Dr. Matthew P. Dumont, assistant commissioner of Mental Health for, the state of Massachusetts, said last-night that "mental hospitals are warehouses for the refuse of America."
Speaking before about 20 people at Phillips Brooks House, Demons commented on the role of the modern mental hospital and the problems of drug abuse.
Dumont said that mental hospitals are hopelessly ineffective. "If you wanted to design a system that wouldn`t work, you couldn't do better than just copy the Department of Mental Health," he said.
He said that mental hospitals have become vested interests which serve the people who work there rather than the patients. "Mental health institutes employ 18,000 people and are the largest employer in the state of Massachusetts," he said.
As director of the division for drug rehabilitation, Dumont said that Nixon's characterization of drug abuse as public enemy number one is a "colossal lie."
He blamed the President for fostering misconceptions about heroin addiction and said that "placing responsibility for crimes in the street onto the backs of heroin addicts is a gigantic mistake."
Junkies Aren't Violent
Dumont said that junkies are not violent and that there is "no correlation between heroin addicts and crimes of violence such as rapes, murders, armed assault, etc."
Dumont said that "heroin is a benign drug, it's much safer than penicillin. In terms of death, heroin is not as lethal as suicidal tendencies or alcoholism."
Dumont said that the message from Washington is that "the addict is an enemy of the social order." He said he would prefer to consider junkies as "suffering individuals in need of assistance."
Dumont said that the present administration deals with both mental health and drug abuse as political and economic problems rather than carefully investigating the medical implications of diagnosis and rehabilitation.