The New York Times June 6, 1939
OPIUM EXPERTS SPLIT OVER CARE OF ADDICT
League Committee Resolution Due for Decision Today.
Wireless to The New York Times.
GENEVA, June 5.--- The League of nations Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs today discussed the question of whether the addict should be regarded as a sick man or a criminal and whether treatment was best handled by visiting nurses from dispensaries or under a system of police control combined with medical-social effort.
Opposing a resolution, proposed jointly by the Swiss and Polish representatives,
calling on the various governments to study the subject, Harry J. Anslinger, United States
Narcotic Commissioner, declared that the adoption of such a resolution would throw the
problem back to where it was twenty years ago. Mr. Anslinger added that the experience of
the United States showed that the Harrison Narcotics Law contributed to the reduction of
addiction and that no ambulatory method could succeed in doing more than increase the
number of addicts. He pointed out that addicts will not come forward voluntarily because
addiction was regarded as a vice. Only about 10 per cent of the addicts could be brought
under the control of dispensaries and these would promptly become peddlers for the other
90 per cent, thus serving to spread the habit.
Mr. Anslinger cited three cases in which doctors had treated addicts with morphine, in each case the doctors prescribed, in the course of a year, more morphine than all the other medical men in their respective areas put together. The result was an increase in addiction in these areas and an increase in crime.
Colonel C. H. L. Sharman of Canada, supported Mr. Anslinger's argument, but Dr. Witold Chodzko of Poland argued that conditions in Europe differed from those in the United States.
The resolution's fate will be decided tomorrow.