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The New York Times December 5, 1916

The drug evil has now reached into every corner of the city with amazing rapidity, according to testimony given at the city hall yesterday afternoon at the first hearing of the Joint Legislative Committee appointed last Spring to investigate the habit-forming drug traffic, with a view to remedial legislation. In spite of the Boylan law, which, it was admitted, had produced many good results, it was the belief of District Attorney Francis J. Martin of the Bronx, Assistant District Attorney Albert B. Unger of Manhattan, Howard Clark barber, Superintendent of the society for the Prevention of Crime, and Dr. Ernest C. Bishop, in charge of narcotic wards of the workhouse on Blackwell's Island, that the number of addicts in this city had been increased to 200,000.

Senator George H. Whitney of Mechanicsville, chairman of the joint committee, presided, and with him were Senator John J. Boylan and Assemblyman R. M. Prangen, George F. Brennan, and Maurice Block. Mr. Unger asserted that the present law regulating the sale of narcotics acted as a bulwark and protection for unscrupulous physicians and druggists. He then asked leave to submit the rest of his statement to the committee for its private consideration, lest the publication of the defects in the law should inspire its breakers to greater activity.

Mr. Unger said it generally was believed that most of the habit-forming drugs that were sold in this city were exported from this country to either Canada or Mexico and then smuggled back into the United States. District Attorney Martin of the Bronx concurred in this view.

Howard Clark Barbour suggested that the committee investigate the methods and results of the treatment of drug victims in the hospitals where, he said he was reliably informed, a substantial number of addicts died under treatment either because of incompetence or ignorance.

"The number of addicts is increasing all the time, "said Dr. Bishop. "I remember when victims sent to us were men, some of them aged, but now they are chiefly young men and boys. Those victims are divided into addicts of the upper world, and addicts of the lower world.

The addicts of the upper world are legion. They include judges, physicians, lawyers, and ministers. You have no idea of the tremendous number of addicts, and most of them have tried any number of treatments. Withdrawal of narcotic drugs is not a cure."

Dr. Bishop, when asked by Chairman Whitney if he believed narcotics should be prescribed for a man, for instance, 60 years old who had been using drugs for twenty-five years, answered in the affirmative.

"I believe a good deal of the increase in the underworld addicts," he added, "is a result of scared physicians. I believe it would be a measure of relief if you would open a supply of drugs from which an addict who is honest may get needed drugs his physician is afraid to prescribe for him. You will at least cut off the under world. An honest man who has become an addict must have drugs to keep in condition to work and support his family. If his physician will not prescribe it for him, he will surely get it through the under world."

Dr. Bishop said the drug evil was in all our institutions, such as the Tombs and Workhouse. As long as there were men in agony because of the drug need they would get the drug if it was obtainable.

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