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End of Illicit Drug Traffic Now in Sight

Literary Digest, July 29, 1933; page 19

The 1nternational control of the traffic in narcotics went into effect on July 9, and, on the following day President Roosevelt proclaimed the convention - ratified by thirty-eight countries - under which the manufacture and distribution of narcotic drugs are regulated by the League of Nations. As a United Press dispatch-quoted in THE LITERARY DIGEST April 22-remarked, the ratification of this agreement creates a precedent in international affairs because it constitutes an infringement upon the national sovereignty of each of the ratifying governments, thus representing the sacrifice of national pride to curtail the narcotic traffic."

Sir Malcolm Delavigne of Great Britain is chairman of a supervisory body of eight appointed by the League of Nations to examine the estimates of medical and scientific needs submitted by each country. Herbert L. May of New York is the American member. On the basis of the estimates submitted, the supervisory board will dictate how much each nation may produce for the next year. Production and distribution will be limited strictly to the world's actual medical and scientific needs.

In New York the World Narcotic Defense Association celebrated the event with speeches and a radio broadcast. Capt. Richmond Pearson Hobson, Spanish-American War hero, president of the association and an untiring worker for regulation of the drug traffic, described the convention as placing "in operation the majestic power of law of the civilized world to strike down the illicit narcotic drug traffic-modern pirates who are preying on all mankind. The rising tide of narcotic addiction," he continued, ''menaces the very foundation of modern civilization. The narcotic drug racket, since the breaking out of the World War, has been based on the chemical industries of Europe, which are manufacturing many times the amount of high-powered drugs required for the world's legitimate needs."

Captain Hobson went on to point out that America cannot fulfill her duties under the   convention "until the full police power of our people is brought to bear. This necessitates harmonious action by our several States, and we appeal to American citizens to hasten the enactment of the uniform State law submitted by the American Bar Association and now pending before all Legislatures."

Reciting that in his Court alone. during 1932, 1.088 men and 100 women had been arraigned for possessing or selling narcotics, Chief Justice Frederic Kernochan of the New York Court of Special Sessions said that two efforts to find a cure for addicts had failed. "There is only one possible solution of this problem, and that solution is now in sight," he remarked. "The production of these drugs must be controlled, for the surplus is what gets into the hands of the criminal dealer."

Messages of congratulation on "the wonderful achievement" came from President Roosevelt and several legations in Washington.

Nicaragua was the first to sign the convention, on March 16, 1932. The United States was next, and two weeks later Peru, Portugal, and Persia signed. These four nations were, respectively, the first in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia to ratify.

Among the signatories are six large manufacturing nations - the United States Great Britain, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, and France. The Netherlands and Japan, the two remaining in the category of large manufacturing nations, have not yet signed the compact.

When it is remembered that the dope addicts in this country are estimated at 120,000, that the number throughout the world is many times as large and that the traffickers are constantly building up new sources of demand, even among school children, the benefit of this international agreement cannot be exaggerated. Its success will depend largely, of course, upon the supervisory body. It will depend also in large measure on the degree of cooperation afforded by the nations which, after thirty years of struggle, have agreed to end one of the most insidious perils to mankind.


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