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We are simply proposing that anyone who buys piperidine in person or by mail present positive identification. This should not provide a problem for legitimate purchasers; it should, however, be a significant deterrent for
the casual criminal who can currently acquire the raw materials for PCP with no questions asked, and no requirement for identification.
Mr. Chairman, there is broad agreement that most of the street PCP inundating this country is manufactured and distributed by the smalltime criminals who are the target of this legislation. I would like to put them out of business, and I am asking for your help.
I don't pretend that S. 2778, if enacted into law, will necessarily eliminate the epidemic of PCP abuse among our young people. It should, however, make the drug harder to obtain, drive up prices, and reduce demand accordingly. It should halt the proliferation of illegal PCP laboratories that are currently so widespread and so lucrative.
S. 2778 is a step in the right direction, its logic is irrefutable. It attracted 34 cosponsors in the Senate and was passed by voice vote on July 27 as an amendment to S. 2399, the Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978, currently pending before the House.
I know that Congressman Rogers' Subcommittee on Health and Environment has acted favorably
on the psychotropic substance legislation, and I would hope that the distinguished Select Committee might be favorably inclined toward my amendment, either on the floor of the House or in conference.
I would also note that my PCP control legislation has been endorsed by the International Association of Police Chiefs, the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association, and by 14 State narcotic agencies. The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice have also testified for it.
In addition to making it more difficult for drug dealers to purchase piperidine, S. 2778 also increases criminal sanctions for unauthorized manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute PCP from a maximum first offense penalty of 5 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine, to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. And finally, by providing legal procedures for the purchase of piperidine, this legislation would give drug enforcement officials an added weapon to use in prosecuting illegal PCP producers.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your patience in hearing me out on this important subject. I hope S. 2778 makes sense to the members of this distinguished committee and merits your support.
Thank you very much. I would be pleased to take any questions you might have.
Mr. DE LA GARZA. Thank you very much, Senator. Without objection, your full statement will appear in the record inasmuch as I saw that you departed from parts of it.
Senator Bentsen's prepared statement appears on p. 111.)
Mr. DE LA GARZA. We appreciate very much your taking the time to come here and discuss this very important matter with us.
Are there any questions of Senator Bentsen? Mr. Gilman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want, too, to commend the distinguished Senator from Texas for his concern over this issue, and for his leadership in the Senate in focusing attention on the problem.
As we heard today from our leading agency administrators in the Federal Government, PCP has become a highly critical problem nationwide. And it certainly needs the type of legislation that the Senator has been able to convince his colleagues of.
I hope when the measure comes before the House we can undertake similar steps. We have some legislation pending that has been designed somewhat around the Senator's proposal, and I am hoping we can convince our colleagues to adopt the Senator's viewpoint, of the need for controlling the substances.
I had questioned, Senator Bentsen, the agency people who appeared before us this morning, among whom was Peter Bensinger, the head of our Drug Enforcement Administration, and Mr. Dogoloff, the head of our Drug Abuse Policy Group in the White House. I asked them whether the control of piperidine would be an appropriate way to attack the problem. And one of the responses was that there are various analogs that could be substitute products, and that while the control of this chemical is important, it would not completely go to the heart of the problem of controlling the entire manufacture.
I am wondering if you had examined that problem.
Senator BENTSEN. I don't purport to say S. 2778 will control the entire problem. I don't know of any way to totally stop the abuse of all synthetic drugs. But the measure is certainly a major step in the right direction.
Now when you talk about analogs to PCP, normally you think of PCE and PCH. Because these two drugs are new, we don't have any real scientific studies, any background information built up to show how dangerous they are, how serious a problem they constitute. Thus far we have seen nothing in analog abuse that even approaches the extent of PCP misuse. Although we know PCP damages the minds of young people it can blow their minds for 5 hours or for lifewe haven't seen that yet in the analogs.
But that doesn't argue for inaction. You know, we ought to move on this.
I am advised an earlier witness testified my PCP control measure would cost $3.5 million to administer. That is garbage. Piperidine is normally purchased for the hardening of rubber tires. That means it is purchased in large blocks and normally through a wholesaler, not through a retailer. Someone buying piperidine through a retailer, who is not doing it for the hardening of rubber, is generally buying it for the manufacture of PCP. Obviously, once they have to identify themselves and once they know their names are going to be turned over to DEA, they will not make these purchases.
Implementation of S. 2778 will dramatically decrease the number of piperidine purchases. Thus it makes no sense at all to develop a regulatory cost estimate based upon an analysis of current piperidine transactions. Such an analysis clearly exaggerates the financial impact of S. 2778.
Now there is another question: Can you manufacture piperidine ? Yes, you can. But it is a very complex manufacturing process that will not be done in the back end of a van. It takes trained individuals and some sophisticated equipment to do it.
Mr. GILMAN. I think certainly, Senator, you are moving in the right direction. Our staff had indicated to us in their research that 93
percent of all of the piperidine is used in rubber manufacturing, leaving a very small percentage for other uses. There was only some 500,000 pounds of it manufactured annually.
So I would assume that the regulation should be relatively easy to accomplish.
Again I want to compliment you, Senator, for your interest in this problem, and especially for your interest in the Mexican-U.S. Interparliamentary meetings where you have raised the narcotics issue very vocally. We appreciate those efforts.
Senator BENTSEN. I have enjoyed working with you on that, Congressman.
Mr. DE LA GARZA. Any further questions of the Senator? Counsel.
Mr. NELLIS. Senator, may I ask you this question: I notice in your statement that you say you feel that the PCP drug should be harder to obtain and it would drive up prices and reduce demand accordingly on the strength of the notion that there are many amateurs involved in making this substance.
This morning Mr. Bensinger testified, much to my amazement, that more and more organized gangs of criminals, those who deal in heroin and other hard drugs, are involved in the manufacture of PCP. So that would strengthen, I think, your position as to the wholesale purchases of this precursor.
The only problem I have with it is that we were also informed this morning that you can make PCP without using piperidine. Have you heard that?
Senator BENTSEN. No; and such information as I have had is to the contrary. The studies that I have been given say that is not correct, that to make PCP the illicit manufacturer needs to have piperidine.
Now, some of the analogs, that is different. The analogs have different physiological effects; some may even be less dangerous than PCP.
Mr. NELLIS. Thank you, Senator.
Mr. DE LA GARZA. Thank you very much, Senator, we appreciate your interest as always that you have expressed in this great problem, and we commend you for it.
I am sure this committee will be very interested in assisting you in your legislation.
Senator BENTSEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DE LA GARZA. We have another vote in the House and probably under the circumstances it would be better if we stand in recess for about 5 minutes or so and we will continue then with the next witnesses.
[Short recess.] Mr. GILMAN (presiding]. The committee will please come to order. We welcome the afternoon panelists. This morning we heard from Congressman Mineta, who indicated the depth and magnitude of the PCP problem, and who claimed that San Jose, which is located in his own congressional district, had become the PCP capital of the Nation.
We also heard from Lee Dogoloff, the Associate Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff, who, and I hope I am not taking his remarks out of context, maintained that with a high acceptance of drug use by polydrug users, it could easily prove counterproductive to highlight PČP as a problem.
Peter Bensinger, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, discussed the Special Action Office on PCP within DEA, and he supports legislation that would increase the criminal penalties for the unlawful manufacture, distribution, and possession of PCP.
Dr. Czechowicz, Special Assistant for Medical and Scientific Affairs for the Director of the Division of Community Assistance of the National Institute on Drug Abuse discussed the widespread use of PCP and some of the work of the PCP Action Coordinating Committee.
We look forward to hearing our afternoon panelists, and I welcome to our committee the Crossroads program director, Iola Scrafford, and along with her, Steve Rugenstein, and Mr. Ed Rugenstein, his father.
We welcome you to our committee.
TESTIMONY OF IOLA SCRAFFORD, DIRECTOR, CROSSROADS PROGRAM, FAIRFAX, VA., ACCOMPANIED BY EDWARD RUGENSTEIN AND STEVE RUGENSTEIN
Ms. SCRAFFORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.
Mr. GILMAN. I am going to ask you, before you commence your testimony, to stand and take the oath. We swear in all of our witnesses.
Ms. Scrafford and Messrs. Rugenstein were sworn:]
Ms. SCRAFFORD. Thank you. I would like to tell you a little bit about the Crossroads program. Although the Crossroads program, the drug abuse program for Fairfax County and northern Virginia, was conceived at the height of the heroin epidemic, the program was designed to deal with the problems of drug abuse in the broadest sense. It was apparent very early from the conception of the program that it was the availability that determined the type of drug that was to be abused.
PCP surfaced in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco in the early sixties, but was not popular because of its adverse behavioral and physiological effects which you have heard testimony about.
In Fairfax County in 1974, less than 1 percent of our clients admitted abuse of PCP. In calendar year 1977, over 30 percent admitted to the use of PCP on a frequent basis.
We also had been aware that youngsters 10 years old and older, have had varied experiences with PCP. Our police records showed that over 20 percent of the arrests in calendar year 1977 were charges that involved possession, sale, or manufacture of synthetic drugs.
PCP is probably the major drug in that category. The Crossroads program has been in existence over 9 years, and during that time our clients have ranged from excessive marihuana users to hardcore heroin addicts. The age range of our clients has been from 10 years old to 50 years old, and we have observed all types of drug abuse in all age categories. PCP use has stirred the most concern among our staff. PCP can be easily used as it does not require a needle for injection, nor the ability to swallow a pill. It merely needs to be smoked for the maximum effect.
Not even the PCP users will deny the hazards of PCP use. Crossroads' staff believes once a drug user admits to using PCP on a regular basis, he has blatantly demonstrated such self-destructive behavior that only long-term residential treatment would be beneficial for this individual.
It is our philosophy that firm guidelines are needed in the treatment of all drug abusers. We do not separate PCP from other drug abusers. Clients need to know their boundaries and accept the responsibility and consequences of their own actions. Drug abuse, including the use of PCP, is only symptomatic of deep underlying problems, which often include low self-esteem, lack of self-control, and an inability to maintain good relationships. In order to confront these areas of dysfunction, we believe that our clients need to subscribe to total abstinence, in order to demonstrate first of all to themselves that they do have some control over their lives and behavior.
The most important adjunct to our therapeutic intervention in cases of drug abuse is to coach families in terms of coping skills, to restore each family's confidence in their own values, and to tone down reactiveness in crisis situations.
Speaking better along these lines are two people sitting next to me, Steve and his father. I would like them to share their own personal experiences over the past few years. They have been in the Crossroads program for over 15 months.
Mr. GILMAN. You may proceed, Steve. Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. First, I would like to start off saying like when I started using PCP, and get into it a little more.
First, I started using PCP about
Mr. GILMAN. Steve, could you move the microphone a little closer or lean a little closer to the mike? Thank you.
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Like I said, I will start with saying when I first started using PCP. It was around 1 year ago. It was, I would say in February, January or February I started using PCP. I didn't use it that frequently, because at first I was scared of the effects. But yet even though I was scared of the effects, I still used it, because I wanted to get high, higher than I was getting off marihuana.
I used it from 2 to 3 months, and I used it maybe once or twice a week.
Mr. GILMAN. How old were you when you first started using PCP?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Right after I turned 16. Then I will tell you more or less the reason why I used PCP and why a lot of other people, I feel, my peers, that were around me, used it, too.
Mainly I used marihuana when I first started using drugs and I guess I more or less turned to it because of a lot of peer pressure, it was something to do in your spare time.
Also I had a lot of family problems, you know, me and my dad and mom weren't getting along that well. So after I used marihuana for a while, I just didn't get the kick I wanted to get, so I turned to PCP because it was a little harder and a lot of my friends were starting to turn to it, because it was available.
Also the effects that it had on me was, well, I guess I will go into some personal things here. The first time I used it, I smoked it and