GENERAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS
WORLD NARCOTIC DEFENSE ASSOCIATION ADDRESSES
There being no objection, the addresses were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
(Jan. 24, 1935)
WE BATTLE WITH A BEAST
(By Grace Morrison Poole, president of General Federation of Women's Clubs)
You are all, I am sure, familiar with that old legend of the 12 labors of Hercules, and possibly you remember that the second labor was the slaughter of the hydra, a water serpent that had nine heads of which the middle one was immortal. Every time Hercules struck off the heads with his club, in place of each two new heads appeared, and it was only after a long struggle, and with the assistance of his faithful nephew that he was able to accomplish his purpose. The problem you and I are discussing today is a beast with many, many heads, and the question of his final death is a many-sided one.
This afternoon we are dealing principally with the humanitarian angle of the narcotic evil and its devastating effects upon the human race, but in order that I may justify my own right to appear upon this most important program of broadcasts planned to arouse the public to the almost unbelievable effects of narcotics upon our Nation, may I remind my listeners that in 1923 the General Federation of Women's Clubs went on record with the passage of a resolution expressing realization of the evil effects resulting from the illicit peddling of drugs upon the youth of our Nation, even to children of school age, and the consequent undermining of the health and morals of the communities, and resolved to make plans for a vigorous campaign in cooperation with other agencies to wipe out this national evil.
In 1924 we went a step farther and addressed a resolution to the International Conference In Suppression of Opium and Limitation of the Manufacture of Drugs, in which we stated our belief that a major step in preventing the further spread of the drugtraffic evil would be the curtailment of production of narcotics.
In 1932 our organization addressed a resolution to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, in which we expressed the earnest hope that at the earliest practicable date the President and the Senate of the United States would proceed to the ratification of the convention coming out of the International Conference for the Limitation of the Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs, and would provide the necessary legislation by Congress for Its effective enforcement.
At the same convention of the General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1932, realizing that the narcotic laws of many of the several States were lacking in uniformity and in greater or less degree failed to provide, the basis for complete control of the Illicit-drug traffic, we asked that the several States carefully examine their narcotic laws with a view to recommending such amendments as were found necessary to secure adequate statutory control and to achieve uniformity In the system of control to be provided.
We welcomed the action of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association in approving, that same year, the principles for State legislation which had been worked out by the National Conference of Commissioners for Uniform State Legislation. We are indeed glad to work with these groups and with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in putting the facts before our State federations and the women of the country. We are proud of the record made by Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, and now Louisiana, in passing uniform legislation, and we believe that our club women have been largely instrumental in this work. In fact, Mr. Anslinger, who is heading the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, has written the South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs, giving that body full credit for the passage of the law in that State. At our board of directors meeting here In Washington last week many of our State presidents took steps to plan for aiding passage of this important legislation In their own States. We hope we will have a part in aiding a large number of new States to place their names on the honor roll during 1935.
With this brief background which ties up the General Federation of Women's Clubs actively with the program of these various broadcasts, we would like to stress particularly this afternoon the humanitarian angle of the problem.
Only those of us who have been Intimately connected with the Insidious and awful effect of drug taking and drug using can fully appreciate what such a habit can do to an Individual, who consciously or unconsciously comes under its Influence.
When a person uses liquor it is done more or less in an open manner, and the results are apparent to every one who comes in contact with him, but the use of drugs is a very different matter. From the very beginning of the habit there develops a secrecy and cunning that are difficult to combat. For a long time unless persons know the symptoms, one may use a drug without its effects being very apparent, but during that period an Iron grip has so taken hold of the drug user that before he or she realizes it, he faces a situation most difficult to overcome.
The users of drugs, as a general thing, have periods when they are normal, but the continued use of drugs leads eventually to the time when the user is a physical, mental, and moral wreck.
The users of drink, if they cannot obtain it, do not exhibit any very dangerous tendencies as a rule, but the confirmed users of drugs, if they cannot get them, will go to any length and any extreme to satisfy that abnormal appetite which has gripped them.
It Is bad enough when the addict is an adult, but we have very good reason to know that at the present time in our colleges, and even in our high schools, drug peddlers are getting a lucrative living through selling a type of cigarette made from the marihuana (mar-i-wa-na) weed, which is known in the parlance of the peddlers as the " killer drug." It comes from a weed that grows in many of the States of the Union, and the student of narcotics tells us that the number of users of this particular drug is growing most rapidly in this country. The users, we are also told, are frequently turned into cruel monsters who commit the most atrocious crimes.
Now, the use of this drug is of fairly recent date, but because of its terrible reactions upon the human system we believe that there is even greater need than ever for the States to Pass legislative measures for uniform control of narcotics.
Two big problems face us on the humanitarian side of this question which is linked up so closely with the necessity of legislative action. With those nations producing habit-making drug products working out a program of curtailment, the drugs will become more and more difficult to obtain; therefore, those who have already acquired the drug habit will become more and more desperate because of their Inability to get that which they so ardently crave. That means that almost anything may happen In the case of the drug user. He will steal to get money to buy the drug, and in more than one instance we know, because of past tragedies, that he will not hesitate to commit murder to satisfy his appetite. Therefore, right along with the two remedial steps planned---to curtail production and manufacture and to enact State legislation that shall be uniform to control the traffic---there must be some definite plan worked out to help those who, because of conditions past and present, have been able fairly easily to get the drug.
There must be a more Intelligent understanding among officers of the law in the differentiation of a man or woman fairly normal arrested for crime and the man or woman, either Indirectly or directly, under the influence of a drug who has committed a crime. These in the second group are In dire need of Intelligent medical treatment.
It is not easy to cure the drug habit, for it takes a person of strong will, in the last analysis, to gain a complete victory, and one of the saddest results of the drug habit is that it breaks down the strong human will and replaces it with a weak one, so in many, many Instances, I am sorry to say, cures are only of temporary duration. But science has made progress along these lines and not simply must we demand legislative control measures but remedial legislative enactment as well. Hospitals and institutions equipped to deal patiently with those wrecks of humanity must have the support of our communities.
So much for those who have already formed the habits so detrimental to humanity. But there is much preventive work to do, and I am vitally concerned with this phase of the question. As I said in the earlier part of this talk, the amount of drug peddling in our schools and institutions where young people are found almost surpasses comprehension, and in these days of restlessness, disappointment, and disillusionment among our young people, one can hardly wonder that the temptation to forget all of life's troubles for a little while and dream pleasant dreams becomes too strong to be resisted.
You and I do not hesitate to put a great burden upon these young people of our Nation by saying that the mistakes we have made will be rectified by them; and we are really doing much to guarantee that they shall be the right type of young people by fighting the seen dangers that face them. But now I plead with (page 3325) you, with all the eloquence I possess, to realize that the unseen danger which works so insidiously and relentlessly upon the character of our young people may be as vigorously attacked as those apparent to the naked eye. [END]
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