DRUG ADDICTION.

DRUG ADDICTION.

772 Marsden-street School (1829-1839), which resulted from a quarrel at Jordan’s School, and the Chatham-street School. led by Dr. George Southam ; in...

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772 Marsden-street School (1829-1839), which resulted from a quarrel at Jordan’s School, and the Chatham-street School. led by Dr. George Southam ; independent from 1850 to 1856, the latter institution was in 1856 amalgamated with the Royal School. Meanwhile, Owens College, founded in 1851, was felt to be incomplete without a, medical school, and after long negotiations the Royal School was absorbed. The Pine-street prexnises of the Royal School were used till 1874, when the new college building in Oxford-road was occupied. Enlargements in 1883 and 1894 brought the medical school to its present size, and an interior rearrangement in 1921 practically doubled the laboratory accommodation for teaching and research. In 1880 Owens College became the first collegeof the new Victoria University, which in 1883 was empowered to give its own medical degrees. The students of the Manchester Medical School are drawn from a wide and populous area and 90 per cent. of these students now take a Manchester medical degree. DRUG ADDICTION. THE world’s drug traffic was discussed at a recent meeting of the health committee of the League of Nations, and it was then decided that a crusade of popular enlightenment on the dangers of drug addiction should be undertaken on a world-wide scale. This crusade is independent of the inquiry now in train regarding the world’s legitimate need of narcotic drugs for medical purposes and the restrictive measures which may logically follow on the completion of this inquiry. The offer of the League of Red Cross Societies with its machinerv in 42 countries for popular health instruction to assist in the work of education and enlightenment was readily accepted by the larger League. This decision enables one to turn from Mr. R. K. Anderson’s account of drug smuggling in India1 with relief born of the hope that some other methods may be effective against the opium curse than the practices to which excise officers in India now have recourse. Bribery, it seems, is met by bribery and corruption by corruption in a not very successful attempt to control the illicit drug trade. Mr. Anderson is not concerned only with bribery and corruption. In his book, written throughout in an entertaining style, the writer introduces us to opium smokers, morphia and cocaine addicts, and the votaries of Cannabis sativa. His descriptions of the results of drug addiction to be found in these pages will help greatly the formation of an instructed public opinion. The most challenging sections of the book are those which appear to excuse if not to defend indulgence in opium-smoking and the consumption or smoking of hemp. The arguments he uses against prohibition and in favour of a controlled moderation are curiously reminiscent of arguments recently advanced in a similar controversy concerning the control of alcoholic indulgence in this country. We need scarcely add that a very proper distinction is drawn between the use of opium or coca and that of their alkaloids, and an interesting historical note on the cultivation of and commerce in opium in India is appended. Dr. E. H. Williams approaches the subject from a different angle. Aware of the fact, " well known to persons familiar with the subject, but not appreciated by the generality of people," that almost every drug addict wishes to be freed from his bondage, he has produced a well-balanced and instructive discussion on the social and therapeutic measures calculated best to’ serve this end. He is not prepared wholeheartedly to condemn, as it is now fashionable, the gradual reduction treatment of drug addiction. In a few cases, of which he reports two, this method has been known to succeed where others failed. In 1 Drug Smuggling and Taking in India and Burma. By Roy K. Anderson, F.R.S.A., Superintendent, Burma Excise Department. Calcutta and Simla : Thacker, Spink and Co. 1922. Pp. 104. 2 Opiate Addiction: Its Handling and Treatment. New York: The Macmillan Company. 1922. Pp. 194. 8s.

many other cases it must be considered a pis aller and yet not condemned outright. Ambulatory treatment, which must of necessity be by gradual reduction, may not be ideal, but it is perforce adopted for the treatment of many other diseases which would be more efficiently controlled in hospital. In the case of drug addiction the United States citizen must choose between admission to an .asylum for the insane, with all its legal unpleasantness and social stigma, treatment in an expensive private institution, and ambulatory treatment. For many this means a choice between the out-patient clinic and no treatment at all. The clinic has certainly many drawbacks and is liable to be abused. But it has social advantages as well-amongst them the practical extinction of the noxious trade carried on by peddlers. If peddlers can be starved out of their trade by the competition of the clinic one of the most fruitful sources of relapse will have been done away with. For the treatment of addicts experience rather than book-learning is required. There is, however, much help to be found

by those who are gaining this experience in the descriptions given by Dr. Williams of both the gradual and rapid withdrawal methods. RIVER

POLLUTION

BY MILK PRODUCTS.

THE great development during recent years of milk depots and of factories for the preparation of milk products has given rise to a source of river pollution of considerable importance. In the case of milk depots the copious summer inflow of milk results in the depot receiving more milk than it can issue, with the consequence that a portion has to be converted into other products, chiefly cheese. The market for the whey resulting as a by-product of the cheesemaking is a very limited one, and as a result large amounts of whey are got rid of by discharge into streams, with prior treatment in varying degree. The treatment is rarely sufficient to prevent grave nuisance arising through the production of evil-smelling scum deposited on vegetation ; while the destruction of

fish is often of a most extensive and serious character. The damage is due to two types of pollution-the discharge of whey and the discharge of the washings from floors and from churns and other utensils. The latter, although the less serious of the two, is nevertheless a much more important cause of pollution than is commonly recognised. Dr. W. G. Savage and Mr. D. R. Wood, the county medical officer of health and the public analyst respectively for Somerset, in an interesting and stimulating paper presented before the recent annual congress of the Royal Sanitary Institute, came to the conclusion that about 0-5 per cent. of the milk is lost in spillings and in the washing so that a factory with a turnover of of churns, &c., 4000 gallons of milk a day will run away about 20 gallons of milk a day as waste. Moreover, they calculate that taking the oxygen-absorption capacity as an index, these 20 gallons of waste milk each day are equivalent to not less than 3000 gallons of domestic sewage, or that derived from a population of about 150 people. Serious, however, as this factor for pollution may become, it is much less important than that due to the discharge of whey, on account both of the quantity of the latter involved and of its chemical properties. As regards quantity, the whey to be disposed of is equivalent to nearly nine-tenths of the milk used. The whey contains some 6 to 7 per cent. of solids, chiefly fat, lactose, lactic acid, and proteins. The fat is to a large extent recovered, as this is commercially worth while. The lactose and lactic acid are the chief sources of pollution, owing to their high oxygen-absorbing power. In this respect whey (and also whole milk) are, according to the same authorities, more than equivalent to 150 times as much ordinary sewage. This is a surprising and not generally recognised point. Herein, no doubt, lies the secret of its action not merely on vegetation, but on fish, which are asphyxiated by the water from which the whey has rapidly removed the dissolved oxygen.