Urban Confrontation; 44
From Northeastern University the National Information Network presents urban confrontation. Can understand we're going to write off a good percentage of black people 13 years ago and just say it wasn't a social problem because to them certainly the problem was just as bad as it is to the rich get all their family. I never met one of them that just said well I'm a derelict. I'm a junkie and that's the thing and I can see do. I don't know any drug addict I ever met that wouldn't like not to be a drug addict after they've been affiliated with drugs for a long time. This week on urban confrontation Richard Callahan ringin regional director federal narcotics bureau. Dr. Norman Zinn bird young analyst South University Jarrod Jay Flanagan detective Boston Police Department narcotics squad. And Representative Jack Backman chairman Massachusetts drug abuse commission. Today's program the drug scene from the get go to its numbers. Here is your host dose of our banner.
You are about to hear a program on drugs and drug abuse in America. But before we begin that program stop for a minute and listen to these facts about drugs and drug abuse. Americans are spending five hundred million dollars for illegal drugs annually in this country not to mention the little drugs in one major city heroin addicts alone will spend five million to support their habit. Roughly one third of college undergraduates has smoked marijuana more than once. Twenty percent of high school seniors in urban centers have used marijuana at least once in some American units in Vietnam regular marijuana use runs as high as 90 percent of the troops according to military psychiatrist SS.. And lastly one of every six of the nation's physicians misused drugs or are addicted to them. According to the American Medical Association. So there you have it. Disturbing facts about our increasingly drug society. And if some
reports are to be believed drug abuse has even reached the junior high school or upper elementary grades Mr. Flanagan does the percentage of young people arrested indicate a real problem situation among our young. The figures that we have from the State Department Public Health just released to the police department and these are not police figures these are the chemists report and they show an increase of 300 percent in a heroin sample submitted to them each sample representing at least one person that has been arrested. One defendant. Richard Callahan do you have anything to add to what Godfather guys stated. The local police agencies are closer to the street scene than we are on a federal level. We look at a regional situation and to give you a couple of graphic examples as to what we have witnessed in this area of the country in the last few months. I think that very few people will argue that what was once a black or a ghetto problem the heroin problem
has leapt from the Ghetto into middle class sections of the cities into suburbia. And we're uncovering it also now in the rural and semi-rural sections here in the wingless not massive numbers of addicts but we are encountering the abuse of the substance in areas today where it was absent as short a period of time as 12 to 18 months ago. When we look back at. Just this one city say 12 18 months ago we had 300 black heroin addicts living in one small ghetto section here in the city. Deaths by overdose surveys which are being done show whites dying from overdoses of heroin. We see that the availability of the drug here in this area in just in mazing quantities it used to be in the bag would be brought in from New York for retail sales. Now we find out says and we're finding pure uncut heroin we're finding
major violators who used a wopper rate in other sections of the country migrating to this area to supply growing demand. The question that comes to my mind is that if kids are experimenting with what I guess has become the youth oriented drug the most popular one long you know want if they're experimenting for a few youthful kicks won't the problem decrease as they get older especially if they never progress beyond marijuana. Jack Backman while the fuss. While we're actually in a drug ridden society as you mentioned earlier Joe with maybe using marijuana to a large extent today. But keep in mind that our adult population is ridden with drug use 9 billion doses of I'm fat I mean some barbiturates were legally manufactured in this nation last year. That's over 100 doses for every adult male and female in the country. In addition to this keep in mind the most dangerous drug of all as far as
social harm to our general population is alcohol. One out of every three arrests and a nation as a result of an alcohol crime one of the most dangerous drugs we have got away educate our society as to the problem of all kinds of drugs not the not only the lesser drugs such as marijuana but all of the drugs and the total concept of. Being a person that takes care of your own mind and your own personality. This is an amazing statistic to me here in this country of hard working God fearing men and women that we have this tradition of being a people who believe in delayed gratification. People who are not interested in transitory stimulation. How is it that a statistic like that can occur here in America. Doctors and we also have a tradition of perfectibility wife liberty in the person of happiness and that somehow or other I think in the United States more perhaps than any country in the history of the world that we've had the conviction that we could beat anything death included
and that we could perfect our way of life chemically technologically if necessary. It's an ambivalent tradition we have here. Garrett Flanagan does the question ever come into your mind what's what's happening to this country where are we going with this kind of a drug problem. You know I hate to think of where we're going but I think even more on these Housefull drugs so-called or infamous about it you it's I also think there's an underlying other reason there was a mention and the fact is an awful lot of money being made in the production of these pills like some kind of some companies will duplicate what five other companies already manufacturing about half of those pills or tablets or capsules go to the illegal market. They're even so far and Mr. Callaghan's unit recently you talk of the Federal Drug Program a drug offices or agents where they have found where these pills are exploited to other companies of false addresses you know imported back into the country. Is it possible to push drugs legally to legally incorporated companies actually.
Help to spread these drugs not only around the country but as you mentioned around the world. They do and you can see it in our state laws we don't have the right to arrest for possession or sale of a harmful drug. It's a misdemeanor not a Mountie of the breach of the peace. So we see a fellow 40 years old so 2000 Benzedrine tablets to a boy 14 on the street. We don't have a legal right of arrest and yet for 10 years we've been trying to get some type of law through and out and they have great lobbyists big money is behind this and they don't like all of the aspirant bill or whatever but I have got to say that it isn't only the power to arrest that you need keep in mind that there are thousands of young people that have picked up every day on the street far the illegal possession of certain drugs and they go through a swinging door they go into the jail and out of the jail. Now I'm not recommending that you keep them there but the tech the FLANAGAN You know and we all know that neither. The police who are humanitarian law the courts who are humanitarian no are any segment of
society would suggest that we put into jail the thousands the millions of persons who are illegally using drugs today. The question is What are you going to do about this young person who lives around the corner from you who is a college football player are a high school honor student who has never been in trouble before and he's picked up and you have the power to arrest him and you get him in a court and it's his first offense putting him in jail isn't going to solve this problem. Now Carson Berg in terms of of what is fact I find myself listening to people here and I find I might be talking about an entirely different subject because I see things that are factually quite differently. First of all I think that an enormous percentage of the people who've tried heroin are not addicts and never become addicts. That all the evidence of careful studies indicate that many people try heroin Some people even try heroin for long periods of time and come off it and go on it. Depending on various fluctuations in their lives
and the idea that you have heroin addicts who are then always addicts is true of only a very small percentage of them they're going to find studies done. One many years ago in 1936 by a man name when it was that time employed at Lexington and by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics so that I just simply don't think that that's factual about heroin. I don't think that heroin is an enormous public health problem. I don't mean to say by that I don't think that many people aren't harmed by heroin and lead miserable incredible lives and certainly they cost society a great deal because of the crime. But I see that as a different issue because that has to do with our legal structure. Therefore I just see the whole situation so differently from the way it's been presented as a factual matter that I just want to say that and that it's so easy to whip up a case against drugs and say these drugs do cause harm which indeed they do. But whether or not that's the social problem that's involved. And as we move on to other drugs it's very easy to whip up hysteria and to say what an awful thing it is. But that big question really what's going on.
We don't want to be whipping up hysteria. However to be realistic we've brought on to this program the two gentlemen who are down in the streets fighting this all day today now what is the drug problem that might make it hard for them to see certain aspects of the job because they're in IT SO MUCH TIME magazine did a section on drugs about five or six weeks ago in which they spent I forget how much they told me it cost for one line in that article and that was that the number of heroin addicts the United States has not risen in the last five years and is and proportional to the increase in population has indeed declined. They put all the research into that single line in the article because the New York Times just a few weeks before that run a very lurid series of articles about heroin addiction New York in the Huntsville section and what have you and no one denies that the addict is not more visible today than he was but whether or not there are indeed more of them seems to be a highly debatable matter. Much of what the doctor says I concur with a we are awfully close to it. We're terribly close to it in my bureau and in the work that
Gary Flanagan does on the bicycle. But the fact still remains that there are enormous quantities of heroin available in middle class white communities in suburbia that the growing number of people who are coming to our attention who are new drug addicts dependence or drug users or abusers whatever you want to call them are white and they are from middle class and upper middle class America. The overdose deaths that have been recorded in various parts of the country in the last few months have been predominantly white. These are trends these are indicators. There are growing numbers of people in this country who are heroin users rather than the heid Cloyd heroin addicts. The purity of the percentage of heroin in the street variety that you encounter now is nothing like it was 10 or 12 years ago. Used to be some 50 percent 40 percent pure. You know what it runs here in this particular area
of the country and it varies in different parts of the country. Anywhere from 5 percent to about 12 percent right now. So what you're getting is 5 percent or 12 percent of heroin. Things are relative. You know all addicts cannot fit in the same hole. There's a great controversy in a great. Debate going on live various professions as do you know. Some people feel that we have that we haven't even got a drug problem. Now it is on that point that I wish to step in and ask the question can we assume that we are into the kind of problem of the mass media sometimes of paints for us doctors Enberg has made us take a closer more precise analysis of what does in fact constitute a heroin problem. Representative Jack Backman if you start off with the assumption that the human body the human mechanism the human mind is a wonderful instrumentality and it should be free from cannibal are chemical substances that interfere with the proper functioning of the mind. Who says it should be free. Who are you to say that it does in fact interfere with the proper functioning of the
mind. And who is to say what in fact is proper in the functioning of the human are you coming to a value judgement. I say if you assume that the human mind should be free from chemical substances that interfere with the nominal operation of the mind then of course we have a tremendous tremendous drug problem in this country not only from heroin but as I stated earlier from about better with the amphetamines from alcohol from marijuana. You name the drug then never in the history of the American society has been such a widespread use of so many different kinds of drugs as we have today. Now if. If you want to say there's nothing wrong with it and the human body can can benefit from the use of these drugs. That's one thing. But if you start off with the assumption that you that you are better off without them of course we have a tremendous problem. Well let us not start off with that assumption because I think that is where we
as adults to lose our credibility with the young people listening to this program at this very minute. Let us first prove to them if it can be done that there is in fact a problem that if drugs do interfere with the proper functioning of the human mind and then let us start from their fellow doctors and well it seems to me that that we have perhaps a couple of problems rather than one that's worthwhile separating them. Being precise about we're talking about we have a drug problem in the sense that I think it's now the third largest disease entity in the United States comes from drug reactions. That is not limited to the so-called illegal drugs or in non-medical drug use but medical drug use as well. So there's no question. The medicines the cortisone which is one of our most useful drugs is one of our more dangerous drugs that almost anybody who uses cortisone for any length of time also has a negative reaction from it which takes up hospital days and what have you. So the fact that overall we have a drug problem which can be considered as an issue that doesn't stop with the non-medical drug use that's across the board I think we do have to
decide how we're going to deal with a chemical medicated society. And you know how we can work out some sort of balance between what's helpful and what isn't. But I think I don't think we can discuss that in the legal structure of what's going on today. Now one of the things I think we have to answer about the normal amount of drug use which I don't deny for a moment I think the figures used on cannabis for example marijuana are relatively accurate. What I object to is the old dichotomies the old polarizations being used in a situation which is clearly changed in the 1930s we had a small way out group who either used heroin they didn't usually come from from very deprived socially disadvantaged groups certain ethnic minorities predominated and the same with cannabis actually. But if you include a few musicians and we allow these people to exist we really never tried to stamp out drug use we always tried to control it. And but it wasn't a social problem. These people excepted themselves as deviants they too thought they were bad and that there was no fuss made socially about them either by them or by anybody else. Today the situation is entirely changed
and yet it seems to me that we're continuing to do our same old thing as if the situation hadn't changed that we're still using legal methods of control. We're saying the same things about harmfulness and so on and that we really aren't thinking about the fact that we've had an enormous social shift which has to be taken into account. What drugs are harmful I want to get your reaction to that and then the man on the street so to speak go to tech to find again from your point of view. What do you see the effects of drugs as being all drugs are harmful including aspirin for certain people. There's no question about the harmfulness of drugs. I don't think that's the issue. I don't think there's any question that cannabis under certain circumstances with certain people can be harmful just like I know aspirin can for people who are sensitive to it. I don't think that's the issue. And I think it's great care to discuss harmfulness in the specific drug sense without thinking about set and setting. And I think that's where too attention has been paid that the setting in which drugs are used has simply changed. Detective Flanagan I want to direct this next question to you does it occur to you as you hear these other three gentleman talk who are a little bit withdrawn in various degrees from the
problem on the street is that it occurred to you that perhaps they've missed the whole point or a portion of the point that you see any eyes in the behavior of the people that you picked up for drug abuse and now you have to disagree with doctors in Baghdad. He was giving way to his lasting achievements and I have a saying that this wasn't a social problem say 10 or 12 years ago I thought it was there were a lot of black people involved. Some of them I became very friendly with even though we were on opposite sides of the drug problem. Each one of them. And when you get to know a person regardless of color or race or whatever it was very much of a social problem to the individual that was involved with drugs at that time. You can't write them off and say now because it's a white community it's important. And I'm afraid this is what a lot of the studies are coming out with now and people are sort of starting all sorts of clinics getting federal funds. They're not accomplishing much they're not even too well connected with one another. I can understand we're going to write off a good percentage of black people 13 years ago and just say it wasn't a social problem because to them certainly the problem was just as bad as it is to the rich get all their family. I never met
one of them that just said well I'm a derelict. I'm a junkie and that's the thing and I conceived of I don't know any drug addict I ever met that wouldn't like not to be a drug addict after they've been affiliated with drugs for any length of time. Doctors in Berg could you give us some distinctions some of the nuances in terms of drug use as they affect different kinds of users and different kinds of settings in point of time or age or. Yeah you really have. Perhaps three distinct groups of drug users it seems to me. One is essentially a socio ethnic and they do come from a very specific background for the profile that you can know immediately. They've been into things from the time they were small kids they were smoking at seven eight drinking by the time they're 10 11 perhaps would use marijuana but would also be in petty thievery prostitution and so on and often hard drugs by the time they're 14 15 16 and they usually did come from low skill working class backgrounds. The children of immigrants even if the immigration was from the south to the north.
Then you have a group of people that I know for purposes of description call in for anything that you have the kind of kid on personality grounds. Well often perhaps begin with marijuana because it's more easily available. But within a very short time is into everything he's into all kinds of drug use. Occasionally he becomes addicted although I think most frequently he doesn't. He uses drugs in a spree sense for in a very aggressive social sense. And then you have the third group which I think numerically is infinitely larger who essentially are experimentalists and who drug use has become a very complex social issue for them these Incidentally I do tend to be white but there are many particularly in black radical groups and so on who used drugs in this way and I do think that they don't stop with cannabis that many of them do want to drop acid and see the effects of that. They would be willing to sniff cocaine or heroin under certain special circumstances although I think there's very little question of addiction. Also I don't think that this group begins using drugs for the same reasons that they do I think the motives are quite different. Although I think
that because of certain social situations now they become. I hate the word they become ever united and they do go very aggressively toward society but I don't think that their drug use begins that way. In contrast to the other two groups. Richard Callahan Basically the more scientific approach of the doctor is not the way that we view the problem at all. I agree with them that there are various types of people I don't think you can break them into one two or three groups. If you try to break them into groups we talk about experimenters and experimenters of people who can take a leave a substance they are occasionally uses and the third group being more clearly defined as the drug dependent category. These are people who are hooked whether it's grass or whether it's acid or whether it's heroin. They have a dependency upon the chemical and the chemical has a grip upon them. And I quite strongly feel and believe that a percentage of people who experiment with any of these chemicals get into genuine difficulty with it. And at some period of time
along their drug usage patterns wind up over in category number three as a percentage of people who drink become alcoholics. A percentage of people who use any chemical get into difficulty with it. Item assignment and I was sent by the leadership of our agency to speak to 5000 people out in line at North Dakota. And I've made all kinds of wisecracks we're going to get 5000 people in North Dakota off the shipment from Minneapolis and that type of thing. I did go to my unit and on a Saturday night I met with educators medical people and the police community and they described as a setting. If we want to talk about settings in North Dakota that was Beacon Hill in Boston Massachusetts 18 months ago. They get a marijuana scene an acid scene and two months prior to that they'd seen the first bloody needles and they have a methamphetamine or speed situation there that day. This is a frantic community where the program was held on
Sunday the will between forty five hundred fifty five hundred people there. They saying America the Beautiful. But it was a very eerie feeling to see a situation that was identical to what Boston experienced 18 months to two years ago the speed problem is very low in line of the code in just the few remaining seconds I really have got to put this thing in a little different context and that is this. All right ahead Enron there is no such thing as dangerous drugs per se and we can't classify any particular drug as causing a person. The problem with drug dependent persons is an emotional or mental health problem. And the use of drugs is symptomatic of an underlying psychological physiological problem of the individual. And what makes one person twitch and what makes another person takes take drugs is an insignificant part of the underlying problem of the individual. This is what we've got to come to grips with. What makes this person
sick. What makes him dependent upon drugs in order to pursue his normal everyday life. If you can call it that what was a very basic police problem 10 years ago is an enormously complicated. Social problem today medical people do not agree. The police people do not agree. The research scientific people do not agree. The legislators do not agree. It's a very substantial dilemma around just about every actual law and with this I would say too that in order to be precise again that you can think of as a police problem you can think of it as a mental health problem and there are certainly individuals who have a great deal of trouble and seek drugs out for that reason. But when I said it was a social problem I meant something quite different. In other words if it is acceptable and one of the houses of Harvard to use drugs and it's so acceptable that maybe the person who doesn't use drugs is a deviant and that particular social setting then you are not dealing with a mental health
problem in the same sense that we used to use it where you can look at an interview and say why is he doing this terrible thing to himself. And that's what I think has been the significant change in the last few years. We are no longer dealing with a psychological problem the sense of Mr. Bachmann mentions it. We're dealing with a sociological problem. I must say that there are two different aspects number one the casual user. That's number one. You can talk about the boys in a college that use it as a casual user but the second group of people the drug the Panamint person there's no question whatsoever. He has a serious mental health problem which must be solved and it's no more a social problem when he can't get along without the use of a drug. He has a medical problem that much must be looked at by society and he needs the help of society as Dr. Levin said at MIT. If they ever intend to change the establishment to any degree this new generation you can't do it if you're intoxicated. You can't do it if you're drunk.
It is very difficult to sum up a program like this as I'm sure my guest in the studio are well aware we just won't attempt to sum up what this kind of complex problem it is to a certain extent an individual psychological problem a physiological problem and then from another point of view it's a social problem it's a law enforcement problem. There is one thing for sure however that we can conclude in that is it. It is a growing problem. It is a problem which was in Boston and San Francisco and New York a few years ago or even a few months ago and now it has become as proliferates out to where it is a problem and mine a North Dakota. As Richard Callahan mentioned just a few minutes ago Gentlemen thank you very much for coming on this program. Northeastern University has brought you Richard Callahan suing them regional director federal narcotics bureau talked to Norman's inverted drug analyst Tufts University
Garnett Jay Flanagan detective Boston Police Department narcotics squad and Representative Jack Backman. Carolyn Matthews of drug abuse Coming up today's program. The drug scene from the get go to the suburbs. The views and opinions expressed on the breezy program are not necessarily those of Northeastern University or in this nation. Questions asked where the moderator's method of presenting many sides of today's topic. Your host has been Joseph Meyer Baner Director Department of radio production. This week's program was produced by Carolyn guardrails directed by James Frey with technical supervision by Mike Riccio executive producer for urban confrontation is the last. Urban confrontation of her youth for the division of instructional communications at the nation's largest private university. Northeastern University. Requests for a tape recorded copy of any program in this series may be addressed to her than confrontation. Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts 0 2 1 1
- Urban Confrontation
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- Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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- APA: Urban Confrontation; 44. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-7s7hv72v