The Pure Food and Drug Act

Then the single law which has done the most in this country to reduce the level of drug addiction is none of the criminal laws we have ever passed.  The single law that reduced drug addiction the most was the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.

     The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 did three things:

     1) It created the Food and Drug Administration in Washington that must approve all foods and drugs meant for human consumption.  The very first impact of that was that the patent medicines were not approved for human consumption once they were tested.

     2) The Pure Food and Drug Act said that certain drugs could only be sold on prescription.

     3) The Pure Food and Drug Act, (and you know, this is still true today, go look in your medicine chest) requires that any drug that can be potentially habit-forming say so on it's label.  "Warning -- May be habit forming." 

     The labeling requirements, the prescription requirements, and the refusal to approve the patent medicines basically put the patent medicine business out of business and reduced that dramatic source of accidental addiction.  The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, not a criminal law, did more to reduce the level of addiction than any other single statute we have passed in all of the times from then to now.

The Situation in 1900

The Harrison Act

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