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JAMA Revisited
May 14, 2019

Narcotic Drug Addiction as Regulated by a State Department of Health

JAMA. 2019;321(18):1832. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.15330

Originally Published May 17, 1919 | JAMA. 1919;72(20):1441- 1445.

By an act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, session of 1917, concurrently with the United States Congress, the Harrison Narcotic Law, to all intents and purposes, was placed on the statute books of the commonwealth. Under the police power of the state, the department of health regulates the possession, etc., of certain narcotic drugs now under the control of the United States Bureau of Internal Revenue as relates to interstate commerce. But special provisos in the Pennsylvania act make it unlawful to supply the named drugs in any quantity whatsoever to known habitual users thereof, except in pursuance of a prescription of a duly licensed physician or dentist, and physicians may, under proper regulations, and after a physical examination of an addict and a report in writing, take addicts under treatment, in good faith, for the purpose of curing the habit, and not merely for the purpose of satisfying a craving for the drug.

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