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Debate over Treatment of Narcotics Addicts

June 13, 1962 - A narcotics expert suggested today that all “hard-core” heroin users be confined to prisons or work camps because no effective control had been found for such an addiction. Dr. Lewis Thomas, chairman of the department of medicine at the NYU Medical School, told the annual meeting of the Health Research Council that temporary hospitalization had proved an “absolute, utter failure.” Suggesting that all heroin users “could be confined to work camps or other places that would have the function of a prison,” he said that “it should be known that the penalty for heroin addiction should be permanent confinement, more or less.” Dr. Milton Helpern, the city’s chief medical examiner, said that he believed a number of addicts could be weaned from the drug with the aid of physicians and social workers.


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