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The New York Times June 10, 1917
Dr. C.F. Stokes Reports to the Board of Inebriety Results of His Experiments
Drugs Suddenly Withdrawn from Addicts Without Causing Suffering.

The Board of Inebriety made public yesterday the report of Dr. Charles F. Stokes, former Surgeon General of the United States Navy, on his experiments in the treating of inebriates at the new York City farm colony in Orange County. Dr. Stokes reported a new treatment for the drug habit, which consists essentially in sudden withdrawal of the drug without suffering by the patient. The withdrawal is made once and for all, and Dr. Stokes has perfected a special treatment which prevents the ill effects and terrible suffering usually experienced by drug addicts when their supply of narcotics is cut off.

Dr. Stokes's report recites that there are 2,000,000 victims of the drug habit in the United States, as giving an idea of the enormity of the problem. He said that study of the drug addicts on the farm away from the temptations of the city to give up the treatment, helped him much.

"Existing national stress and the passage of the army law embodying conscription have prompted the writer to present this incomplete report in the hope that drug addiction may be lifted out of the vale of empiricism and confusion, so that the problem can be dealt with on sound scientific lines."

Dr. Stokes said that more than 90 per cent. Of the drug addicts studied had no criminal record and he voiced the belief that the use of the new treatment would give the United States a force of great strength fit to work behind the lines during the war.

"Can we account for the grave condition commonly seen in sharp withdrawal of the drug of addiction in narcotic habituation? We can. This abrupt withdrawal be accomplished without distress? It can. Does the general condition uncovered demand after­care? It does, emphatically."

Dr. Stokes then drew a picture of the suffering of the drug addict who loses his supply all at once, and said: "The writer long ago pointed out the pathology of the withdrawal symptoms in narcotic addiction, and has since endeavored to unearth remedies that would stimulate the extended vagus, the autonomous nervous system, firm in the belief that when this was accomplished and an approach to the normal balance between the sympathetic and autonomous systems could be established and maintained, the patient would be free from symptoms of narcotic withdrawal.

"This has been amply demonstrated in a series of 130 cases made up of opium, morphine, heroin, and codeine users. After a thorough trial, the ductless gland products were discarded as too slow in action to combat sharply acute conditions. It was found that in pilocarpine and eserine we have two remedies that meet the indications perfectly, in doses far below the minimum medicinal doses in common use."

After describing the technic of his treatment, Dr. Stokes said: "There have been no untoward symptoms in any cases in this series."

"It is interesting to observe," he continues, "the types of minds uncovered in this way. In fact, in some cases the underlying factors on the cause of the addiction, and there are always underlying causal factors, stand out strongly in evidence. The common type of mind is that of an older child, a mind neither hardened or matured. The physical damage is soon corrected in these cases. The readjustments in the nervous system takes a longer time. It has seemed to me well worth while to explain as far as possible just what is taking place, so that patients can cooperate, and will understand that the readjustments at the psychic level are often tedious.

"By robbing the condition of much of the dread of suffering, this plan of treatment appeals to addicts and they soon realize that convalescence begins at once instead of being dragged out unduly through gradual reduction and other methods, that supplant one poison with another. Sufficient time has not elapsed to make any definite predictions as to the permanency of freedom from addiction, still the outlook is most promising, particularly if the patients will seek new surroundings and associates when they resume their former occupations. In the majority of cases relapses are due to their return to their old pals and old haunts, where they are soon beset by the insistent drug seller.

"Heroin should be abolished. We found that this drug was used in over 90 per cent of the cases seen by us. Heroin can be completely done away with without adding to the suffering of the sick, or harming them. In fact, the United States Public Health Service, in view of the drug evil, has discarded heroin completely, and will take steps to have legislative measures enacted that will further meet this distressing situation."

Dr. Stokes was employed by the city to study the inmates of the farm in the search for a new treatment. He enjoys a reputation as the man who did much to root drug addiction and the excessive use of alcoholic drink out of the navy as Surgeon General.

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