Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Signing of the Drug Abuse Control Amendments Bill

July 15, 1965

Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen .'

Over the years of this century, the American people have benefited greatly from the effective protection of their health and their well-being that has been provided by their Government.

The legislation before us today is in that proud and that respected tradition. The development of safe and effective drugs has brought more progress in the past few decades than in all the centuries before on reducing human suffering and on conquering human disease.

Drugs can, if properly used, protect our health, prolong our life, reduce much pain and suffering. Improperly used, drugs can cause great injury and do great harm.

The Drug Abuse Control Act of 1965 is designed to prevent both the misuse and the illicit traffic of potentially dangerous drugs, especially the sedatives and the stimulants, which are so important in the medicines that we use today.

Unlike narcotics, some of these drugs are very easily and very cheaply manufactured. Production has been rapidly increasing. Some of that production has been counterfeit. But more importantly, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that at least one-half the annual production of certain useful drugs is being diverted to criminal traffic.

Enough "goof balls" and "pep pills," for instance, are being manufactured this year to provide 2 dozen pills to every man, woman, and child in the United States.

We know all too well that racketeers in this field are making easy victims of many of our finest young people. The Congress hopes, and I hope, that this act will put a stop to such vicious business.

I cannot express too strongly my determination that this good and decent and law-abiding society shall not be corrupted, undermined, or mocked by any criminal elements, whether they are organized or not. I believe that most Americans share this hope and share this determination.

I think it is noteworthy that this legislation receive very widespread support from various citizens groups, from the drug industry, from organized medicine, and from others.

The values of our society and the security of our homes and communities can be protected by the law; and where the law is inadequate, or unjust, or obsolete, we have an obligation to cure what is wrong, and we can do it.

So, congratulations this morning are due the many Members of the Congress who made the determined effort to secure the enactment of this measure and bring it to the desk for signature.

The Chairman of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, Oren Harris of Arkansas, did a most outstanding job. In the House he had very able and effective support from Congressman Delaney, and Congressman Boggs, and from Mrs. Sullivan.

Certainly, very special mention is due for the courageous public leadership offered to this cause by Senator Tom Dodd of Connecticut. He was the author of the forerunner of the present act, which passed the Senate last year.

I also want to thank Senator Hill and I particularly thank the manager of the bill, my friend, Senator Ralph Yarborough from my own State.

This is another step forward in the attack that we are making on crime and delinquency throughout the United States.

I hope this measure will be followed by the enactment of other important measures recommended in my message to the Congress on March 8, 1965.

Note: The President spoke at 12 noon in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

During his remarks he referred to Representative Oren Harris of Arkansas, Chairman of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, Representative James I. Delaney of New York, Representative Hale Boggs of Louisiana, Representative Leonor K. Sullivan of Missouri, Senator Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut, Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, and Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas.

As enacted, the bill (H.R. 2) is Public Law 89-74 (79 Stat. 216).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Signing of the Drug Abuse Control Amendments Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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