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One thing, however, they did have in common: all were eventually closed by the federal government, most within a year of opening their doors. Treasury Department officials, determined to eliminate both licit and illicit sources of narcotics for addicts, viewed the clinics as dangerous precedents and potential obstacles to the rigorous enforcement of the Harrison Act, as recently interpreted by the Supreme Court. Consequently, they moved to abort them through a combination of critical inspections, threats, and legal pressure.

February 10, , when the last clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, was finally forced to break off maintenance operations, is as appropriate a date as any to mark the beginning of the "classic" police era of narcotic control. The unprecedented nature of federal narcotic policy after is underscored by the fact that alcoholic beverage prohibition applied only to manufacture and sale. Neither the Eighteenth Amendment nor the law that implemented it, the Volstead Act, barred personal use and consumption by alcoholics or, for that matter, anyone else.

National prohibition, moreover, was controversial from the start and lasted only 14 years. Large numbers of apparently normal people continued to drink; they resented both the prices they had to pay for bootlegged alcohol and the prohibitionists who meddled with their customary freedoms. The laws proved virtually unenforceable, as criminals manufactured or diverted alcohol and speakeasies spread across the land.

The byproducts of Prohibition-gangsterism, corruption, and methanol poisoning—filled the front pages. Ardent supporters grew disenchanted. Powerful business and opinion leaders such as Pierre du Pont and William Randolph Hearst campaigned for repeal. A well-funded national organization, the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, maintained a drumfire of criticism and propaganda. The public was told that the noble experiment had backfired and was creating a nation of drunkards. The war against narcotics, by contrast, was thought to be successful in reducing nonmedical addiction and was so portrayed by government officials.

The onset of depression in handed the antiprohibitionists a new and decisive argument: money. Virtually no one spoke up for the narcotic user, however; there was no Association Against the Harrison Act. On the contrary, the national champions of repeal, including Hearst and Roosevelt, persisted in seeing drug use as a criminal menace and condoned restrictive measures. One "wet" argument, dating back to the early state prohibition battles, had been that frustrated drinkers would turn to narcotic drugs, which would madden and enslave them. Hostile toward addicts anyway, it suited the purposes of the antiprohibitionists to maintain them as a negative reference point, the dead end of their ad horrendum stories.

As for the addicts themselves, they were too few and too marginal to carry much political weight. Many of them were convicted felons and thus could not even vote. There was little that they could do about the refusal to allow maintenance, a policy that lasted more than 40 years. When the antimaintenance regime was finally challenged, it was not by the narcotic users but by an elite group of professionals—mainly lawyers, physicians, and social scientists—who had become convinced that it was unjust and unworkable.

In attacking the Bureau of Narcotics, they too invoked the alleged failures of Prohibition, arguing that it was useless and counterproductive to outlaw addictive substances. It also seemed a double standard to permit pathogens like alcohol and tobacco, while proscribing "narcotics" of lesser or unproven danger, without which regular users would become violently ill. This was a fair point but, like all rational arguments, it had its limits. There was still a powerful, visceral fear of narcotic addicts and all they stood for. It was the social and moral connotations of narcotic addiction that mattered, not just the mental and physical effects of the drugs themselves.

The personification of the antinarcotic regime was Harry Jacob Anslinger, head or, to his critics, "czar" of the Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger was a minor diplomat who in the s became involved with efforts to prevent liquor from being smuggled into the country. He was a competent and honest functionary in a field not known for either trait, and in he was made assistant commissioner of prohibition.

When the Bureau of Narcotics was spun off as a distinct organization in —partly to distance it from the furor over alcohol prohibition—Anslinger was named its first commissioner, a post he retained until There was a peculiar, Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect to Anslinger's personality. The private man was humorous, cosmopolitan, fluent in several languages, musically accomplished, devoted to his wife, and loyal to his hometown friends.

Anslinger also possessed a keen political intelligence. Like his contemporary Lyndon Johnson, he knew exactly whom to cultivate to advance his interests. Anslinger is remembered, however, not as a man of exceptional gifts or as a deft bureaucrat but as the ultimate tough cop. His appearance—bald, barrel-chested, square-jawed, and unsmiling, a sort of beefy Mussolini—had much to do with this. By all accounts Anslinger was intimidating. One visitor described him as "a man whose eyes seem to be cataloguing you—your features, build, clothes. When explaining or defending his policies, Anslinger was given to curt aphorisms: "Wherever you find severe penalties, addiction disappears," or "The best cure for addiction?

Never let it happen. It was, moreover, their only hope of cure. Unless addicts were confined where there was no possibility of obtaining drugs, Anslinger believed, withdrawal treatment was bound to fail. He strongly favored compulsory commitment and fretted that most states lacked statutes permitting them to pick up addicts and force them into institutions.

Yet even this was not enough. Anslinger understood that narcotic trafficking was international in scope and required diplomatic efforts as well as strict domestic enforcement. He tirelessly attended meetings sponsored by the League of Nations, seeking agreements that would make it more difficult to smuggle drugs. In , for example, he took an active role in negotiating an international pact to limit the manufacture of narcotics.

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Nations ratifying the treaty, of which there were 25 by , were to make or import no more narcotics than necessary for estimated annual medical use, thereby reducing the surplus available for diversion into the illicit market. Like many American diplomats of his generation, Anslinger saw the world in black and white terms. Most nations were good in that they were willing to assist others in the international campaign against the drug evil. There were also bad states, however, that not only refused to cooperate but actually used narcotics as an instrument of subversion and conquest.

In every territory conquered by the Japanese, a large part of the people become enslaved with drugs. It is not coincidental that all of the bad nations were, at the time Anslinger assailed them, military and ideological rivals of the United States. Narcotic policy dovetailed with foreign policy, a fact that enhanced Anslinger's prestige as well as his bureau's budget.

The one eventuality that Anslinger had to guard against was the return of legal maintenance. This, he felt, would utterly defeat his plans to keep drugs out of the hands of addicts and their associates. The potential danger was great. The medical profession was enormously powerful and prestigious, having achieved what sociologist Paul Starr has called "sovereign" status by the s.

If physicians took seriously the idea that addiction was a disease and that, lacking a sure cure, the most favorable course of treatment was maintenance, 19 then they might challenge, and ultimately defeat, the tenuous legal basis for narcotic prohibition. Fortunately for Anslinger, most practitioners were disinclined to rock the boat. Like the public at large, they tended to see drug users, especially heroin addicts and opium smokers, as vicious and declasse.

Physicians were in any case oriented toward treating somatic disorders, and the dominant medical opinion of the day declared narcotic addiction to be a manifestation of psychopathology, that is, not a physical disease at all. The psychopathy thesis was popularized by Dr. Lawrence Kolb, who was regarded as the leading addiction specialist of the mid-twentieth century. Like Anslinger, Kolb thought of addiction treatment as a process of institutionalization, detoxification, rehabilitation, and abstinence.

Although Kolb occasionally complained to Anslinger of overly zealous law enforcement, the approaches of the two men were on the whole quite compatible. Kolb and his coworkers at the U.

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With the closure of the municipal narcotic clinics in the early s, there were virtually no government facilities for the treatment of addicts. They either had to remain at large or silt up the nation's prisons, which were ill designed to deal with their problems. The solution proposed by Pennsylvania Representative Stephen G. Porter and enthusiastically backed by the Hearst newspaper chain was to construct special facilities to quarantine and rehabilitate addicts.

These "narcotic farms" were to be set in rural areas so that addicts could be removed from the tempting cities and set to healthful work. Money was authorized in The first narcotic farm, officially known as the U. A second narcotic farm was opened in Fort Worth in Of the two, Lexington was the larger and more prominent. It was to remain the single most important treatment and research facility in the country well into the s.

From the beginning Lexington had a mixed institutional character. Federal prison and narcotic officials saw it mainly as a penitentiary where troublesome addicts could be isolated and confined; Public Health Service physicians saw it as a hospital where mentally disturbed addicts could be treated and rehabilitated. Architecturally, Lexington reflected the official ambivalence: its beds and wards were secured with massive gates and intricate locks. As one doctor remembered it, Lexington was "more like a prison than a hospital and more like a hospital than a prison. As a dual-purpose institution, Lexington had a dual system of admissions.

Prisoner addicts could be sent there involuntarily for confinement and treatment, but voluntary patients were also permitted to check in on a space-available basis. The problem was that volunteers could leave at any time, whereas prisoners had to stay until they were paroled or completed their terms, which might be months or years after withdrawal was completed.

The staff, in other words, had little or no control over the time of release. The addicts who went to Lexington were of two minds about the place. To some it represented a haven, a clean and well-run institution where a user could detoxify, receive medical and dental care, and obtain counseling, decent food, work, and exercise. I'm a drug addict. I want to quit. Others viewed this sort of behavior with disdain. You want my honest opinion of the people who went down there on their own? They never should have been on heroin. They didn't have the ability to support a habit: either they couldn't make enough money working, or they weren't thieves, or they were afraid to deal.

Every time things got bad—boom! See, if you go down there once, I can understand it. Even twice, even three times I can understand, if a guy makes some kind of an effort to stay away from heroin when he comes out. But a lot of users go back to heroin immediately, and then use Lexington as a fall-back, a port in the storm.

The estimate of 75 percent is actually conservative. Several studies showed that 90 percent or more of those released from Lexington soon relapsed. These depressing figures gave rise to a controversy, muted at first but increasingly contentious by the early s. Different theories of relapse were advanced, attributing it to everything from underlying personality disorders to conditioned responses to permanent metabolic changes.

Some even argued that addicts returned to drug use because they missed the intense excitement of hustling and scoring drugs; once they were "in the life," everything else seemed boring by comparison. Whatever the reason, the fact remained that large numbers of patient-inmates speedily relapsed after their release. The Lexington and Forth Worth narcotic farms survived as long as they did largely because they were compatible with official policy.

Institutions that were quasi-penal and geared toward abstinence were acceptable to Anslinger, even if they did not produce large numbers of permanent cures. What was not acceptable was any form of organized maintenance, against which he fulminated at every opportunity. Anslinger blamed the rudimentary clinic system of the early s for "a tremendous rise in teen-age drug addiction" and predicted that a return to such folly would increase the narcotic problem nearly fold. Maintenance was also deeply repugnant: "the idea of giving a teenager heroin for the rest of his life is unthinkable.

Why not set up bars for alcoholics or department stores for kleptomaniacs or brothels for homosexuals. He relied on the antinarcotic consensus to help him in his long, preemptive battle against maintenance; he was abetted by reporters, editorialists, political cartoonists, and filmmakers, who consistently portrayed narcotic traffickers as murderous villains.

Again and again, Americans were told that the role of the government was to eliminate peddlers, not to assume their role. Anslinger may have exploited public antipathy toward narcotic dealers and users, but he did not invent it. The antinarcotic consensus had arisen from the earlier transformation of the addict population, a real demographic event helped along by imaginative statisticians and propagandists. During Anslinger's long tenure the addict population continued to evolve in a way that further strengthened his hand.

The key change was the growing use of heroin by black men. Blacks were not considered heavy drug users early in the century. They lived mainly in the rural South, were poor, and had less access to opiates than whites, who could afford doctors and patent medicines. Black workers occasionally used cocaine, as did prostitutes and petty criminals. A few field hands smoked marijuana, and some unemployed men drank excessively, but, with these exceptions, blacks had neither a disproportionate nor a very serious drug problem.

On the contrary, the prevailing racial stereotype of the narcotic addict was white or Oriental. After World War II the situation changed completely. Middle-class whites came to "imagine that ghettos [were] filled with black men mugging whites for money to pay for heroin and then injecting this evil drug so that they can spend the rest of the day nodding away in a blissful vacuum.

Not only were black addicts turning up more often in federal treatment centers but they were being booked more frequently by the police, to the point that, by the s, half or more of all narcotic arrests involved blacks. Something similar was happening in the Hispanic communities. In only about 1 percent of the addicts treated at Lexington were Hispanic; by more than a quarter were— Iiyama, S. Nishi, and B. Johnson, Drug Use and Abuse among U. Ball and CD. Chambers, eds. Data of this sort have been criticized as misleading because minorities are treated prejudicially and are hence more likely to end up in institutions or jails.

They are particularly vulnerable during periods of racial or nativist tension, economic dislocations, or politically motivated crackdowns. These biases are real but in one sense irrelevant. Statistics such as these, amplified and personalized by news stories and photographs, shape public opinion, regardless of their factual basis. Rightly or wrongly, the black junkie became a stereotype, and that made a difference. Moreover, even though these percentages may overstate the degree of involvement, there is no reason to doubt that minorities were using drugs in the s and s in a way they had not been before.

Black narcotic arrests, for example, were increasing absolutely as well as relatively, rising from a mere nationally in to 4, in to 11, in An increase of that magnitude, sustained over a long period of time, is due to something more than prejudice. Black writers and intellectuals were also sounding the alarm. Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land contains a bitter account of the "shit plague" that befell New York City's neighborhoods in the early s.

Not only Harlem, "but in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and everyplace I went, uptown and downtown. It was like horse had just taken over. It is not hard to understand why this happened. Black narcotic use was a concomitant of urbanization. During to , and again during to , millions of blacks left the countryside for larger towns and cities. Jim Crow, disfranchisement, poverty, boll weevils, and agricultural mechanization made it difficult to stay, higher paying industrial jobs, especially during the war years, made it tempting to leave.

Some migrants settled in southern cities; most eventually moved on to the North or West. Three major routes developed: from the south Atlantic seaboard toward the northeast urban corridor; from Mississippi toward Chicago; and from Texas and Louisiana toward California. In not a single city in the country contained , blacks. By New York City alone had more than a million. In , 73 percent of the black population was rural. In , 73 percent was urban. The blacks who fled the South were mainly young, unattached adults whose futures lay before them.

Not only did they have to face the classic dilemma of an uprooted peasantry—how to adjust to the city when what they knew was the land-but to do so under the worst possible circumstances, crowded into stinking, overpriced tenements. So were their children, particularly those who had left school, were out of work, and spent their time on the street. The result could easily have been predicted: a growing incidence of black heroin addiction, particularly among the traditional high-risk group of single males in their late teens or early twenties. To say that such an event was predictable is not to indulge in historical hindsight.

There was ample precedent for what happened to the black urban community. It had happened before to other immigrants living in the same or similar neighborhoods. White ethnic addicts who started using narcotics in the s and s had substantially the same experiences as blacks who began in the s and s. They grew up in or moved to neighborhoods where drugs could be procured; they were on their own or unsupervised; they had friends who were users; they yielded to curiosity or peer pressure and tried it for themselves. Thus, the ethnic slum, matrix of heroin use from about on, continued to spawn illicit narcotic use throughout the twentieth century.

Several factors, however, made the immigration-slums-narcotics tangle worse for blacks than for previous groups. First, because of their color, blacks had been and continued to be the objects of especially virulent racism. To the extent that this racism translated into educational and occupational handicaps, and to the extent that unemployment and poverty were conducive to drug and alcohol abuse, urban blacks were especially vulnerable. Living for the present made more sense for those who felt excluded from the future.

Partly because of this legacy of racism, blacks had fewer political and organizational resources than other groups. There was, for example, no black counterpart to the New York Kehillah's Bureau of Social Morals, which monitored drug dealers in the Jewish immigrant community. Ghetto blacks also had fewer familial resources. Why this was so has become a political and intellectual cause celebre; the fact remains that minority family dislocation did occur and it did contribute to addiction. The Road to H, a major study of young heroin users in New York City in the s, found that 97 percent of addicts' families were characterized by "a disturbed relationship between the parents, as evidenced by separation, divorce, open hostility, or lack of warmth and mutual interest.

It is not likely to be done very well if parents are distracted, absent—or busy shooting up in the bathroom. Finally, there was the permanence of the black ghetto. Many of the white urban immigrants and their descendants were able to distance themselves from the tenements, moving to better quarters in safer neighborhoods and eventually to the suburbs.

Each step took them farther away from the primary illicit narcotic markets; indeed, to distance themselves from drugs and crime was one of the reasons suburbanites moved in the first place. Low-income blacks were not as fortunate. Even as the Civil Rights movement achieved its judicial and legislative triumphs, a collective decision was made to abandon blacks in the inner city, to leave them behind with inferior schools and inadequate services in an environment virtually assured to perpetuate poverty.

This was the result, not of a single grand conspiracy but of a thousand private, uncoordinated ones: restrictive covenants, realtors' whispered advice, bankers' lending practices. The federal government generously subsidized the fleeing whites through its tax, transportation, and mortgage policies. Urban abandonment soon developed its own momentum: as inner-city conditions progressively worsened, pressure grew on the remaining whites to escape beyond municipal lines, taking their tax dollars with them.

Educated and upwardly mobile blacks were able to follow them to the suburbs, but those who were unemployed or underemployed had to stay behind. The decaying neighborhoods in which they lived were areas of heavy drug trafficking and use. Heroin became a staple in the ghetto economy, and black children grew up around older users who were both role models and potential initiators. Continued exposure, persistent discrimination, and progressive familial breakdown assured that subsequent generations of urban blacks would also suffer high rates of addiction.

What began as an epidemic among black youth in the late s and s has long since become endemic to the urban underclass. The growing involvement of blacks and Hispanics with narcotics and the consequent racial transformation of the addict population did not go unnoticed in high places. Anslinger himself emphasized this development. What happened to the white addicts? You don't see them. There is no drug addiction if the child comes from a good family, with the church, the home, and the school all integrated.

There was truth in what Anslinger said, however bluntly he expressed it. Historically, children who were not poor, who were raised in intact families and socialized by middle-class institutions, were impervious to heroin. He did not, however, advance to the conclusion implied by his analysis: doing something about black addiction meant doing something about black economic and social conditions.

Instead, Anslinger fell back on what he knew best, enforcement. During the s he pushed for ever tougher sanctions against traffickers, believing that the ultimate solution lay in choking off the illicit supply. Congress, alarmed by stories of teenage users, the darkening racial cast of institutionalized addicts, the postwar renaissance of the Mafia, and the alleged trafficking of nonwhite communist countries like China, was in a mood to agree. In it passed the Boggs Act and in the Narcotic Control Act, providing progressively stiffer, mandatory sentences for possession and sale.

The inflexible provisions of these laws sometimes resulted in blatant mis-carriages of justice. In one instance a Chicano epileptic with an I. Many states, nevertheless, followed suit, passing "Little Boggs Laws" that pegged minimum prison terms at or beyond the federal levels. A Louisiana statute provided mandatory sentences ranging from 5 to 99 years for persons who sold, possessed, or administered narcotics.

In Texas possession of marijuana was punishable by 2 years to life. These were not isolated events; across the country nonfederal narcotic prosecutions were up sharply during the s.

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Historians who have studied American narcotic policy are agreed that the s marked the zenith of the punitive approach. The "new spasm of concern" felt during this decade translated into "increased regulation in familiar patterns," comments H. Wayne Morgan.

Why did this happen? The question must be answered on several levels. In the broadest terms, the Bureau of Narcotics and allied organizations were unable to bring about a lasting solution, as urban narcotic addiction remained a serious, widely publicized problem in the early s. A Vietnam-like disillusionment began to set in: despite decades of escalating sanctions, narcotics were still finding their way onto the streets of America's cities.

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It was not for want of trying that the Bureau of Narcotics failed to stop the traffic permanently; under Anslinger it was one of the country's more efficient police organizations and the one most feared by organized crime. The problem lay in the nature of the case. Narcotics are highly compact, easily hidden substances. Two kilos in a false-bottomed suitcase are worth a small fortune. They are also reasonably easy to acquire because opium is a major cash crop and only a fraction of the world's harvest is sufficient to supply American addicts' needs.

Traffickers would forego these geographical advantages if deterred by threat of punishment, but here the bureau encountered a paradox. Successful prosecutions take suppliers out of circulation and heighten the level of risk. Given what economists call an inflexible demand curve addicts are generally steady customers , restrictions on supply and increased risk quickly translate into higher prices.

The profits to be made from selling adulterated heroin to addicts tempt other criminals to jump into the market—criminals who are generally more ruthless and better organized than those previously arrested or deterred. Anslinger realized that the way out of this paradox was to simultaneously reduce demand by isolating and then curing addicts.

Fewer customers would mean smaller profits for dealers, and at some point the illicit trade would cease to be worth the risk. The catch was that Lexington-style institutions failed to effect many permanent cures: as previously noted, addicts often went through several times, relapsing after every treatment.

Narcotic wards were not without value: detoxification brought respite from the street grind and helped addicts keep their habits within manageable bounds. But the generally high relapse rates provoked skepticism and lent credence to the cliche, ''once a junkie, always a junkie. Dissatisfaction with the big, revolving-door institutions eventually led to a search for other programs that might help addicts.

One possible alternative was Synanon, a therapeutic community that evolved in Ocean Park, California, in the late s under the direction of Charles Dederich, an ex-alcoholic. Dederich made no bones about the authoritarian nature of Synanon; he consciously recreated an autocratic family environment to keep people in line. He also relied heavily on group encounters led by a "Synanist," or experienced former addict.

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These encounters were intended to make the participants come to terms with their feelings, to assume responsibility for their own lives, and to learn to deal with their problems without recourse to drugs or alcohol. Once they could do that, they could theoretically return to the world and lead "straight" lives.

Synanon was a relatively small-scale operation. Its real significance was that it inspired several physicians, clergymen, and social workers to establish "second-generation" therapeutic communities throughout the country. These were patterned after Synanon but incorporated significant individual variations. Several of the most important of these programs, such as Daytop Village, Odyssey House, and Phoenix House, had their inception in the middle s.

They did not expand rapidly, however, until the later s and early s, when the Lexington approach was officially discredited, the country was in the midst of a youthful drug epidemic, and private and public funding for community drug treatment programs of all sorts was readily available. It is important to point out that, although the leaders of the therapeutic community movement criticized the impersonality and ineffectiveness of existing addiction treatment programs, they shared the traditional assumptions that abstinence was the ultimate goal and that the police should suppress the illicit narcotic traffic.

Some critics, however, began to question the very moral and political bases of American narcotic policies. Increasingly in the s, liberal commentators asked why the country had a narcotic problem. Were drugs evil because they were physical and social pathogens?

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Or were they pathogens because illegal, hence adulterated and exorbitantly priced? Would addicts behave differently if the maintenance taboo were broken and they could receive cheap, pure medication? Specifically, would maintenance reduce the number of crimes addicts committed? Would it provide a way out of a destructive subculture and back into the productive world of family and work?

These were not new questions; they had been pointedly asked by the pioneers of organized maintenance, physicians like Charles Terry and Willis Butler. But now, after 40 years of apparently self-defeating police solutions, they were being raised again by such critics as the sociologist Alfred Lindesmith. Like most twentieth-century liberals, Lindesmith was a negative utilitarian. He believed that if a law produced many costs and few benefits, it was irrational and should be modified or abolished.

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This belief was the premise of his influential study, The Addict and the Law, in which he argued that American addicts were both more numerous and more "impoverished, degraded, and demoralized" than elsewhere in the Western world. He cited police estimates that up to 50 percent of big-city crime was due to addicts hustling to support their habits. Lindesmith and others essentially charged the Narcotics Bureau with benighted prohibitionism, resulting in huge costs to both users and society. If the crime issue was one fault line along which the narcotic consensus fractured, then marijuana was another.

Marijuana had come under the Bureau of Narcotics' jurisdiction as a result of the Marijuana Tax Act, passed by Congress at Anslinger's urging. Like cocaine, marijuana was identified with an internal minority Mexicans and alleged to produce insanity and violent, unpredictable behavior. Later, its prohibition was rationalized by what came to be known as the stepping-stone hypothesis: marijuana was not in itself habit forming, but its use led to drugs that were—like heroin.

They started there and graduated to heroin; they took to the needle when the thrill of marijuana was gone. Again, Anslinger had appropriated a partial truth. Minority addicts treated at the federal narcotic hospitals typically smoked marijuana a year or two before using heroin. It did not follow, however, that marijuana led ineluctably to heroin. Many adolescents from the same milieu, including delinquents and gang members, smoked marijuana but refrained from trying opiates.

Growing numbers of college-age marijuana smokers discovered this for themselves in the s. Marijuana might not be good for their lungs, or their memories, or their waistlines, but neither did it lead to rape, madness, or axe murder. Moreover, if the authorities had misrepresented the dangers posed by marijuana, what of the other drugs they controlled? Just what was wrong with "narcotics? What, in fact, was wrong with all the great American taboos? The ultimate basis for the suppression of nonmedical drug use lay in the realm of moral assumptions.

Americans of the classic period were, to a degree unknown today, governed by a popular moral code, postulated on the self-evident correctness of patriotism, self-discipline, hard work, self-reliance, family stability, personal honesty, and self-restraint. During the s, however, these traditional values—Harry Anslinger's values—were increasingly questioned. The principal challenges came from the mass media, the youthful counterculture, and skeptical "new class" intellectuals who were disenchanted by the status quo and optimistic that they could replace it with something better.

Whatever the merits of their critique, American society did change, becoming noticeably more permissive and secular. Although this social revolution did not peak until the s, it was well under way by the mids, and it did not augur well for strict narcotic control. That analogy would be effective with a traditionalist, one who was instinctively homophobic. But for someone beginning to doubt the received wisdom, wondering if the suppression of homosexuality might not itself be unfair and counterproductive, the argument would not carry much weight.

It might even backfire, lending credence to the belief that America or Amerika, as it was soon to be called was blindly opposed to all forms of social and political liberation, of which drug use was but one instance. As for narcotic officials, they had more on their minds than the unfavorable turn of the zeitgeist. A more immediate problem, which Anslinger concealed but never resolved, was their shaky legal foundation.

The denial of maintenance was predicated on distant and narrowly decided Supreme Court cases; there were also contrary precedents, like the Linder ruling. These weaknesses were not apparent to the general public, but they were known and discussed within the legal and medical communities, together with the more general question of the propriety of maintenance. Authored by a panel of physicians, lawyers, and judges, and based on three years of research in the United States and Britain, the Interim Report was a temperate critique of the police approach with suggestions for further research and trial programs.

Doubting ''whether drug addicts can be deterred from using drugs by threats of jail or prison sentences," it recommended the establishment of an experimental outpatient clinic that might, under certain circumstances, supply addicts so they would not have to patronize illicit dealers. Anslinger, who saw this guarded proposal as the hole that would sunder the dike, immediately plugged it with his fist. Denouncing the committee's plan as "so simple that only a simpleton could think it up," he launched a campaign of vilification against his opponents.

The piece de resistance was Comments on Narcotic Drugs , a rebuttal by the "Advisory Committee to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics" that Anslinger quickly assembled. Clinics were portrayed as proven failures, liable to spread addiction and to provide comfort to the nation's communist enemies. The solution was not less punishment but more: "Only under the impact of heavy prison sentences can we hope to rout the scum of the criminal world.

As far as Anslinger was concerned, they ought to join the addicts in jail. His bureau spokesmen openly accused the critics of Hitlerian "Big Lie'' tactics and of endangering the health and morals of the nation. It did not work. Anslinger not only failed to discredit or suppress the report—it was published in. The year brought further slippage. On June 25 the Supreme Court decided, in Robinson v. California, to strike down a California statute making addiction to the use of narcotics a misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days to a year in the county jail.

The Court, recalling the language of Linder that addicts "are diseased and proper subjects for [medical] treatment," condemned prison as a cruel and unusual punishment for the sick. The addiction-as-disease theme was being sounded elsewhere as well. Kolb, once Anslinger's wary collaborator, had grown increasingly disenchanted with punitive tactics.

He now called openly for Americans to rid themselves "of the fury that propagandists have injected into our laws, administrative practices, and attitudes concerning addiction. In Anslinger was forced to retire, having reached the age of He was succeeded by the Narcotics Bureau's deputy commissioner, Henry L. Anslinger did not disappear from the scene altogether; he put in an appearance at a large White House Conference on Narcotic Drug Abuse in September but seemed uncharacteristically subdued.

Among its recommendations were more flexible sentencing, wider latitude in medical treatment, and more emphasis on rehabilitation and research. Heresies were spreading about the land now, and these even bore the imprimatur of a presidential commission. The time was ripe for someone to heed the many calls for research and actually put together an experimental maintenance program. That task was accomplished in by Marie Nyswander, a psychiatrically trained clinician who had experience treating addicts, and Vincent Dole, a metabolic disease specialist who had no such experience but who brought a fresh approach to the problem.

Dole began what he was later to call "humdrum observational research" with several basic pharmacological and physiological questions: What effects do opiates actually have? Why are they bad for people? What is wrong with narcotic maintenance? The answer to the latter, he discovered, was that it was extremely difficult to stabilize the amount and frequency of the dose.

Subjects to whom he gave morphine constantly badgered him for more. He was prepared to concede the wisdom of the antimaintenance philosophy when he made a chance discovery. The patients to whom he gave methadone, a long-acting, synthetic opiate, did not behave in an objectionable way. They were not preoccupied with drugs and began to turn their attention to conventional pursuits like sports or work or school. Although thoroughly addicted, their behavior appeared quite normal.

Ultimately, Dole and Nyswander hypothesized that addicts had undergone a permanent metabolic change, that they needed narcotics in a visceral way, the way a diabetic needs insulin. This explained relapse and why abstinence was not a realistic goal. But methadone maintenance could satisfy the underlying craving and enable the addict to lead a normal and productive life. Methadone could be taken orally once a day, so addicts would not have to constantly inject themselves with possibly contaminated needles. At a sufficiently high dose, methadone blocked the euphoric effects of a shot of heroin, so that addicts would not be tempted to continue using illegal narcotics.

Nor would they need to because methadone, itself a narcotic, prevented withdrawal sickness. Finally, methadone was cheap and legal. Addicts could escape the grind of hustling and scoring, thereby improving their lives and reducing the amount of crime. There was, inevitably, a reaction as both the premises and results of methadone maintenance were called into question. Critics said that the hypothesized metabolic change was mere speculation; that methadone was just a quick chemical fix, substituting one drug for another; and that it failed to significantly reduce criminal or antisocial behavior because it ignored the underlying problems of addicts—inferior or abnormal personalities, broken families, anomie, inebriety, ghetto squalor, deviant peers, structural unemployment, and so on down the list.

Others charged that methadone did too much, that it was an insidious form of social control aimed at turning restive inner-city minorities into harmless zombies; or that it was dangerous—because large amounts of methadone were diverted into the black market and consumed by those who might not otherwise have used drugs. Probably the fairest and most accurate thing to say about these criticisms and this is just a partial list is that they arose from mixed motives.

There were real and unresolved problems with methadone maintenance, but there were also vested interests to be defended, especially by those whose funding and prestige were tied to competing addiction theories and treatments. Medical controversies are seldom fought on purely scientific grounds, and methadone is a classic case.

The whole controversy might never have arisen if the Bureau of Narcotics had managed to block Dole's experimental research. This it failed to do. Dole defied the agents sent to harass him, at one point suggesting that they take him to court "so we can have a determination on this point. It might well have prevailed against an unscrupulous doctor writing prescriptions for cash, but its chance of winning against a distinguished scientist, backed by a major research institution, with a liberal majority on the Supreme Court and in a climate increasingly hostile to the police approach, was effectively nil.

The bureau also failed to prevent the program from expanding. In a ward in the Manhattan General Hospital was given over to methadone maintenance, as Dole and Nyswander came under the sponsorship of the New York City health department. Although minuscule in comparison to what it would become in the early s, methadone maintenance was by officially and permanently established. It was also beginning to attract widespread and favorable attention, both in medical journals and in popular periodicals such as Look, Time, Newsweek, and Science Digest.

Marie Nyswander was even accorded a profile in The New Yorker. The antimaintenance regime was over.

Lawful Abuse: How the Century of the Child became the Century of the Corporation by Robert Flynn

American narcotic policy from the early s until the middle s had two key objectives: the quashing of legal maintenance and the suppression of illicit narcotic transactions through vigorous police enforcement. What has happened since then has been a qualified abandonment of the first goal, but not of the second. Substances like heroin are still outlawed.

The government was not about to get out of drug enforcement and proclaim caveat emptor. Most liberals were perfectly willing to see addicts, whom they regarded as victims, treated in clinics, and traffickers, whom they regarded as criminals, sent to jail. This arrangement is at best paradoxical; some critics have described it as confused and contradictory. Or the addict who is a predacious criminal, before, during, and after treatment? Or the addict who diverts methadone into the black market?

Methadone programs have reduced the frequency with which their clients violate the law, but they certainly have not eliminated all of their legal or behavioral problems. These difficulties are not unique to narcotic policy. In virtually every area in which liberals successfully challenged restrictive policies in the s and s, similar quandaries have arisen. Gambling is a good example.

State-run lottery games and other forms of legal gambling are now freely available and widely advertised. But illegal gambling has not disappeared, as some liberals hoped or assumed; the police still have plenty of sports bookies and bolita operators with whom to contend. The public, meanwhile, gets a decidedly mixed message: some forms of gambling are acceptable, but others are not.

The same is true of drug use. Classic-era narcotic policy, despite its faults, was at least consistent. Its message was unambiguous: drugs are bad for you. This was one reason why proponents of therapeutic communities remained deeply suspicious of methadone maintenance. It contradicted, both symbolically and actually, the traditional goal of abstinence.

Judianne Densen-Gerber, founder of the Odyssey House therapeutic community. People should not have a dependency disease. They should be able to make decisions without being controlled by their need for a substance. It was ironic, then, that Richard Nixon, who styled himself a hardliner and a moral conservative, should have been the president to preside over the rapid expansion of methadone maintenance. On June 17, , he delivered a special message to Congress on drug abuse prevention and control. Until the recent past, Nixon observed, narcotic addiction had been viewed as a "class" i.

Heroin addiction was growing rapidly and was responsible for a costly wave of urban crime. He proposed to meet this national emergency with additional, federally financed efforts to reduce narcotic supply and demand. SAODAP was given a remarkably broad charge: overall responsibility for drug treatment and rehabilitation, as well as prevention, education, training, and research programs. Only law enforcement and diplomatic efforts were outside its control.

Jerome H. His selection was not coincidental. During and several White House staff members, including Jeffrey Donfeld, Egil Krogh, and John Ehrlichman, had become convinced that methadone maintenance offered the best prospect for reducing narcotic-related crime and that any such reduction would pay substantial political dividends in the upcoming election.

It would also eliminate a political liability, insofar as Nixon, who had made domestic lawlessness the centerpiece of his campaign, was under some pressure to show a tangible reduction in urban crime. Jaffe was known as a methadone advocate. The result was that, while therapeutic communities and other nonhospital, abstinence-oriented programs were growing rapidly in the early s, so too were their philosophically and clinically opposite numbers, the methadone maintenance programs.

Between June and March the number of federally funded methadone patients doubled. Despite SAODAP's imprimatur and increased funding, there was still a great deal of suspicion and hostility toward methadone within the federal bureaucracy. This attitude was manifest in a barrage of detailed regulations governing dosage, duration of treatment, and security.

Item: vaults containing the methadone supply shall have locks "resistive. The late Marie Nyswander, when interviewed in , was amused to find herself "sounding like a Republican" on the issue of federal controls. But right now methadone is operating at only 30 to 50 percent of its potential. For Nyswander, contemporary narcotic policy was insufficiently reactionary. That is to say, the clock should have been turned all the way back to , when doctors still had wide latitude in maintaining addicts, rather than to , when a handful of municipal programs struggled to treat patients in a hostile regulatory environment.

Indeed, the s and s might be aptly described as the New Clinic Era, with methadone maintenance understood as the vehicle of a long-delayed but ultimately limited counterrevolution. Not all of methadone's limitations were due to bureaucratic meddling, however. Robert Newman, who presided over the expansion of methadone maintenance in New York City from to , also emphasized the strength of community opposition. The first twenty clinics breezed through, he recalled, but "the next twenty were pretty darn tough.

Finally, it became an insurmountable problem when the neighborhoods were given almost veto power. Since I think there's been one clinic opened in the City of New York, and that over tremendous opposition. I remember trying to open one clinic up in the Bronx, and speaking at a community meeting. I talked for forty-five minutes about methadone and I thought I did an absolutely great job.

I was sure I had everybody convinced. When I asked for questions, the first one was from some lady in the back who said, "Why don't you pick up our garbage? I said, "This isn't the Sanitation Department; we're talking about opening up a methadone clinic.

You're the City of New York, and you haven't picked up my garbage in two weeks. Well, by God, you haven't picked up my garbage and I'm not going to allow you to do what you want to do up here with this methadone clinic. Then there was the hatred and the concern regarding addicts and addiction. It's a lot of things: it's race and class; it's fear, the realization that addicts have to commit crimes to support their habit; and it's a resentment that people are feeling that good three, four, five times a day.

It's hard to express this hostility, because there's nothing to focus against. But a methadone clinic brought all these problems together. It was a building, in front of which you could picket, or wheel your baby carriages, or go to the press about. I think people really wanted to express their hostility against a problem that was so evanescent that they couldn't do it any other way. Finally, there were the addicts themselves, many of whom balked at entering treatment programs.

Segregated waiting rooms in professional offices were required, as well as water fountains, restrooms, building entrances, elevators, cemeteries, even amusement-park cashier windows. Laws forbade African Americans from living in white neighborhoods. Segregation was enforced for public pools, phone booths, hospitals, asylums, jails and residential homes for the elderly and handicapped. Some states required separate textbooks black and white students. New Orleans mandated the segregation of prostitutes according to race.

In Atlanta, African Americans in court were given a different Bible from whites to swear on. Marriage and cohabitation between whites and blacks was strictly forbidden in most southern states. It was not uncommon to see signs posted at town and city limits warning African Americans that they were not welcome there. As oppressive as the Jim Crow era was, it was also a time that many black community members around the country stepped forward into leadership roles to vigorously oppose the laws.

Memphis teacher Ida B. Wells became a prominent activist against Jim Crow laws after refusing to leave a train car designated for whites only. As a conductor forcibly removed her, she bit him on the hand, but a judge ruled in her favor, though that decision was later reversed by a higher court. Angry at the injustice, Wells devoted herself to fighting the oncoming Jim Crow laws in Memphis. Her vehicle for dissent was newspaper writing. In she became co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and used her position to take on school segregation and sexual harassment.

Wells traveled throughout the south to publicize her work and advocated for the arming of black citizens. Wells also investigated lynchings and wrote about her findings. A mob destroyed her newspaper and threatened her with death, forcing her to live in the north where she continued her efforts against Jim Crow laws and lynching. Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a North Carolina-born, Massachusetts-raised black woman who returned to her birthplace at the age of 17, in , to work as a teacher.

After school funding was withdrawn, Brown found herself fundraising for the school, named the Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial Institute. Brown became the first black woman to create a black school in North Carolina and through her education work became a fierce and vocal opponent of Jim Crow laws. Convinced by Jim Crow laws that black and white people could not live together, ex-slave Isaiah Montgomery created the African American-only town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi , in Montgomery recruited other former slaves to settle in the wilderness with him, clearing the land and forging a settlement that included a school.

Mound Bayou still exists and is still nearly percent black. As the 20th Century progressed, Jim Crow laws flourished within an oppressive society marked by violence. White had lighter skin and could infiltrate white hate groups. As lynchings increased, so did race riots, with a total of 23 in , and not just confined to the South. In retaliation, white authorities charged black communities with secret conspiracies to conquer white America. With Jim Crow dominating the landscape, education increasingly under attack and opportunities poor for college graduates, the s saw a significant migration of educated blacks out of the south, spurred on by publications like The Chicago Defender , which encouraged blacks to move north.

Read by millions of southern blacks, whites attempted to ban the newspaper and threatened violence against any caught reading or distributing it. The poverty of the Great Depression only deepened resentment, with a rise in lynchings, and after World War II , even black veterans returning home met with violence.

The North was not immune to Jim Crow-like laws. The post-World War II era saw an increase in civil rights activities in the black community, with a focus on ensuring that black citizens were able to vote. This ushered in a decades-long effort in the civil rights movement resulting in the removal of Jim Crow laws. Board of Education that educational segregation was unconstitutional. In , President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act , which legally ended discrimination and segregation that had been institutionalized by Jim Crow laws.

And in , the Voting Rights Act ended efforts to keep minorities from voting. The Fair Housing Act of , which ended discrimination in renting and selling homes, followed. Jim Crow laws were technically off the books, though that has not always guaranteed full integration or adherence to anti-racism laws throughout the United States. The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. Richard Wormser. Segregated America.

Smithsonian Institute. Jim Crow Laws. National Park Service.