View the story "High Times: New York City's War on Drugs" on Storify] High Times: New York City's War on Drugs In 1969, President Richard Nixon's Justice Department took the first steps in what he would later declare the "War on Drugs." This timeline outlines the policing, politics, and culture of drugs in New York City and elsewhere. Reporting by Jarrett Murphy
Storified by City Limits (New York) · Fri, Oct 12 2012 14:13:42
U.S. Capital BuildingR'lyeh Imaging
1890: Congress Passes It's First Anti-Narcotics Law, Imposing A Tax on Opium, and Morphine, which had become more popular after the civil war. 1906: Assembly Al Smith introduces a New York State law restricting cocaine availability. 1914: The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, which gives the federal government broad power to tax the sale of manufacturing of opiates, is passed. 1918: New York State establishes a network of morphine maintenance clinics. 1929: President Hoover says violators of the Harrison Act make up 33% of inmates at major federal prisons-more than twice the number of Prohibition violators.
1930: The Mayor's Committee on Drug Addiction reports there is no cocaine problem in New York. 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act-which doesn't make the herb illegal but does allow the feds to tax it-becomes law. 1940: FDR vetoes a bill that would have deported aliens convicted of drug possession, writing, "Addiction to narcotics is ... a lamentable disease, rather than a crime." 1942: The Opium Poppy Control Act makes it illegal to raise poppies in the United States without a license. 1951: A landmark report on organized crime by Senator Estes Kefauver finds that the mafia is involved in peddling illegal drugs. 1953: The CIA, in a quest to find an ideal truth serum, begins the MK-ULTRA experiments, in which subjects, some unwitting, are given LSD.
NYPD - Time SquarePascal Subtil
1962: NYPD Detectives and federal agents seize more than 100 pounds of heroin with a street value of $34 million in the French Connection bust.
1964: Doctors at Rockefeller University in Manhattan begin a test program for the use of methadone to treat addiction. 1967: Velvet Underground's song "Heroin" is released. 1968: R&B Star Frankie Lymon dies of a heroin overdose in Harlem.
Frankie Lymon - Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1956)john1948five
1969: President Nixon unveils a 10-point plan for dealing with narcotics 'This growing menace to the general welfare of the United States."
Richard Nixon War On Drugs 1972hunterhttpthompson
1970: Elvis Presley meets Nixon after asking to be appointed as a "federal agent-at-large" in the war on illegal drugs. 1971: NYPD detective Frank Serpico is shot during the drug bust at 778 Driggs Avenue in Brooklyn.
City Room: Watching 'Serpico' With Serpicothenewyorktimes
1972: The Knapp Commission reports on widespread corruption in the NYPD, especially in the narcotics unit.
The Knapp Commission / "They Wished They Were Honest"cupvideos
1982: In answer to a question from a California elementary school, first lady Nancy Reagan introduces the phrase, "Just Say No."
CNN: 1986: Nancy Reagan's 'Just say no' campaigncnn
1983: The film "Scarface," telling the story of a Cuban refugee's rise to the top of a drug empire, is released. 1986: U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Al D'Amato wear disguises to participate in a drug bust in Harlem. Some of the "crack" they buy is phony. 1987: The "This is your brain on drugs," commercial airs.
Brain On Drugspushthefire
1990: Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is busted on cocaine charges.
CBS Evening News January 19, 1990 part 1bobcnn1
1991: New Jack City, a a film chronicling life among New York’s drug lords, opens. 1993: Colombian cocaine lord Pablo Escobar is killed in a shoot-out in Medellín, Colombia.
NEW JACK CITY Movie Trailermoviepreviews4u
1994: The Mollen Commission reports that corruption remains rife in the NYPD, particularly in narcotics units. 1 995: New York State’s first drug treatment court opens in Rochester. 1996: California voters approve Proposition 215, permitting the medical use of marijuana. 1998: Mayor Giuliani and the NYPD drive the Million Marijuana March out of Washington Square Park. 2000: Patrick Dorismond is shot dead after scuf?ing with undercover NYPD of?cers who, under a new anti-drug initiative called Operation Condor, had asked him for crack. 2001: In a post–Sept. 11 speech, British prime minister Tony Blair refers to the Taliban as “a regime founded on fear and funded on the drugs trade.” 2002: The George W. Bush administration opposes changing the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine possession. 2004: Sen. Charles Schumer declares crystal meth “the new crack.” 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal anti-drug laws trump state medical-marijuana measures in places like California. 2006 “Killer heroin,” which combines the opiate with the painkiller fentanyl, is linked to hundreds of deaths nationwide. 2007: The NYPD makes 112,123 drug arrests, the highest number under Mayor Bloomberg and one of the biggest yearly hauls in the drug war. 2008: The National Drug Intelligence Center reports that Mexican drug-traficking organizations “represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States.” 2009: For the third time in five years, New York State reforms the Rockefeller drug laws— this time to permit First-time B-felony defendants to get treatment in lieu of prison.