Dealing With Drug Addiction

A 1959 broadcast from CBC Television addresses Vancouver’s growing drug problem and discusses legalization. In 50 years NOTHING has changed. [Watch on]

Here’s a 20-minute documentary clip that aired on CBC’s Close-Up on 13 May 1959. It features reporter Jack Webster looking into the issue of drug addiction in Vancouver and includes interviews with an addict, a druggist, a coroner, and a drug squad detective. The drug issue was in the news after three young men died from heroin overdoses.

Addicts in the 1950s were subjected to more vigorous enforcement of drug laws than anytime since, yet the police themselves felt their efforts were futile against the drug menace. In this clip, Detective Al Shepard echoes a defeatist proposal made earlier in the decade by Chief Constable Walter Mulligan that addicts should be segregated from society, maybe on some island. Until then, it’s “just the same thing, day in and day out” for the drug squad.

– Article from Past Tense Vancouver on January 3, 2009.

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