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The New York Times April 16, 1915

Problems of Drug Addiction.

For those accustomed to the use of narcotic drugs sudden and complete deprivation of them causes agonies that are nothing less in many cases than maddening and in all nearly intolerable. There may be a disposition in some quarters to regard the present coming of these tortures to those who fist find their accustomed sources of supply shut off as a punishment so well deserved as to excite little sympathy, but this view can be taken only by observers who in drug habituation see proof of vicious weakness. That, in the eyes of science it rarely or never is and very often the slavery is established without a trace of evil intention on the part of the victim.

The situation created by the Boylan law, however, has social as well as individual aspects. Even if pity were unmerited by these sufferers, the fact that their unassuaged craving frequently verges on or into a form of insanity dangerous to others as well as to themselves creates a problem that must be solved in some other way than by a cold leaving them to struggle with their misery unassisted. Facilities for receiving needed treatment, palliative or curative, already are provided to some extent, but, as is frequently the case in medical matters, while these facilities are available to the rich and to the very poor, they are to be obtained only with great difficulty and cruel humiliation by people who, while not destitute, are of means strictly limited.

For this class of addicts no systematic provision has been made, and there is reason for believing that they will be ruthlessly exploited by charlatans who, under the pretense of curing the habit, will evade the law and in effect take the place of illicit purveyors whom the law, for the time being, at least, has suppressed. The Chinese were wiser than ourselves when they undertook the abolition of opium smoking. While merciless in penalizing everything calculated to make new victims of the drug, they were lenient with the cases of hopeless addiction, and under careful restrictions allowed them to finish out their inevitably abbreviated spans of life untortured themselves and without peril to their neighbors.

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