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The New York Times July 8, 1926
Captain Hobson Charges Health Service Suppressed Report on American Victims.

Special to The New York Times.

PHILADELPHIA, July 7.-- Charging attempts by the United States Bureau of Public Health to suppress official reports revealing the seriousness of narcotic addiction in America, Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson today made a vehement attack against the Treasury Department and in particular against the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service.

"The Bureau of the Public Health Service has been sending out an opiate to the public mind to lull it back to the sense of false security," charged Captain Hobson, addressing the first World Conference on Narcotic Education on the third day of its sessions at the Bellevue-Stratford.

Capt. Hobson, former Representative from Alabama, is famous for his exploit in bottling up Santiago Harbor by sinking the Merrimac at its entrance during the Spanish-American War.

He burst forth with his attack on the Public Health Service apparently somewhat unpremeditatedly. His remarks seemed to give vent to indignation that had been accumulating for some time during the latter part of his five years of activity in the anti-narcotic movement. He is President of the International Narcotic Education Association, with headquarters in Los Angeles.

Declares His Organization Attacked.

"The most unscrupulous attacks on my organization have been emanating from the Bureau of Public Health Service," declared Captain Hobson. "Judge Porter, while Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, and the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service declared that they were opposed to education on the narcotic problem."

"The physicians of America, the physicians of Philadelphia," he continued, "are not represented at this conference. A bill was introduced in Congress for a modest appropriation for the entertainment of foreign delegates to this conference. It passed the House of Representatives unanimously. Then it was blocked in the Senate by the Bureau of Public Health Service. Our Government is not represented at this conference. I have had to undergo humiliation."

Captain Hobson's charge against the Treasury Department and the Bureau of the Public Health Service of attempting to suppress a public document which estimated the drug addicts of the United States at 1,000,000, came as an interruption to remarks made this afternoon by E. G. Hoffman, who had registered for the conference as from the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Hoffman quoted from a Government publication an estimate of 120,000 as the probable number of drug addicts in the United States.

The interruption first came from Dr. Clarence J. Owens, Director General of the conference.

"An estimate of 1,000,000 was made in a Treasury Department report which was suppressed, and which Captain Hobson brought to light nineteen days ago," said Dr. Owens. Then he called on Captain Hobson to tell of the affair.

Believes Drug Addicts Number 1,000,000

"A special committee was appointed by the Treasury Department in 1918," said Captain Hobson, "and that committee made the most comprehensive survey of the drug addiction problem that had ever been made. The opinion of that committee was that the number of drug addicts in the United States exceeds 1,000,000.

"On June 14, 1924, that report was ordered suppressed. The International Narcotic Education Association introduced in Congress a bill calling for the printing of that report as a public document. A representative of the Public Health Bureau opposed the bill. He incorporated in his remarks at a Congressional hearing a document which had been presented to the American Medical Association which estimated drug addicts at only 110,000.

"An Assistant Secretary of the Treasury refused to supply a copy of the report which estimated 1,000,000. The answer was given: 'There is none.' Also it was told us: 'Our only copy has been destroyed.'

"But I found a copy in the Library of Congress.

"Then we asked for a copy from the Public Printer. He answered that the type had been ordered destroyed by the Treasury Department. Then Congressman Rainey asked the Secretary of the Treasury for two copies for himself and fifty copies for distribution. He got them.

5,000 Copies of "Suppressed" Report.

"Immediately he placed an order with the public printer for 5,000 copies of the genuine document, and we got them last Saturday. An attempt was made to suppress that report. A condition of universal ignorance prevails regarding the narcotics situation," Captain Hobson concluded.

Dr. Wilmer Krusen, Director of Public Health in Philadelphia, who presided at today's session, reported that the number of addicts in Philadelphia is declining and is fewer today than it was ten years ago. He praised Judge Monaghan and Judge Harry S. McDevitt for "their fight against a well financed drug ring."

Basil O. Bulnes, Consul of Mexico, told how his country suppressed an attempt of Chinese to raise opium poppies there.

E.W. Kunath, Police Captain in Detroit, and Joseph J. Murphy, Federal agent here, related their experiences in fighting illicit drug sellers.

Papers were presented in person by Dr. J. T. Downs, insurance medical officer of Dallas, Tex., who said not more than 2 per cent of the narcotic addicts contract the habit while being treated by physicians for relief of pain; by Major M. O. Kimerling of the Jersey State police, and by Eugene T. Lies, Chicago, of the Playground and Recreation Association of America, who declared the overcrowded tenement the greatest aid to the dope traffic. A paper by Herman R. Bundensen, Commissioner of Health in Chicago, was presented in his absence.

Captain Hobson declared today that use of narcotics by boys and girls of high school age is increasing, but that colleges are virtually free from the vice. Drug users tend to become criminals, he said, in order to obtain the $10 a day or so they need to buy the illicit drugs which have become a necessity to them.

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