-Urged against all
Forms of addiction
BY A STAFF REPORTER
ANATIONAL organisation to tackle all forms , in Britain by 1970 as the direct result of a conference at Clergy House, of addiction may be set up restminster, last week. The conference. which rought together for the first time a representative gathering of people inter4sted in the problems of alco ihol addiction, decided it ould set up a working arty to begin exploring the ssibilities of "a defence 4gainst addiction."
I Although alcoholism costs Iltritain £100 million a year in lost production and medical ilehabilitation, and has tragic 4ffQcts on sonic 750,000 families, and drug-addiction is expanding at an alarming rate. there is no national body to stem the tide, or even set about ny co-ordinated educational
When Cardinal Heenan ald the conference that alcoolism was a declining probern compared with drug. king, he had general support or his views. But Mr. Robert ayier. general secretary of
. he United Kingdom Band of ope. jumped to his feet as he Cardinal was leaving the all to ask that it be put on ecord that "there were those ho profoundly disagree" ith what the Cardinal had Said.
i "We see the statistics." said Mr. Tayler. "And it is not true that alcoholism is declining. ' "I speak with the practical xperience of working among oung people in South London. The danger of becoming n alcoholic is much greater t the present time than that f going on hard or soft rugs."
The conferences chairman. he Rev. Arthur C. Davies, of he Temperance Council of hristian Churches, intervened y suggesting the Cardinal was eating with the relevance of he problem of drugs, but olonel Peter Perfect. execuwe director of the National ounoil of Alcoholism. counered this by saying: "There is o question about it . . . the dcoholic population of this ountry is on the increase." However. the working party ho drew up the conference agenda had earlier pointed out that "one cannot guess how long it would take to make a million drug casualties, but it could happen in a very few years. The vast majority of the
population is at risk, having been conditioned by massive over-prescription of far from harmless pills, at no cost."
The working party pointed out that both alcohol and narcotics had cumulative effects which grew on top of each other, rather in the form of compound interest.
"This should be a matter of great concern to those who advocate moderation, for just as one cannot say to whom addiction is probable, one cannot say to skilOM moderation is possible.
MILLION ALCOHOLICS "If present trends continue with regard to the increase of addiction then we can confidently predict that in line with population forecasts, we shall have a million alcoholics in this country by the turn of the century.
"But there is an indication that there is a change in the trend of the pattern of addiction. It would appear that there is a switch from drink to drugs by the younger echelons of the population.
"This represents a danger of the first magnitude. comparable with the effects of nuclear fall-out. It takes 15 to 20 years of dedicated drinking, even of the hard stuff to produce the average alcoholic, but a confirmed drug addict can emerge in three months!"
The working party added: "It is essential to reduce the gravity of beers and the proof content of spirits, but at our peril it should not be made dearer or more inaccessible. We should beware of the 'switch-addicts.'
"A serious switch m addiction could lead to uncontrollable acceleration of the incidence."
The Cardinal said: "The problem of drugs affects the poor as well as the rich. Almost everywhere the problem exists, even in schools."
He said there should be no demarcation line as far as dnink and drugs were concerned, "and if I could make a practical suggestion. it would be that those at the conference work together as comrades as they had learned to do in the religious field, in this concern."
The success of the confer ence was a triumph for its "coordinator." Mr. Joseph flonan, who for the last two years has been bringing people interested in the problem of alcoholism to discussion sessions.
The conference generally agreed that the potential hazards of alcoholism made it imperative for the Church to face the problem. It felt the Church should suggest and support any project which was calculated to contribute effectively towards the problem.
When the conference canie to discuss alcoholism from the individual's standpoint, it was decided that the Christian had a responsibility to set an example of temperance.
By some this was seen as implying total abstinence from all alcoholic beverages, and by others it was thought that controlled social drinking fulfilled the obligation.
Moreover, since drunkenness is an evil which degrades human life, both in viewing it as a social evil and seeing it as a personal fault. then there is a special obligation for Christians to unite in their efforts to eradicate lit from society.
General Frederick Coutts of the Salvation Army said the ideal was total abstinence. but that he was willing to co-operate with associations and organisations which did not see this as necessary for all their members,
Cardinal Heenan said that he thought alcoholism was not as grave a social evil today as in the days of Cardinal Manning, who did so much to promote the Pioneer and Total Abstinence Association in this country. Many of the Irish who came to this country today had "taken the pledge."
The Cardinal said he had ex• perience of this by inviting the Irish priests of the Westminster diocese to a St. Patrick's Day celebration at Clergy House. "Seventeen turned up and 15 of them were pioneers; we actually ran short of lemonade!" .
Irish Catholic schools 'truce'
TRUCE on the contro
versial issue of Catholic schools, which accept maintained conditions under the Education Act, has been reached between the Northern Ireland Government and the Catholic Hierarchy.
A statement by Cardinal Conway, Primate of All Ireland, makes it clear that since the recent apparent deadlock, especially over the terms on which school committees should be appointed and do their work, there had been "detailed negotiations" and that they were prepared to agree the scheme should be given a fair trial.
Capt. Long. the Northern Ireland Minister of Education, said in Parliament that his Ministry had produced a "model scheme" for the constitution, procedure and function of a committee for a maintained school—i.e. a voluntary school on whose management committee the local authority had two out of the six members.
New organ work for cathedral
ANEW organ work by the teacher of 15-year-old
composer conductor Oliver Knussen, whose Symphony No. 1 was performed recently by the London Symphony Orchestra, will be given its first performance in Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The work, a 19-minute
• l'Organ Mass" by John Lam
bert, Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music, will be contained in a recital by Alan Harverson. Mr. Lambert, formerly Director of Music at the Old Vic, is organist at St. Vedast, Foster Lane in the City.
The "Organ Mass" is a complex modern work in three parts. The first two parts were performed at the City of London Festival in 1964 and at the Nuremberg Organ Festival.