The New York Times August 31, 1926
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30. --- Another important step in the campaign against the drug evil
was taken at Geneva yesterday when the Humanitarian Committee of the Interparliamentary
Union adopted a resolution offered by Representative Stephen G. Porter of Pennsylvania in
favor of international prohibition of the manufacture and distribution of heroin, a
derivative of opium, said to be the most dangerous of all narcotic drugs.
Mr. Porter who as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has for some time been waging war on opium and other drugs, told the members of the committee at Geneva that at least one-third and perhaps one-half of the crimes of violence committed in the larger cities of the United States, including New York, by so-called gunmen and others, were attributable to heroin addicts.
They found it necessary, he added, to bolster their courage with large doses of heroin before attempting murders in crowded highways and elsewhere.
Word that the committee had adopted the heroin resolution was received today by Edmund F. Erk, Clerk of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in a cablegram from Mr. Porter. The Porter resolution read:
"The Interparliamentary Conference recommends for the consideration of the groups of the Union the enactment of effective laws or regulations prohibiting the manufacture and distribution of heroin.
"The Interparliamentary Bureau is requested to transmit the present resolution to the groups of the Union and to all the Governments and Parliaments of the world."
Mr. Erk also made public the statement which Mr. Porter delivered before the Committee on Social and Humanitarian Questions of the Union at Geneva yesterday in advocacy of his heroin resolution. It follows, in part:
"If we can accept the opinion of medical authorities of the highest character, heroin possesses the double action of cocaine and morphia: it produces the excitation of cocaine, together with the sedative effects of morphia. Heroin cuts off the sense of moral responsibility much quicker than morphine does and for that reason heroin addicts will more quickly commit crime with no sense of regret or responsibility.
"While heroin obliterates responsibility, as does cocaine, the muscular reaction is quicker than in the case of the later drug. From a physiological standpoint, the effect of the drug is to benumb the inhibitor and to make moral cowards, brutal, brainless men, without fear and without conscience. As an eminent physician has stated" 'It inflates the personality and exaggerates the ego.'
"My own investigation of the matter convinces me that at least
one-third, perhaps one-half, of the crimes of violence committed in the large cities of
the United States by the so-called gunmen and others is attributable to heroin addicts.
"When you consider that, in the opinion of the medical profession, the use of heroin may be discontinued without interfering with the treatment of disease, since it performs no function which cannot be supplied by other alkaloids of opium, you can readily understand why, in the light of the abuses of which the drug is susceptible, the Congress of the United States has prohibited its manufacture and distribution.
"The suppression, however, of the manufacture of heroin in the United States is of little value unless the other manufacturing nations are prepared to take similar action, because the heroin abusively used in the United States is, for the most part, manufactured abroad and enters the country through illicit channels.
"Drug addiction knows no barrier or limitation. The only way to protect the people of the world from the baneful influence of heroin is through the complete suppression of the manufacture of this most pernicious of all drugs."
Move for a New Conference.
GENEVA, Aug. 30 (UP). --- The withdrawal of the American delegation from the Geneva opium conference last year was due to failure of the powers to set a time limit for the suppression of opium smoking in their Far Eastern possession, and the acceptance of Mr. Porter's resolution is considered a signal victory in the war against the opium evil.
Another resolution adopted by the Union Committee calls attention to the danger to the health of peoples through the abuse of opium and other harmful drugs and demands limitation of the culture of the poppy and coca leaves to medicinal and scientific needs.
After emphasizing the opinions and differences concerning the value of the two Geneva opium conventions, the resolution recommends that the groups who consider these agreements as an important step in advance urge their ratification by the Government, and that the groups who are unable to share in this opinion should exert every effort to secure a revision of the agreements. This is virtually a bid for a new opium conference.