Chapter 3
Old Time Radio Programs

World Narcotic Defense Association

The Struggle of Mankind Against Its Deadliest Foe

An Address Broadcast From the New York Office of the National Broadcasting
Company Over Their Blue Net, Evening of March 1, 1928.

As Narcotic Education Week is now closing, I wish to express the gratitude of our organizations to those who have cooperated in making the week such a memorable success.

Clippings and reports indicate that literally tens of thousands of Clubs and Organizations have put on Narcotic programs. Governors of States, Mayors of cities, officials of great organizations and institutions, eminent Statesmen, jurists, physicians and surgeons, leaders in the business world, scientific world, education world in the pulpit, the radio, the and other walks I of life have cooperated in a wonderful way.

From time to time in past history, the civilization of Europe was menaced by invading hordes from Asia and from Africa. While the menace was widespread, it was only continental and affected one group of the human race as against another group. At long intervals, in a like manner, a plague or pestilence broke out that threatened the peoples of Europe but at longest, it was only of relatively short duration. Narcotic Drug Addiction has now risen up to menace all the continents, the welfare of the peoples of today and the survival of generations unborn. The danger extends wherever commerce goes.

Exploitation of Human Bondage

The human race is consuming every year many thousands of tons of poisonous narcotic drugs, not 1 per cent of which is necessary for strictly medicinal purposes. Nearly all of this great quantity is consumed by addicts who number in the world scores of millions who are abject slaves, who consider getting their drug supply as the supreme consideration, in many cases as a matter of life and death. The production and distribution of these drugs constitute a profitable traffic of vast proportions extending to all corners of the earth.

The motive and urge that constantly drive the traffic on are the enormous profits, the jobber and retailer between them often realizing thousands of per cent profit. Add to this the lure for the armies of impoverished addicts of getting the drug for themselves through recruiting and supplying the new addicts. It is not surprising that the amount of narcotic drugs produced is probably thirty times the amount required for medicinal purposes. The profits are so great because the poor addict, under the awful depression and torture of withdrawal symptoms, feels that he must have the drug, no matter what the cost or the consequences, whether he has to steal to get the money, whether he has to rob or even to commit murder.

Origin and Growth of the Exploitation

Like the invasions and plagues of history, the scourge of Narcotic Drug Addiction came out of Asia. However, it was the European in Asia who discovered the possibilities of exploitation of the product of the "Sleep Poppy." The white man in Java, experimenting on the yellow man, discovered the vast profit in opium smoking and proceeded with the commercial culture of the poppy and the widening circle of exploitation. While the early white men of the opium traffic would have been shocked at the thought of exploiting their own people, they seemed to have had no qualms of conscience when they forced the opium traffic on the unwilling peoples of Asia - smoking of opium in China, the eating of opium in India.


In the progress of modern science, a French chemist, something over a century ago, discovered how to extract morphine from opium, making it suitable for medical practice. While the opium traffic radiating from Asia started centers of infection in seaports of Europe and America, the spread of addiction was still comparatively slow. With morphine, however, the trail of addiction quickly spread around the world and a new problem of morphine addiction was superimposed upon the old problem of opium addiction. About a half a century later, an Austrian chemist discovered bow to extract cocaine from cocoa leaves, and cocaine addiction was further superimposed upon the morphine and opium addiction, making the problem more difficult and more dangerous, adding a serious factor of criminology especially inherent in cocaine addicts.

In 1898, a German chemist discovered how to produce heroin by treating morphine with acetic acid. Heroin addiction has placed the cap on the whole structure of cocaine-morphine-opium addiction. The crime symptoms of cocaine suddenly sprang into a veritable crime wave and a new "Banditry" with the spread of heroin. The white man is in graver peril than the yellow man.

The Power of the Foe

The grip of the enemy upon Society can be measured by its -rip upon the individual, and by the forces that spread the disease in the body social. Narcotics are soluble in fat, so they penetrate the fattv sheathing that protects the brain from most harmful substances in the blood current, and in this way the poison comes quickly in contact with the delicate highly organized gray matter. Similarly these poisons attack the delicate carefully protected organs of reproduction, impairing the sexual powers of the male, causing the female addict to become sterile, and undermining the germ plasm, by virtue of which the species renews its life from generation lo generation.

In the case of cocaine and heroin the degeneration of the upper brain is so swift that the elements of character crumble in a few months. Complete demoralization follows, and often the life of crime joins with physical ills and the spur of torture of the drug, to hasten the end. One-eighth of a grain of morphine or one twenty-fifth of a grain of heroin is sufficient to cause the drug effect. In a few days the system will develop sufficient capacity to neutralize this quantity. Then the drug effect will be felt only after getting beyond the point of neutralization, when it will be necessary to have a quarter of a grain, later a half a grain, and soon a grain or more to produce the desired effect. Though one to two grains of morphine is a fatal dose ordinarily to a person not accustomed to the drug, ten grains of morphine daily is common, many taking twenty grains, some fifty. There are records of more than one hundred grains taken daily.

When the drug begins to subside, as it does in a few hours, the equilibrium is upset as though by an irritating poison. The distressing effect is general, no part of the body escapes. A condition of torture sets in. The muscles seem to become knotty. Cramps ensue in the abdomen and viscera, attended frequently by vomiting and involuntary discharge of the bowels. Pains often succeed each other as thought a sword were being thrust through the body. In advanced cases this suffering (called "withdrawal symptoms") is considered the 'most acute torture ever endured by man, and continues for days. In some cases death will ensue if the addict is far advanced and the dose or "shot" are suddenly stopped. The drug of addiction will quickly relieve this torture. Naturally, the addict comes to consider getting his supply of the drug as a matter of life and death.

The Grip of Death

Addiction takes a strangle hold on its victims. While many methods have been found for getting the victim off the drug, the scientific world and the medical profession recognize no sure and permanent cure. Only a small percentage of morphine and opium addicts remain permanently off the drug, while the number of heroin addicts is practically negligible. So hopeless is the victim, and so pitiless the master, that the heroin addicts are termed "The Living Dead."

The Crime Wave

The transformation in character is swift, especially, in the young and swifter with cocaine and heroin than with the other narcotics. In an incredibly short time a youth of either sex "hooked" with the “snow gang," loses the result of good heredity and of careful home training. Self respect, honor, obedience, ambition, truthfulness melt away. Virtue and morality disintegrate. The question of securing the drug supply becomes absolutely dominant. To get this supply the addict will not only advocate public policies against the public welfare, but will lie, steal, rob and if necessary, connected causatively with crime. Thus we can understand how intimately addiction is connected causatively with crime.

In addition to the general anti-social traits of all addicts, the heroin addict has two special characteristics: First, for a period after taking the drug he experiences an "exaltation of the ego," looks upon himself as a hero. Bent upon getting money to buy his drug, he will dare anything, thinks he can accomplish anything. The daylight holdups, robberies, murders committed by these young criminal heroin addicts eclipse in daring all !he exploits of Jesse James and his gang. This can be said also of cocaine addicts.

Spreading Like Infection

The heroin addict has a mania to bring everybody else into addiction. It may be said in general that all addicts have a desire for company and wish others to share with them the problem of securing the drug supply, but in the case of the heroin addict it is an absolute mania for recruiting. He think, he dreams, he plots to bring all whom he contacts into addiction. All addiction tends to spread. Heroin addiction can be likened to a contagion. Suppose it were announced that there were more than a million lepers among our people. Think what a shock the announcement would produce! Yet drug addiction is far more incurable than leprosy, far more tragic to its victims, and is spreading like a moral and physical scourge.

Capture of the books of a "dope ring" in Chicago revealed 18,000 addicts among the customers, involving yearly payments of $39,000,000. This was but one ring in one city. More than half of all prisoners in moral turpitude cases in the prisons of New York City are now addicts, over 90 per cent of these being young heroin addicts, although heroin addiction has been in exploitation only a few years. The number of prisoners in Federal penitentiaries convicted for offenses against Narcotic laws is three times that of those convicted on any other law. There are symptoms breaking out all over our country and now breaking out in many parts of Europe which show that individual nations and the whole world is menaced by this appalling foe, that under the driving power of vast profits, is marching out thus far without resistance, to the capture and destruction of the whole world. Certainly a problem such as this, having reached such vast proportion, with the attendant ravages so vitally affecting every department of human life, should arouse the solicitude of our Government and the governments of other lands and all thoughtful citizens who are devoted to the uplifting of mankind.

The Defense

Having taken the measure of this foe, we can better study the means, available for our defense. Manifestly, no normal youth, or for that matter, normal adult, would deliberately embrace this "Living Death" of drug addiction if he knew what it meant. The whole recruiting system is based on the ignorance of the victim, and thorough education would literally sweep away the very foundation of this hideous traffic.

Since the universal motive of self-preservation raises a barrier of protection where knowledge and the appreciation of the consequences exist, the exploitation thrives upon the ignorance of its victims before their capture and their helplessness afterwards. Therefore, education, revealing the nature and consequences, is fundamental in any comprehensive treatment.

This exploitation partakes of the nature of a parasite and the nature of a beast of prey or inherent enemy. Therefore governmental and legal processes are logical weapons of society to invoke and organize for its defense. Since its victims are the chief instruments through which the enemy preys upon society, the isolation and rehabilitation of those victims constitute an integral part of the treatment. The defense of society against Narcotic Drug Addiction must therefore embrace processes of education, processes of law, and processes of reclamation.


For carrying out the processes of education, two organizations have been developed in America, for this exclusive function, namely: The International Narcotic Education Association, incorporated in 1921 under the laws of California, a corporation "not for profit," which undertakes to organize, develop, and standardize Narcotic Education in the schools, colleges and education machinery proper of this country, and ultimately of other countries; and The World Conference on Narcotic Education, its subsidiary, founded in Philadelphia, July 81 1926, which seeks the cooperation of organized agencies, the Press, the Pulpit, the Screen, the Radio, Clubs, Associations, etc., to extend Narcotic Education Week, the last week of February of each year.

This is the second observance of Narcotic Education Week. the first observance last year covered America and a number of other lands. The observance this year is extended still further. Last year over 21,000 major clubs and organizations put on a special Narcotic Education program during the week. More than 400 radio stations put regularly prepared programs on the air. Seventysix(sic) stations put on a Narcotic Drama. Thousands of clippings show a cooperation of the Press that was practically unanimous.

The effect of last year's Narcotic Education Week in formulating and crystallizing public opinion was felt profoundly in the legislatures of the States, many of which were in session. The result was the enactment of laws in several States that had hitherto been indifferent, and the movement for inaugurating legislation in States spread all over the land, so that the question of uniform State laws came into the field of practical statesmanship. The Conference of Committees that met in New York City the first week in November, after careful consideration, produced a draft of a uniform State law which is now being perfected through submission to the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, Departments of justice and other appropriate reviewing agencies. A uniform State law bids fair to be considered throughout the country when the legislatures meet again next year. Last year was the short session of Congress, which adjourned on the fourth of March, but this year Congress will remain in session after the force of the public opinion generated by Narcotic Education Week is active. It is probable that Congressional Legislation for the reclamation of addicts will be enacted at this session of Congress or during the next session.

World Narcotic Defense Association

The result of last year's Narcotic Education Week caused the founding, following the Conference of Committees in New York, of the World Narcotic Defense Association, incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. This Defense Association is created for the purpose of organizing, stimulating, harmonizing all activities needed for the defense of society against this dread foe, including the processes of education, processes of law, processes of reclamation. Under the guidance of this Association, the organized vital forces of the human race are to be marshalled to insure victory for humanity in this life and death struggle.

The effect of Narcotic Education Week will strengthen the foundation for the development of the I World Narcotic Defense Association, under which the efforts of Society, so slow and ineffectual in the past, will be quickened and strengthened so that each year in the future will probably mark more progress in humanity's warfare against Narcotic Drugs than decades in the past. Under the guidance of the Defense Association and the influence of public opinion, developed by Narcotic Education Week each year, processes of education will rapidly develop until instruction in the danger and consequences of Narcotic Drugs will be incorporated in the text books, and become regular parts of the curricula of schools and colleges in America and ultimately in other lands. Similarly, the processes of self-instruction organized during Narcotic Education Week will extend deeper and further into the whole organized structure of the nation and of the world, in the activities of the Press, the Pulpit, the Screen, the Radio, Clubs, Fraternal Orders, Civic Organizations and all other organized parties.

From the forces thus generated, we may expect a steady extension of processes of law until uniform City ordinances supplement uniform State laws and National laws, harmonizing with each other, and the Nations take effective joint action through similar National laws and international covenants and treaties. Similarly, we may expect National and State Narcotic Hospital Homes and Municipal Narcotic Hospital Homes, and in special centers, private institutions all to insure the effective isolation of drug addicts as fast as they are created, and the best results for their rehabilitation.

Narcotic Defense Foundation

For the purpose of financing permanently and regularly the World Narcotic Defense Association and organizing and stimulating and correlating all activities of Narcotic Defense, the Narcotic Defense Foundation is being established to be the gift of the American people through their press, to rescue mankind from the menace of Narcotic Drug Addiction. There is no intention to conduct the usual drives of solicitation, entailing as they do, expenses and inconveniences, but the papers will be open to receive, and their columns to acknowledge contributions which are to go in their entirety into the Foundation. The goal is $5,000,000 by July 1, 1931, when the next general World Conference meets in London. The month of March each year, following as it does, Narcotic Education Week, will be a period for emphasizing the Narcotic Defense Foundation, but the same will be open for contributions the year around.

A noteworthy contribution appearing in a particular paper is to be copied by the other local papers, and contributions of $1,000 or more are to be telegraphed to Central Headquarters in New York and from there to be sent out by the press agencies to be carried by the papers of the whole country and taken up for Radio and screen acknowledgment also. Contributions of $10,000 or more are to be carried DAILY over a period by papers throughout the country.

We ae(sic) urging contributors to consent to this recognition as a stimulus to others under the Biblical injunction: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works." In due course it is planned to have the names of notable contributors inscribed, appropriately bound and placed in libraries, and the names of outstanding benefactors placed upon tablets to be placed in city halls, State and provincial and National capitols. The press and its allies will make the dedications of tablets, presentations of rolls of names, and acknowledgment, of gifts, all occasions for Narcotic Education until in the course of years the Narcotic Defense Foundation is enshrined in the consciousness of a grateful world.

Summing Up

Narcotic Drug Addiction has become the major factor in crime. The prisoners in Federal penitentiaries convicted of violations of Narcotic laws are three times as many as those convicted of violation of Prohibition laws. Most of the daylight robberies, daring hold-ups, cruel murders and similar crimes of violence are now known to be committeed(sic) chiefly by drug addicts, who constitute the primary cause of our alarming crime wave.

Similarly, Narcotic Drug Addiction has become one of the major factors endangering the public health. Drug addiction is more communicable and less curable than leprosy. Drug addicts are the principal carriers of vice disease, and with their lowered resistance are incubators and carriers of the strepti cocctis, pneumo coccus, the germ of flu, of tuberculosis and other diseases. New forces of Narcotic Drug exploitation devised from the progress of modern chemical science, added to the old form of the opium traffic, now endanger the very future of the human race.

We thus recognize that the whole human race, though largely ignorant on the subject, is now in the midst of a life and death struggle with the deadliest foe that has ever menaced its future. Upon the issue hangs the perpetuation of civilization, the destiny of the world and the future of the human race

May I invoke from all who hear me over this vast network, so generously placed at our service by the National Broadcasting Company, the heartiest cooperation as individuals and as members of business firms, clubs, associations and organizations of all kinds. This is in line with the rendering of the very maximum of service.

[Narcotic Education - Vol. 1, No. 4 - April 1928 pp 51-54 ]
Narcotic Education (Bulletin of the World Conference on Narcotic Education and the International Narcotic Education Association) - April 1928 pp. 51-54


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