the Boggs law have moved into the background and recruited young hoodlums as peddlers in the narcotic traffic. These recruits are subject to the minimum mandatory sentence of two years with the possibility of suspension or probation. At the present time, 80% of the violators of the narcotics laws apprehended and convicted are first offenders under the narcotics laws. The majority of these individuals have prior records of crime. However, because they have no prior conviction for violations of the narcotics laws, under the Boggs law they are considered as fast offenders. With the possibility of receiving probation or a suspended sentence, these unscrupulous individuals are willing to risk apprehension for the fantastic profits derived from this type of crime. The mark-up in heroin sold to addicts in this country runs up to 10,000% over its cost at the source.

Unless immediate action is taken to prohibit probation or suspension of sentence, it is the sub-committee's considered opinion that the first-offender peddler problem will become progressively worse and eventually lead to the large-scale recruiting of our youth by the upper echelon of traffickers. The penalties on peddlers with or without a record of prior convictions under our narcotics law must be made sufficiently severe to make the profits from this insidious commerce an inadequate inducement to assume the risks involved.

The narcotic traffic has been aptly described as "murder on the instalment plan". The peddler or trafficker who is a killer on the "instalment plan" of the weaker persons in our society, including our youth, should be dealt with severely or he will continue to encourage and exploit for financial gain the demands of a wretched human weakness.

Some testimony was received by the sub-committee to the effect that in determining the degree of punishment a distinction should be made between the non-addict trafficker and the addict trafficker with the latter group being dealt with less severely. It is the view of the sub-committee that the addict trafficker is just as vicious a person as the non-addict trafficker, that his deeds are made no less heinous by virtue of his addiction, and any attempt to place such individuals in a separate category with a view to dealing less severely with them would only serve to encourage the addict trafficker to the detriment of society.

It is urged by the sub-committee that the minimum and maximum penalties applicable to convictions for violations of the narcotics laws be increased on both the federal and state levels. The importance of heavy mandatory type penalties in narcotics cases at the federal and state levels was clearly demonstrated during the sub-committee hearings and investigation. It is recommended that the convicted narcotic peddler be sentenced to not less than five years for a first offence, and not less than ten years for a second or subsequent offence. Maximum sentences should be increased to twenty years and forty years respectively, for first offences and for second and subsequent offences in the case of the narcotics peddler.

The sub-committee is not recommending an increase in the minimum sentence of two years applicable to first offender possessors. It is recommended, however, that the maximum penalties applicable to such possessors be increased from five years to ten years. This will permit the exercise of a wider latitude of discretion as warranted by the existing facts in a specific case without unduly weakening the penalty deterrents to illegal narcotics possession. A further recommendation of the sub-committee is that probation and suspension of sentence be prohibited for all first offender traffickers.

In the case of an adult peddler abetting a juvenile in the use of narcotics, a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years with a maximum sentence of forty years should be prescribed without opportunity for suspension or probation. The sub-committee recommends that the maximum fine be made $20,000, applicable for any narcotics violation, and that its imposition be made discretionary with the court. The sub-committee realizes that it is impossible through legislation to instil character where human weakness exists. However, it is believed to be incumbent upon the Congress and the state legislatures to see to it that this reprehensible preying upon human weaknesses is most severely punished.


The sub-committee is convinced that the public generally does not fully understand the viciousness of drug addiction nor the seriousness of the proportions of this addiction. Recommendations were presented during the public hearings that an educational programme be instituted in the schools to make students aware of the evils of narcotics. However, careful consideration by the sub-committee of the efficacy of such an educational programme has led to the conclusion that it would tend to arouse undue curiosity on the part of the impressionable youth of our nation unless undertaken with extreme caution. Many young persons, once their curiosity is aroused, may ignore the warnings and experiment upon themselves with disastrous consequences.

The sub-committee is therefore opposed to direct routine education of our youth and we are supported in our views by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs and by Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger, who are against any such educational programme. It is urged that medical groups and others who are in positions of responsibility dealing with drug addiction make every effort to bring to public light the viciousness of this addiction. It is believed that the availability of authoritative information as distinguished from a formal educational programme will accomplish the necessary public awareness without stimulating juvenile curiosity. An aroused and informed public, in this case as in all other problems of national concern, is the major factor in effectively dealing with the problem.


Although substantial progress has been made in controlling the illicit narcotics traffic in the United States, drug addiction remains one of our most serious social problems. To combat this situation effectively, we must have a programme based on vigorous enforcement, strengthened legislation, severe penalties, compulsory hospitalization, and improved rehabilitation.

With these objectives in mind, the sub-committee makes the following recommendations to the Committee on Ways and Means for a more effective control of the vicious illicit narcotic traffic. It is the sub-committee's hope that the States will review their responsibilities in this problem of controlling narcotic addiction and where necessary take appropriate action:

  1. Penalties for violations of the narcotics laws should be mandatory in all States.

  2. The minimum and maximum penalties should be increased for all violations of the narcotics laws, both federal and state, with parole eliminated.

  3. Present penalties for traffickers in narcotics under the Boggs law should be increased to not less than five years for the first offence and not less than ten years for second and subsequent offences, with probation and suspension of sentences prohibited.

  4. Increased penalties should be provided for the sale of narcotics by adults to minors.

  5. The Congress should adopt a resolution urging all nations to ratify, as soon as possible, the 1953 Protocol which would limit world-wide production of opium.

  6. The Congress should adopt a resolution urging that the Division of Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations, recently moved to Geneva, Switzerland, be relocated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

  7. The Congress should adopt a resolution urging the United Nations to expedite the final drafting of the proposed single convention, which would modernize, codify, and replace existing conventions and protocols on narcotics.

  8. The authorized personnel of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics should be increased to a minimum of 400 agents and sufficient appropriations should be authorized at the earliest possible time to provide for this increase in personnel and to furnish the Bureau with sufficient funds for effective operation here and abroad.

  9. The Bureau of Customs should be provided with additional appropriations to permit an increase in their enforcement personnel to cope with the smuggling problem.

  10. The Department of the Treasury should expedite the study and preparation of legislative recommendations to authorize the Commissioner of Narcotics to license manufacturers of natural and synthetic narcotic drugs, fix quotas to control production, and regulate their distribution.

  11. Defects in the laws applicable to marihuana relating to illegal possession, transportation, and smuggling of marihuana should be corrected. Venue should be permitted in the State where a violator is apprehended.

  12. Smuggling of marihuana should be made subject to more severe penalties.

  13. Consideration by the Congress should be given to amending the Public Health Service Act, Public Law 410, 78th Congress, so as to permit the Surgeon-General of the Public Health Service to disclose information on voluntary patients so as to aid in follow-up care programmes for addicts.

  14. Legislation should be enacted to authorize, under a court order, the interception and admission of evidence of telephone communications in narcotics cases.

  15. The Federal Government should have the authority to grant immunity from prosecution to witnesses in narcotics cases.

  16. The Federal Government should authorize for a limited period of time state commitments to federal narcotics hospitals on a reimbursable basis.

  17. Legislation should be enacted to permit searches and seizures in narcotics cases taking into account the viciousness of illicit traffic and the peculiar nature of the evidence involved.

  18. Legislation should be enacted authorizing the Federal Government to appeal a decision or judgment of federal district courts where evidence is suppressed on the basis of questions as to search and seizure.

  19. Federal narcotic agents should be given statutory authority to carry firearms, execute and serve arrest warrants, and make arrests without warrants for narcotics law violations.

  20. The States should be urged to provide suitable legislation for the commitment of addicts for treatment.

  21. State and local governments should be urged to provide adequate enforcement personnel to combat narcotic addiction and the illicit traffic on these levels.

  22. It is urged that the States and local communities establish a programme for the follow up treatment of addicts and provide hospital facilities for treating addicts where warranted by the rate of addiction.

  23. States should be urged to amend their narcotics laws to cope with the problem of the new synthetic narcotic drugs.

  24. Those States without adequate narcotics legislation should be urged to adopt the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act.

  25. All States should be urged to adopt an addict law similar to the one now in operation in New Jersey and to provide heavier mandatory type penalties for all violations of the narcotics laws.

  26. The Federal Government, through its qualified agencies, should assist States and the local governments in the establishment of adequate programmes of narcotics law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation.

  27. Research should be continued and expanded on both the federal and the state level into the causation and prevention of addiction as well as its treatment.

  28. The Boggs law should be made applicable to the District of Columbia.

  29. The penalties of the Boggs law should be broadened to cover drugs found on a vessel.

  30. Stricter laws should be enacted governing the entrance and egress of airplanes to and from Mexico and Canada.

  31. Legislation recommended by the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization for the expedition of the deportation of alien narcotics law violators should be given early consideration by the Congress.

  32. Consideration should be given to means for achieving increased public awareness of the evils of the illicit traffic in narcotics by the federal, state, and local governments. Caution should be used to see that any programme is devoid of sensationalism and over-dramatization.



Although narcotic addiction has been a problem in the United States for over a century, the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines is of recent origin. Evidence received by the sub-committee indicates that the illicit traffic in these drugs is endangering the health and welfare of our citizens and presents a problem that has increased in seriousness during recent years.

The beneficial medical uses of barbiturates and amphetamines cannot be challenged and their legitimate utilization under proper guidance of, or prescription from, a physician is a desirable consequence of our medical and pharmaceutical progress. Barbiturates and amphetamines constitute effective drugs for the medical profession to use in the treatment and alleviation of many human illnesses and disorders. The sub-committee is cognizant of the benefits to be derived from the proper uses of barbiturates and amphetamines but we are also aware of, and concerned with, abuses and problems arising from their improper uses.

Unlike the narcotic traffic, which is concentrated in our larger metropolitan areas, the illicit traffic in barbiturates and amphetamines attacks both large and small communities. The traffickers are individuals operating independently of any underworld organization. According to authoritative sources, the places of illicit distribution are many and varied, such as roadside taverns, service stations, houses of ill repute, bars, hotels, restaurants, retail drugstores, and unscrupulous physicians.

The domestic production of barbiturates during the past fifteen years has been tremendous. In 1954 manufacturers produced 798,000 pounds of barbiturates. This is equal to approximately 3 billion l1/2grain capsules, or enough to provide 18 doses for every man, woman and child in the United States.

More than 1,500 different barbiturates have been synthesized; however, less than 20 are important to medicine.

At the present time approximately 1,330 pharmaceutical firms in the United States manufacture barbiturates under various trade names.

While the source of illicit narcotic drugs is of foreign origin, the barbiturates and amphetamines in the illicit traffic originate from legitimate domestic sources. In the sub-committee's opinion, the diversion from legitimate channels has created a need for controlling the domestic production and distribution of these drugs.

The illicit traffic in barbiturates and amphetamines has been encouraged by a lack of proper control of inter-state shipments of these drugs. Large quantities have been diverted into illicit channels as the result of inter-state shipments from manufacturers and wholesalers to unauthorized, individuals. Mail-order-house distribution also presents a problem, as well as the promiscuous refilling of prescriptions for barbiturates and amphetamines when the distribution is not in conformity with a medical prescription and the use is not under the supervision of a physician. Although the representative of one mail-order house testified before the committee that his company employs qualified physicians to prescribe barbiturates, lack of individual supervision and proper control may possibly create an avenue for some diversion and abuse through such an outlet.


Differences of opinion exist among the foremost medical authorities as to the extent of barbiturate and amphetamine abuse, but all agree they are dangerous drugs and their misuse presents a serious public health problem.

Evidence presented to the sub-committee indicated that the abuse of these drugs leads to abnormal and anti-social behaviour, and to the commission of crimes, especially those of a sexual nature.

Barbiturates act as a depressant, while amphetamines act as a stimulant. Authorities agree that both are at least habit-forming. Some authorities, including Dr. Harris Isbell, of the United States Public Health Service, refer to chronic barbiturate intoxication as barbiturate addiction.

In 1940 the American Medical Association conducted a survey and found the incidence of barbiturate addiction to be one in 15,000 hospital admissions. Although some authorities allege that addiction to barbiturates is now more widespread than narcotic addiction, no reliable statistics concerning the current misuse of the barbiturate and amphetamine drugs are available.

Research studies at the United States Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Ky., indicate that the physical effects of barbiturate addiction are more serious than those of narcotic addiction. Those addicted are harder to treat, and the effects on the individual are more damaging. Convulsions and delirium are evident upon withdrawal of the drug.

As in the case of narcotic addiction, chronic barbiturate intoxication is essentially the result of personality disorder and the abuse is regarded as a symptom of emotional illness. The authorities agree that unless the personality disorder can be treated and improved, little can be accomplished. Therefore, a need exists for communities to provide treatment and rehabilitation for the barbiturate addict in the same manner as for the narcotic addict.

The promiscuous use and careless handling of barbiturates is responsible for many suicides and accidental deaths. Acute poisoning with barbiturates is now the most common cause of death resulting from any solid poison, or any other poison except carbon monoxide poisoning.

A problem of growing proportions has been created by the chronic users of barbiturates and amphetamines, who are a menace to the public when driving on our streets and highways.


Limited Federal control of barbiturates and amphetamines was authorized under the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938. The Duram-Humphrey amendment to this act, which became effective in 1952, strengthened Federal control of the barbiturates and amphetamines by dividing drugs into two classes, dangerous drugs and all other drugs. Barbiturates and amphetamines come under the classification of dangerous drugs, which can be sold only on prescription.

The Act does not provide a special law for barbiturates and amphetamines, but includes them in the group of drugs which are of a character that must be confined to prescription use to avoid injury and abuse. The present federal law does not provide adequate control and supervision over the manufacture and distribution of barbiturates and amphetamines.

Legislation is needed to allow more stringent federal control of the production and distribution of barbiturates and amphetamines through the device of the inter-state commerce clause. To maintain proper supervision over the domestic traffic in these drugs, controls must also be placed on their importation and exportation.

Most States have some law for controlling the barbiturate and amphetamine problem. However, many state laws are inadequate. A decided improvement could be brought about if all States would enact uniform legislation to effectively combat the increased abuse of these drugs. Improved state legislation is essential to forbid operation of motor vehicles by anyone intoxicated by barbiturates and amphetamines.


The enforcement of the federal law controlling barbiturates and amphetamines is the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. This agency is also responsible for the enforcement of all the provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. To enforce all provisions of the Act, the Food and Drug Administration has a limited force of approximately 200 food and drug inspectors. This inadequate manpower has curtailed investigations of the illicit traffic in barbiturates and amphetamines. The testimony received by your sub-committee indicates that only from 5% to 8% of their time can be devoted to this serious and growing problem.

It is evident that lack of proper control has encouraged the illicit traffic in barbiturates and amphetamines. This lack of control is apparent on federal, state and local levels and appears to be primarily due to a lack of proper appreciation of the serious proportions of the problem and a consequent under-staffing of enforcement forces along with inadequate legislation.

Control of the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines, by the very nature of their production and supply, is a major responsibility of the States and local communities. The sub-committee urges that state and local enforcement staffs be increased immediately and trained personnel be provided to combat the illicit traffic on a state-wide basis with more adequate implementing legislation provided where necessary.


The importance of barbiturates and amphetamines in the field of medicine is well recognized. However, the increasing abuse of these drugs and the resulting dangers to the individual and to society demonstrate the need for stronger legislation and more vigorous enforcement to eliminate this serious problem.

The sub-committee believes that the primary responsibility for the control of the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines rests with the States. The Federal Government, through the inter-state commerce clause, has responsibility relating to the control of these dangerous drugs. With this in mind, your sub-committee makes the following recommendations with the hope that prompt action may be taken with respect to them:

  1. Legislation based on the inter-state commerce clause should be enacted immediately to provide more stringent federal controls with respect to barbiturates and amphetamines so as to prevent their continued abuse.

  2. Legislation should be enacted immediately to control the importation and exportation of barbiturates and amphetamines.

  3. Possession through other than authorized sources should be made subject to proper penalties.

  4. The Food and Drug Administration should be provided with additional appropriations to permit an increase in their enforcement personnel to cope with the illicit traffic in barbiturates and amphetamines.

  5. State and local governments should be urged to increase their enforcement activities to combat the abuse of barbiturates and amphetamines.

  6. The States should be urged to adopt uniform legislation to control barbiturates and amphetamines and provide adequate penalties for violations.

  7. The States and local communities should establish a programme for the treatment and rehabilitation of barbiturate addicts and chronic users of amphetamines.

  8. The current programmes for education of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and all other persons handling barbiturates and amphetamines concerning the dangers inherent in these drugs should be intensified. The Federal Government, through its qualified agencies, should co-ordinate its endeavors in this field with the associations and groups representing the manufacturers, physicians, pharmacists and others in the drug field.

  9. The Federal Government, in co-operation with state and local authorities, should maintain appropriate surveillance and records so as to be able to determine the adequacy of applicable laws and enforcement procedures relating to barbiturate and amphetamine abuse.


It is the conclusion of the sub-committee that drug addiction and abuses of barbiturates and amphetamines constitute one of the gravest social problems confronting our nation. The continued illicit use of these drugs inevitably brings about the destruction of the individual and imposes serious deleterious effects upon our communities.

The basic causes of development of the drug habit are inherent in the individual. Habits usually affect the individual only but, in the case of drug addiction, indulgence reacts adversely on the community through increased crime and anti-social vices.

Institutional care is the only effective means of providing treatment of addiction. Once a former habitual user has been successfully withdrawn from the use of a drug, his rehabilitation must be undertaken to assure his remaining a constructive member of society.

The illicit trafficking in narcotics, barbiturates, and amphetamines breeds persistence in their continued use and creates new users. It is therefore of paramount importance that every effort be made to eradicate this illicit traffic. Enforcement efforts must be increased on the federal, state and local levels. Illicit traffickers must be severely dealt with by the courts so that the costs of engaging in this evil commerce will deter even the most avaricious violator.

Elsewhere in this report the sub-committee has made specific recommendations designed to cure and prevent drug addiction and abuses, eliminate the illicit traffic in drugs, and provide for more effective control and regulation of lawful uses of narcotics, barbiturates, and amphetamines. The sub-committee is unanimous in urging the prompt adoption of these recommendations.


This law provided for, inter alia, minimum mandatory sentences for violators of the narcotics laws. [Editor's note].


General references to narcotics in this report include within the term marihuana, which is similarly treated with respect to penalties, etc.