Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for the Treatment of Narcotics Users in the District of Columbia.
I HAVE TODAY signed H.R. 3307, "To provide for the treatment of users of narcotics in the District of Columbia."
This measure makes available for the first time a civil procedure under which the United States District Court for the District of Columbia may order compulsory commitment of narcotic drug users to approved hospitals for treatment and rehabilitation. I believe that the enactment of this legislation is a forward step in meeting the problem of drug addiction.
The law does not take effect for a period of six months. In that time I am confident that the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia will be able to develop a program under which adequate care for narcotics patients can be provided in hospitals under the jurisdiction of the District Government.
I am concerned, however, that in the course of consideration of this measure attention was given to other bills now pending in the Congress which would authorize the care and treatment at facilities of the United States Public Health Service of narcotics addicts committed by state courts and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
I wish to make it clear that inauguration of the program authorized by H.R. 3307 is not and cannot be contingent upon additional legislation authorizing the use of the United States Public Health Service hospitals. The existing capacity of appropriately equipped hospitals is not great enough to enable the United States to assume responsibility for a large volume of commitments from the District and from state courts.
The implications of the legislation which would authorize such commitments, aside from limitations of Federal hospital capacity, need to be thoroughly studied from the state as well as from the Federal point of view. I therefore express the hope that the Congress will defer action on the pending proposals until such a study can be conducted by the commission on Federal-State relationships which will soon be established under legislation now in the final stages of Congressional consideration.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 3307 is Public Law 76, 83d Congress (67 Stat. 77).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for the Treatment of Narcotics Users in the District of Columbia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231651