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The Harrison Narcotic Act Harrison Narcotics Tax Act - Full text of the Act, as approved December 17, Through most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the antialcohol forces in the United States were gaining ground.
The anti-opiate forces, in contrast, remained weak and poorly organized. Why, then, did opiate prohibition precede alcohol prohibition by five years? After the Spanish-American War, when the United States War Department took over the chore of governing the Philippine Islands, it inherited a whole system for licensing narcotics addicts and supplying them with opium legally-a system established under Spanish rule.
After taking evidence on programs of narcotics control throughout the Far East, the Brent Commission recommended that narcotics should be subject to international rather than merely national control. For many years, Britain had been criticized for shipping opium grown in India into China; indeed, two nineteenth-century "opium wars" between Britain and China had been fought over this issue.
American missionaries in China complained that British opium was ruining the Chinese people; American traders similarly complained that the silver bullion China was trading for British opium could better be traded for other, perhaps American, products.
Thus the United States State Department saw a way not only to solve the War Department's Philippine opium problem but also to please American missionaries and traders.
President Theodore Roosevelt inat the request of Bishop Brent, called for an international opium conference, which was held in Shanghai in A second conference was held at The Hague inand out of it came the first international opium agreement, The Hague Convention ofaimed primarily at solving the opium problems of the Far East, especially China.
It was against this background that the Senate in considered the Harrison narcotic bill. The chief proponent of the measure was Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a man of deep prohibitionist and missionary convictions and sympathies.
He urged that the law be promptly passed to fulfill United States obligations under the new international treaty. They talked more about the need to implement The Hague Convention of Even Senator Mann of Mann Act fame, spokesman for the bill in the Senate, talked about international obligations rather than domestic morality.
On its face, moreover, the Harrison bill did not appear to be a prohibition law at all. Its official title was "An Act to provide for the registration of, with collectors of internal revenue, and to impose a special tax upon all persons who produce, import, manufacture, compound, deal in, dispense, sell, distribute, or give away opium or coca leaves, their salts, derivatives, or preparations, and for other purposes.
The patent-medicine manufacturers were exempted even from the licensing and tax provisions, provided that they limited themselves to "preparations and remedies which do not contain more than two grains of opium, or more than one-fourth of a grain of morphine, or more than one-eighth of a grain of heroin.
Indeed, the right of a physician to prescribe was spelled out in apparently unambiguous terms: The provision protecting physicians, however, contained a joker hidden in the phrase, "in the course of his professional practice only.
Since addiction was not a disease, the argument went, an addict was not a patient, and opiates dispensed to or prescribed for him by a physician were therefore not being supplied "in the course of his professional practice.
Many physicians were arrested under this interpretation, and some were convicted and imprisoned. Even those who escaped conviction had their careers ruined by the publicity.
The medical profession quickly learned that to supply opiates to addicts was to court disaster. The effects of this policy were almost immediately visible. Sporadic crimes of violence were reported too, due usual1y to desperate efforts by addicts to obtain drugs, but occasionally to a delirious state induced by sudden withdrawal The really serious results of this legislation, however, will only appear gradually and will not always be recognized as such.
These will be the failures of promising careers, the disrupting of happy families, the commission of crimes which will never be traced to their real cause, and the influx into hospitals to the mentally disordered of many who would otherwise live socially competent lives.
Narcotic drug addiction is one of the gravest and most important questions confronting the medical profession today.
One hundred years ago today, Congress approved the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. The Act’s passage critically impacted drug policy for the remainder of the century, and the habits of physicians with regard to prescribing and dispensing medicine. By , use of narcotics was at its peak for both. Sep 03, · The Harrison Act is a federal law passed by Congress in Also known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, this Act was the first use of federal criminal law in the United Sates to attempt to deal with the nonmedical use of drugs. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act (“Act”) was a U.S. federal legislation enacted to impose taxes on the sale, distribution, manufacturing, importation, and distribution of cocoa leaves, opium, and any form of products originating from either.
Instead of improving conditions the laws recently passed have made the problem more complex. Honest medical men have found such handicaps and dangers to themselves and their reputations in these laws.
The druggists are in the same position and for similar reasons many of them have discontinued entirely the sale of narcotic drugs. Abuses in the sale of narcotic drugs are increasing.Passed by Congress in , the Harrison Act, also known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, was the first instance to apply criminal laws to the non-medical use of drugs.
Its primary purpose was not only to tax and regulate the sale and distribution of drugs, but also their import and production. In , the first Federal criminal law was enacted, and is called the Harrison Act.
It was made into law to criminalize the non-medical use of drugs. It was an experiment of using the criminal sanction to deal with non-medical drug use. Today is the th Anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act Jeremy Lesser December 17 marks the year anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, generally considered the beginning of the oppressive, expensive, and devastating drug war.
Nov 21, · The Harrison Act is a federal law passed by Congress in Also known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, this Act was the first use of federal criminal law in the United Sates to attempt to deal with the nonmedical use of drugs. Excerpt from the Harrison Narcotic Drug Act of Reprinted from The Statutes at Large and Proclamations of the United States of America from March to March Vol.
XXXVIII, Part 1 Published in Prior to the twentieth century few restrictions were placed on drug trade and use. Full text Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page.