Rochdalers warn of the 'speed that kills'
By LOREN LIND, Globe and Mail, page 5, October 18, 1969.
A delegation from Rochdale College lectured the federal drug commission yesterday on the dangers of amphetamine, the speed that kills.
"Speed is the killer, but in the wide use today, it really is," said Jack Jones, a member of Rochdale council. "When speed comes up, I see a real trap. Because it is so attractive, it's so easy to get, and it's so dangerous."
Seven Rochdale spokesmen appeared before the federal Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, partly to urge the legalization of marijuana, but they also recommended a clampdown on speed pushers.
They said amphetamine, a stimulant drug commonly called speed, is swiftly replacing the softer drug, marijuana, on the illegal market. "I'll take you to any high school in Toronto, and you'll get speed before you'll get grass, any day of the week," Mr. Bradford told the commission.
"One of the reasons people do speed so much is because there isn't much grass around, and the reason there isn't much grass around is because it's illegal."
Mr. Jones said teen-agers who sell marijuana to their friends sometimes begin selling speed when their sources of marijuana and hashish dry up. "Since under the law all these things are illegal, there's not that much difference about it in their minds."
In fact, he added, it is actually legally safer to handle speed, since possessing speed is not a criminal offence.
Selling speed is an offence, but last year there were only 60 prosecutions in all Canada. Possession of marijuana is illegal.
Although speed is far more dangerous, often causing paranoia, violent acts and severe withdrawal symptoms, he said, it becomes a substitute for marijuana.
Rodney Hummel, 23, who serves as security guard at Rochdale, said it takes only five or six hits before a young person is hooked. He has had 11-year-old girls come into the lobby asking for speed.
"Speed freaks are about the most dangerous people around. They're paranoid and they're sometimes armed. If you argue with them while their on speed, they have no compunction about shooting you," he said later.
He and the present Rochdale council attempt to evict anyone found in possession of speed. He said they have called the police for help in this, but have been told possession is not an offence.
Copyright by the Globe and Mail, 1969. All rights reserved.