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The New York Times December 21, 1951
NARCOTIC USE RISE
340 Teenagers Admitted to 2
FAVORABLE FACTORS SEEN
Few Patients Listed as True Addicts--- Large Number Laid
By CHARLES GRUTZNER
A "tremendous increase" this year in the number of teen-age users of narcotics admitted to Bellevue and Kings County Hospitals was reported yesterday to Mayor Impellitteri by the special committee he appointed twelve months ago.
The interim report showed 340 hospital admissions of addicts or users under the age of 21 years in the first nine and one-half months of this year, compared with fifty-four last year.
"This data on treatment of addicts or users, of course, does not establish an increase in addiction, but more likely reflects the greater intensity of the disintoxication program," the report said.
The study showed that most of the teen-agers using narcotics were not addicts in the sense that strong physical dependence had developed. Saying that "only a handful" of the teen-agers actually had withdrawal symptoms when "taken off" narcotics; the report declared that this discovery indicated that "the present situation, while serious, yet may not be as alarming as many persons have supposed."
Backsliders Found Few
As a second favorable aspect in what it termed an otherwise "dreary picture," the report cited the relatively low rate of return to narcotics by teen-agers who had received emergency withdrawal and psychiatric treatment. Of 313 teen-age patients, only eighteen were returned to the hospitals as backsliders.
The forty-six-page report on the findings of the continuing study since the committee's basic report was made public last July 18 was signed by Police Commissioner George P. Monaghan, chairman; Chief Medical Examiner Thomas A. Gonzalez, Health Commissioner John F. Mahoney, Commissioner of Hospitals Marcus D., Kogel, superintendent of Schools William Jansen, Dr. Samuel Frant, Deputy Commissioner of Health; Ralph W. Whelan, executive secretary of the New York City Youth Board, and Frederick J. Ludwig, technical adviser.
The committee listed thirty-eight deaths in this city in the first nine months of this year as due to narcotic drug addiction, fifteen of them being persons under 21 years old. Dr. Gonzalez said later that death certificates received since the report was prepared showed that fifty-six persons here had died of narcotic drug addiction from Jan. 1 to Dec. 10 of this year. That is the same number of deaths from this cause as during all of 1950. Dr. Gonzales said eight other deaths this year were attributed to narcotic drugs, but as suicides or accidents and not as a result of addiction.
Positive Steps Listed
Among positive steps taken against narcotic addiction the report listed the recent increase in the Police Narcotics Squad from fifty to ninety-nine members, an increase in arrests and convictions of sellers, and the joint project by the state and city to reopen Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island about April 1, 1952, with 150 beds for the treatment of juvenile narcotics addicts.
The report said efforts of the United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs to control international traffic in narcotics had amounted to "a total failure."
The report of the Mayor's committee was hazy on the touchy subject of how the city's schools were living up to the requirement of the State Education Law that they give instruction in the injurious effects of narcotic drugs.
Former Representative W. Kingsland Macy called upon the New York State Board of Regents, of which he is a member, to give its "determined backing" to two bills proposed by Federal Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger, which are designed to bring narcotics addiction and the illegal sale of narcotics under closer control in this state.
Reiterating previous criticisms of Governor Dewey for his failure in 1949, 1950 and this year "to take tangible "did approving steps calculated to control narcotics addiction and reduce the illegal sale of dope," Mr. Macy declared that no American family was safe from the underworld leader Charles (Lucky) Luciano, who was paroled from jail and deported to his native Italy. After expressing his horror about that parole, Mr. Macy described Luciano as "the lethal black widow spider in the center of the world narcotics web."
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