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The New York Times January 22, 1914

Note from Cliff Schaffer: In this article, it is stated that heroin is made from cocaine.  This is not correct.  Heroin is refined from opium, the product of the opium poppy.


The first steps in a campaign started by Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt against the use of cocaine, morphine, heroin, and other drugs were under taken yesterday, when Ernest K. Coulter of the firm of Coulter & Bond, Mrs. Vanderbilt's attorney's had long conferences with Chief magistrate McAdoo and Dr. O. F. Lewis, Secretary of the Prison Association in relation to the Police Court phase of the problem. As a result of the conferences Mr. Coulter said last night there will be an attempt to obtain new legislation in this state.

It was learned last night that Mrs. Vanderbilt undertook the campaign as an individual and not in connection with the activities of any association. She has long been interested in social work and has been quietly engaged in it for several years. Yesterday she received assurances of co-operation from many persons and associations.

To the end that new laws may be enacted which will enable the authorities to cope with the situation. Mr. Coulter will confer on Saturday with Edward J. McGoldrick, Assistant Corporation Counsel, about the drafting of bills and their introduction at this session of the legislature. One law said to be particularly needed is a statute against the sale of heroin, the use of which has only recently come to the attention of the police. Heroin is made by treating cocaine with acetic acid, and as it is much cheaper than cocaine, its use is proportionally greater.

"One defect in the present law ," Mr. Coulter said last night, "is that it is hard to obtain convictions, because the drugs must be sent to the Board of Health for analyses. Since the court may hold the suspects only forty eight hours, and the chemists in the department are swamped with work, it is often impossible to get the necessary evidence in time to convict the prisoners."

Dr. Jackson R. Campbell, for twenty-seven years a physician in the Department of Correction, from whom Mr. Coulter got most of his data, said last night to a Times reporter that he was in favor of the enactment of Federal laws, whereby the manufacture and sale of cocaine and other habit-forming drugs would be taken over by the government. The drugs might then be distributed to doctors and chemists who would be held accountable for every ounce they sold. Dr. Campbell was also in favor of the isolation of drug victims.

"The use of drugs is responsible for a terrible state of affairs in this city," Dr. Campbell said. "To-night there are at least 15,000 cocaine and morphine victims in New York City. One-third of the crime may be traced to a state of mind and body produced by the use of cocaine and morphine. Forty per cent. Of those confined in the Tombs are habitual users of cocaine. Only one of three persons arrested for drug sales is held and only 50 per cent. Of those persons are convicted."

The New York State Pharmaceutical Association, whose membership incudes 40,000 New York druggists, will take up at its next convention, soon to be held in Madison Square Garden, resolutions offering to Mrs. Vanderbilt the assistance of the association and its allied organizations. The resolution will be offered by Dr. William C. Anderson of the Brooklyn Collage of Pharmacy.

Investigation shows that it is not the retail druggist who distributes the bulk of cocaine and heroin to the drug fiends," said Dr. Anderson last night. "Our association has investigated a few cases of the other sort and aided in sending the guilty druggists to prison. But the great part of the traffic is carried on by special agents dealing from state to state, an evil that only action by the national Government can correct.

"What must be done before the traffic in these deadly , habit-forming drugs is reduced to a minimum is to obtain national legislation affecting the traffic to all States. Our State laws as to cocaine are as stringent as possible, but the drug is freely bought across the river in New Jersey and carried over in the pockets of the men who make it their business to sell it to the unfortunate victims of its usage."

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