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The Traffic in Narcotics by Harry Anslinger




United States Commissioner of Narcotics



United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey Former Chairman, Legislative Commission to Study Narcotics, General Assembly of New Jersey



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Copyright, 1953, by Funk & Wagnalls, Company


The Traffic in Narcotics Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 53-6984 Copyright under the articles of the Copyright Convention of the Pan American Republics and the United States. Printed in the United States of America


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THAT THERE IS A PRESENT PROBLEM IN NARCOTICS IS WELL EVIDENCED by the continued stream of stories that appear in the daily press and in other journals---stories of teen-age addiction, of smuggling rings, of brutal crime with narcotics and drugs as a concomitant. The reports are in fact not particularly new in substance, nor are they peculiarly an attribute of our own times.

But there has been too long an attitude of withdrawal from discussion of unpleasant topics on the part of the general public resulting, most unfortunately, in an almost total unawareness of many serious social problems. That attitude has undergone a notable change with a generation that has been embroiled in two world wars and that has felt the tremendous impact of the technological advances reflected in the art of modem communication, whether used with objectivity or as propaganda. No longer does the general public reject discussion of problems that it recognizes as a true part of its social responsibility. It has come to feel that what benefits the whole must inherently benefit the individual, that what has become a problem for the individual may well become a serious problem for the community. One of these Problems of which there is an awakening social awareness is that of narcotics.

One of the recognized ways of solving a basic problem is to endeavor to understand it. The Traffic in Narcotics is an attempt to present the facts, to review, if you will, the evidence, and to reach some conclusions that may help in establishing sane, progressive, and healthy public attitudes and public action.

It is earnestly hoped that those in the professions who are often personally concerned with one or another aspect of this



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problem will find here helpful information and perhaps a wider appreciation of just what they have to contribute to the eventual control and amelioration, if not complete elimination, of this source of human degradation.

Perhaps a word will be useful on the manner in which this study has been arranged. A brief account of the history of the use of narcotics-the opium that has a long arm and no conscience-points out its antiquity and that its economic, political, and social ramifications are rooted deep in the course of history. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the world has been and is its stage.

That the reader may gain an understanding of the terms involved and just what the narcotic drugs are, their origins and principal characteristics are reviewed in a generally non-technical but sufficiently detailed way. Included, of course, are the various derivatives and the synthetic drugs which have made their appearance from the laboratory.

There follows discussion of the international scene. This is of major importance in any understanding of the subject, as it covers some forty-four years of international efforts, going back to 1909. No discussion would be complete without this survey, which is reflected in the body of laws operative in the United States, Canada, and many other countries in the pattern of international cooperation. To highlight the political factor inherent in the narcotics traffic, excerpts from several recent official discussions of the Commission on Narcotics of the United Nations illustrate points of conflict as well as present for review a public record not often accessible to the general reader.

Other chapters present the national, State, and local levels of control and law enforcement. Case histories are primarily used to characterize the scope of the traffic in its economic and social implications both for the individual and for the community.

Particular attention is called to the account of the medical aspects and of the treatment of the addict. Both the general reader and the general medical practitioner will find here, it is believed, much that is genuinely informative and encouraging in the broad sense. The authors are grateful in being able to present the outstanding work of their colleagues in tangent fields of research and public service.



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For the legislators in the various governmental units and for those in positions of authority the presentation of the Uniform Narcotics Drug Act will prove helpful in furthering the cause of narcotics control and interstate cooperation. This model law is reprinted in its entirety for reference in the Appendix.

It has been with genuine regret that any discussion of the role of education has not been found possible in this book. It would appear that as yet no consensus has developed among educators that would indicate any discernible trend for or against inclusion in the curricula or cocurricula. However, that there is here a subject of sufficient import to the community and to the individual suggests that the problem will bear careful watching and consideration by those who guide the youth of the nation in their formative years, their susceptible years.

In this connection it is to be observed that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 1951, following a League of Nations report of 1936, recommended "that propaganda in schools" could be used in certain areas of addiction and that "in other countries where it is of more sporadic character (Europe and North America), such measures would be dangerous . . ."

Throughout The Traffic in Narcotics the fact that there is a grave moral problem involved is clearly in evidence. It need not be labored here. Whether it is political, economic, or social morality the reader will quickly decide for himself. But that it is some man or woman, some child, who is the victim, is an inescapable conclusion. And it is this individual who must never be lost sight of in the consideration of the broader aspects of the problem.

The fact that millions of sufferers have had their pain assuaged throughout the ages by the opiates lessens not one whit the importance of a full understanding of the problem of narcotics and of the dissipation of public and individual ignorance. This understanding involves a knowledge of how the trafficker in narcotics operates, of what is being done to stop him and what still remains to be accomplished, and of why the citizen must not turn aside and rely on another to be the good Samaritan. For drug addiction is murder on the instalment plan.

The authors are convinced that though the situation today is disquieting despite forty-four years of striving for a system of



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international control, it would have been disastrous without those years of effort. It is a little known and too seldom mentioned fact that there is one important field of international diplomacy in which the United States Government has for several decades met with amazing and continuing success. There have been few more dramatic or more fruitful efforts at international collaboration than those in the field of the control of narcotic drugs. The results obtained are outstanding.

In this book three essentials have been stressed: international cooperation, compulsory hospitalization for the addict, and stringent penalties for the trafficker in narcotics. These are immediate steps toward the final goal.

It should be said by way of dedication that this study is presented with the sincere hope that it might contribute something of genuine value to an alerted general public and to those organizations within it which strive so consistently in the public weal: to the lawmaker who faces the problem of establishing public policy; to the law enforcement officers on all levels who serve to protect the public as well as to apprehend the criminal; to the physician in whose hands lies the gravest responsibility of use and abuse and of beneficent cure; to the pharmacist who dispenses the drugs for good or evil; to the social worker who must process his "cases" with humanity and broad understanding; to the educator who shares the responsibility in the guidance of youth; to the scientist whose researches are so important; and to all those who labor in the field of international cooperation.

June, 1953

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