The New York Times March 23, 1919
Dr. Copeland Reports Great Increase In Sale of Habit-Forming Drugs Here
Dr. Royal S. Copeland, health Commissioner, who has been gathering information as to drug addicts in this city, said yesterday that in the month of January manufacturers are estimated to have sold more cocaine to wholesalers in this city than was sold in all of 1918. The February demand, he said, was so great that manufacturers had to limit their sales.
The legal sales in December in thirty-three of the 2,600 drug stores in the city indicated, he said, sales of 876 ounces of morphine, 72 ounces of cocaine, and 1,690 ounces of heroin, making a total of 2,628 ounces, which would be sufficient to give 20 grains of these drugs each day during the month to 2,000 drug addicts.
Figuring the normal medicinal dose at one-sixth to one-forth grain each day, the commissioner figured out that these sales would be sufficient to furnish drugs to 40,000 persons had it been administered medicinally. One drug store is reported to have sold 585 ounces in a month, and it was Dr. Copeland's belief that the large sales of the thirty-three stores cited indicated that a very large part of such sales were made to addicts.
Both Dr. Copeland and Dr. James A. Hamilton, Commission of Correction, emphasize that drug addiction is a disease that is not confined to the poor or the unrefined, but extends to all strata of society. Indeed, Dr. Copeland pointed out, that the rich have the advantage in that they can buy in quantity while the poor are robbed by illicit vendors who charge high prices and adulterate the drug.
"Much has been written about the constitutional rights of the drug addicts," said Dr. Hamilton, "about the unscrupulous doctors who sell drug prescriptions at 25 cents to $2; about it being a shame to send drug addicts to correctional institutions to receive treatment, and about how such addicts are abused and misused, but one does not hear so much about the constitutional rights of the rest of mankind-- the law-abiding citizen who must pay the bill, those whose homes are wrecked, whose property is endangered and whose lives are often threatened.
"Drug addiction is a disease and has become such an increasing menace that, if it is allowed to continue unchecked, it will ruin not only the individual but the nation as well."
Dr. Hamilton's study shows that 50 per cent. of those addicted to drugs have criminal histories. Some had had records before they took to drugs, but most of them went wrong after they formed the habit.
"The best treatment," says Dr. Hamilton, "is that known as reduction, which consists in reducing the dose until the craving has passed away, the patient receiving proper nourishment to build him up."
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