Monday, December 17, 2012

An Opportunity Missed

A number of states have created what are called various Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) or Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs to deal with the problem of mentally ill persons who have histories of violence (although not serious enough to send them to prison) and who refuse to take their antipsychotic medications.  Connecticut was considering such a law.  From December 17, 2012 CBS Connecticut:
As the national discussion on mental health continues following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 27 people, a recent mental health bill that was defeated in Connecticut may have helped in keeping Adam Lanza away.
Before Friday’s heinous act, there was talk in Connecticut’s state legislature to beef up the state’s “assisted outpatient treatment” law, according to Breitbart.com. Connecticut Senate Bill 452 was proposed in February “to enhance the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities in both inpatient and outpatient settings.” But the bill was defeated in March, with opposition calling it “outrageously discriminatory.” The ACLU said the bill would “infringe on patients’ privacy rights by expanding [the circle of] who can medicate individuals without their consent.”
Had the AOT bill been passed, it would have given the state the right to institutionalize a person who is mentally ill for treatment if the state has enough evidence to believe that the person could be a danger to himself or the community.
Let me stress that at this point, we have no information that establishes that Lanza was in a category where this law would have made any difference.  I have my suspicion that his Aspberger's Syndrome diagnosis might have been in error.  But states that have adopted such laws (such as New York) have done so because of the problem of violent, mentally ill offenders who would not stay on their medications.

My Brother Ron examines IOC/AOT programs and the results where they have been tried. 

1 comment:

Robert Langham said...

The last paragraph of the quote says "....the bill would give the state the right to institutionalize a person...." What is correct is to say it would give the state the POWER. States don't have rights. They have only power. Only human beings have rights.