America’s Dope Problem In 1955 – Past Daily Weekend Reference Room

America's love affair with narcotics has a long-long history.

America‘s love affair with narcotics has a long-long history.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC Radio – Keys To The Capitol – 1955 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

Two things to keep reminding yourself: Drugs and drug abuse have been with us for almost as long as America’s been a country. The other – from time to time the question is raised “why aren’t drugs legalized or freely available?”

In 1955 the drug problem was getting out of hand – 60 years ago, arrests for Heroin, marijuana and pills was reaching an alarming rate. We were, many feared, in danger of becoming a hooked society.

The methods of law enforcement weren’t working – arrests were skyrocketing, the prisons were booked to overflowing and still the problem continued without and end in sight.

Many on Capitol Hill felt the answer was to either make all drugs legal, or make drugs easier to obtain through legal channels. The idea was to eliminate the dealer, and in doing so, make drugs affordable. And in making drugs affordable, the crime rate would drop because addicts wouldn’t be resorting to crime in order to pay the sometimes extortionate prices demanded by dealers.

The idea wasn’t without supporters – as was clearly evidenced in this episode of the weekend Radio discussion program Keys To The Capitol”, the idea seemed feasible and workable. The biggest concern was whether or not this would turn otherwise normal folks into users and how would the idea be implemented.

Others weren’t so enthusiastic, and advocated increased Drug enforcement, stiffer penalties and more money spent to state and local agencies to deal with the situation.

The interesting part about this panel discussion; when the subject of actual drug-taking is discussed, particularly with marijuana use, the subject is quickly changed to something else when one of the panelists ask the other how they know so much about the effect of marijuana.

Even in the 50s, things weren’t what they seemed. Here is that episode of Keys To The Capitol from September 21, 1955.

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