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The New York Times September 4, 1955
Javits Reports Rise
State Attorney General Jacob K. Javits declared yesterday that the use of narcotics last year might have reached "a record high."
In a report to Governor Harriman and the Legislature, Mr. Javits said that "the social malignancy of drug addiction" was again acute in the state. Basing his report on a six-month survey, he challenged optimistic reports to the contrary.
Elaborating this point, he said it was axiomatic among officials that available narcotic statistics "do not fully reveal either the true extent of traffic in drugs" or the number of addicts.
He gave a grim picture of increases in the narcotics traffic. Last year in this city, be said, arrests on charges of selling or possessing narcotics were 20 per cent higher than in the so-called epidemic year of 1951, and sentences were 35 per cent higher.
"Optimistic reports to the contrary notwithstanding," he continued, "drug use by youngsters is also on the rise. Narcotic arrests in New York City of persons under 21 jumped 20 per cent from 1953 to 1954."
He gave as a conservative estimate that addicts now "beg, borrow, sweat out or steal" upward of $40,000,000 a year in this state to pay narcotics peddlers.
He outlined a program calling for state and Federal action. It included compulsory care for addict-criminals after their release from prison, a state watchdog agency for statistical evaluation and planning, interstate agreements to build hospitals for addicts, further use of Federal hospitals for state patients and a national narcotics conference.
As he did last June 25 in testimony before a Senate judiciary subcommittee here, Mr. Javits challenged optimistic reports on the narcotics situation. James C. Ryan, superintendent of the Federal Narcotics Bureau here, sharply disputed the State Attorney General's views then.
Mr. Ryan told the subcommittee that addiction in the country totaled 80,000 cases, compared with 100,000 in 1929. He testified the number of new cases since 1951 "has been falling off." Mr. Javits, using mostly arrest figures, testified that addiction had been increasing.
Mr. Javits contended in his report that there was need for extensive medical research on the problem.
"In contrast to this condition of spreading virulence,'' he said, "is the frustrated nature of our efforts to cope with it. We lack, even now, any significant amount of experimental work that is fundamental to the creation of an effective action program for prevention or cure."
While he gave credit to agencies seeking to counter drug addiction, he pointed out that "they must rely on old ways, and there is a new challenge." As addiction rises, he added, "the rate of consequent and inevitable crime must rise."
The Attorney General's report is the third made public since the State Legislature in 1951 authorized his office to investigate the illicit use of narcotic drugs.
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