Harrison Act 1914

Topics: Opium, Heroin, Drug addiction Pages: 3 (812 words) Published: October 19, 2012
The first international initiative to control drugs was the 1909 Shanghai Opium Commission which brought the community together in order to deter the illicit drug trafficking of opium. The Commission later met at conferences in the Netherlands in 1911 and 1913, promoting legislation that would aid them in handling the narcotics problem in their own country. During this same time period, the United States started to take notice in the favor of prohibition of all “moral evils,” particularly drugs and alcohol. New York Representative Francis B. Harrison was particularly moved by both the Shanghai Commission and the reformists in the Progressive movement who wanted to eradicate drugs, he proposed a two measure system to prohibit the introduction and nonmedical use of drugs as well as regulate the production of drugs in the United States. This became known as the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. The provisions of the Harrison Act imposed licensing requirements on those who manufactured, distributed, sold, imported, produced, compounded and dispensed narcotic drugs. These parties must register with the director of the Internal Revenue Service within the Treasury Department and pay an occupational tax, which increased gradually. It was a way for Congress to monitor the solicitation of opium and coca leaves so they could have records of transactions involving these drugs. They were only allowed for medical and scientific use. Those who were in violation of this act, would face a maximum penalty of five years in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both. The Harrison Act intended to create income by enforcing taxes involving the sale, trade and distribution of drugs. Congress put this responsibility on the Treasury Department in particular the IRS and the Narcotics Unit of the Bureau of Prohibition. The Treasury made attempts to limit narcotics for medicinal and scientific uses by physicians and druggists. The Act required physicians and pharmacists to pay close attention to...
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