Narcotics Hearing [Day 2]

Email a Friend

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Day two of the Second Phase of the New York State Narcotics Investigation.

Sidney Tartikoff questions Joseph deAmbrose, State Narcotics Investigator, regarding licensed drug manufacturers and distributers as well as other legitimate possessors of narcotic drugs. Discusses decreased rate of illegal drug supply decline during war years largely because international shipping of illicit drug was more limited - street peddlers could not obtain heroin. Led to higher rates of fraudulent prescriptions and drug store and hospital supply closets were robbed.

After war years and shipping resumed illegitimate sources of heroin returned. Street sources increase decreased attacks on drug stores, etc.

Late 1950-1951 saw increased police activity, caused price hike of heroin - capsules went from $1 to $2. Legitimate sources of narcotics also came under attack again. deAmbrose describes some specific examples of these thefts. Including theft by hospital workers and use of stolen prescription slips.

Followed by pre-recorded interview with two recovered drug addicts:

The first interview is with a doctor who became addicted to drugs following a spinal injury, he eventually became addicted. He entered a private sanitarium for 7 months and was "cured," however four years later an emotional upset caused him to begin using again. He used for two weeks and felt he had become addicted. He voluntarily entered the United States Public Health Center at Lexington, KY. He had withdrawal therapy for 7 days, followed by occupational therapy. He was in mixed population with criminals and hardcore addicts. All conversations revolved around drugs. He felt there was more need for segregation, psychiatric help and follow-up help for after the patient leaves.

This second addict was a New York doctor who became addicted to drugs. He became addicted to morphine after using it as a sleep aid, eventually using 12 grams a day. He wrote his own prescriptions to obtain drugs. He entered a private sanitarium for treatment, which failed and then went to the United States Public Health Center Ft Worth, Texas for treatment. After withdrawal therapy he worked as a farm laborer, and left after 3 months (against medical advice). He objected to the lack of population segregation and lack of therapy. He believes that criminals should be separated from voluntary patients. Also, he believes there should be more psychotherapy.

WNYC reporter Martin Bush interviews with State Senator Seymor Halprin, Ben Gim, Sidney Tartikoff and Nathaniel Goldstein.

The testimony of Dr. Arnold Pfeffer, former chief psychiatrist at the United States Public Health Center at Lexington, KY. Pfeffer discusses the withdrawal procedure. He believes that a gradual withdrawal over a period of 10 days to two weeks is preferred. Also discusses adolescents and addiction and the role of psychiatric treatment in the treatment of addicts. Pffeffer states that adolescents must be required to remain in treatment. Emphasizes that each addicts case is unique and must be treated on an individual bases.

Testimony of Dr. Kenneth W. Chapman, Public Health Service, Assistant Division Chief at Washington, D.C. Formerly of the United States Public Health Center at Lexington, KY. Chapman notes that there have been approximately 37,000 people at the Public Health Service hospitals over the past 16 years, with the most coming from New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and New Orleans. People of all races come to the hospitals, increase in number of juveniles. He testifies that the hospitals are not overcrowded and could handle many more patients. Chapman concedes that it would be preferable for segregation within the hospital and that a follow-up program would be desirable.

Closing statements by Nathaniel Goldstein.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 69170
Municipal archives id: LT581