Streams

Narcotics Hearings [Day 1]

Monday, October 22, 1951

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

Second Phase of the New York State Narcotics Investigation, led by New York State Attorney General Nathaniel L. Goldstein, along with Sidney Tartikoff, assistant Attorney General, Benny Gim, special assistant Attorney General and former Federal narcotics agent, and State Senator Seymour Halpern.

The focus of this first day of the second phase was on the rehabilitation of addicts.

Benny Gim testifies to the statistics of drug related arrests - illustrating that drug arrests are on the rise, and that arrests among teenagers are increasing particularly (specifically, arrests for teenagers were 30 times higher than in 1946).

Included in the day's testimony were pre-recorded testimony of drug addicts.

First taped interview is with a 20 year old "girl" who began smoking marijuana in 1949 and quickly moved on to shooting up speedballs. Was arrested and sent to prison (for prostitution), where she broke her habit cold turkey. Began using again once she was released and currently has a $12/day habit. Has decided to go to the United States Public Health Hospital in Lexington, KY for "the cure" because she has a child and a boyfriend who does not know about her addiction.

Second taped interview is a teen who went to rehabilitation at the United States Public Health Hospital at Lexington, KY. He describes the treatment there also discusses some of its drawbacks - mainly that the populations are mixed, meaning that older addicts are mixed in with the youth. The older addicts taught the teen that he could get prescriptions for opium.

Dr. Paul Zimmering, senior psychologist at Bellevue Hospital, in charge of the adolescent boys ward testifies about youth drug addictions. He says that most of the teenage addicts he has seen are basically good kids.

The last taped interview is the testimony of a 37-year-old housewife and mother, recently released as "cured" after having four times previously "taken the cure" at Lexington and four or five times at private sanitariums. The woman told how she began smoking opium out of curiosity aroused on a "date," when she was 16 and working in Boston as a waitress; graduated to heroin; was arrested thirty-three times for prostitution and other offenses she committed to get money for narcotics; relapsed into addiction after five private "cures" and four stays in Lexington because she had never really "made up my mind" to stay away from narcotics until after her child was born. The woman was sent to Lexington by the courts she underwent the full five-month "cure," but on other occasions she had as a voluntary patient, checked out after stays ranging from two to twelve days.

Dr. Marie Nyswander, psychatrist, formerly worked at the United States Public Health Hospital discussed high rates of recidivism among patients. Also, she talks about the social problems related to addiction and the factors related to addiction and treatment.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection


WNYC archives id: 69169
Municipal archives id: LT580

Contributors:

Benjamin Gim, Nathaniel L. Goldstein, Seymour Halpern, Marie Nyswander, Sidney Tartikoff and Paul Zimmering

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