The title of the article, “Power Needed To Make Potentially Dangerous People Take Their Meds,” concedes that Intensive Outpatient Commitment Laws preemptively abridge the liberty of individuals who haven’t done anything wrong and haven’t even been accused of doing anything wrong. Forcibly invading individuals with harmful psych-drugs against their will and restricting their liberty in other ways because they are potentially dangerous – is a good practice? This is a power needed by Connecticut judges?
I think that this article advocates for laws that are hideously detrimental to our communities and invokes absurd conceptual arguments that are full of holes – in a failed attempt to support the stance that disregarding the civil liberties and human rights of people labeled by psychiatry will better our communities.
Look, I shouldn’t have to prove to anyone why it’s not okay to blatantly violate the human and constitutional rights of individuals labeled by psychiatry. Nor should I have to convince mental health professionals, probate judges, or legislators that they shouldn’t do something that would be illegal regardless of whether or not it works – because it not only doesn’t work, but most often harms. Even if so called Intensive Outpatient Commitment led to 100% of people court ordered enjoying super rad healthy lives 100% of the time – it would still be inhumane and unconstitutional.
It terrifies and enrages me that the powers that be are deciding if they should violate human rights based on whether or not forced “treating,” in direct violation of the US Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights – works. Guess what? It doesn’t work!
This article says, “Studies show, however, that the judge’s order is usually enough to make most mentally ill patients cooperate.” You know what numerous studies also show? Numerous studies show that individuals who voluntarily, cooperatively, non-cooperatively, or involuntarily, receive psych “treatment” are on average dying twenty-five years younger than the general US population and are going on disability, going to jail, and taking their own lives at astronomically disproportionate rates relative to the US population as a whole. Numerous studies show that the vast majority of highly publicized individuals who used guns to kill people since 1968 were either on psych drugs or were withdrawing from psych drugs. Doesn’t seem like voluntary, let alone forced engagement with this “treatment” is likely to better our communities in response to a tragedy – or at any time.
Is it sad that we cannot institutionalize people until after they commit a crime (please remember threatening people is an arrestable offense), hurt themselves or others, or have become an imminent danger to themselves or others? No, it is not! I thought that was called America.
Forcing an individual like Adam Lanza, who is planning to commit mass violence, to take pills in no way addresses an intention to engage in violence.
This is not a high fallutin’ intellectual issue that merits nuanced arguments. People have human rights even beyond civil rights. These aren’t just guaranteed on paper by institutions like the government of The United States of America or The United Nations – these are rights derived from us knowing we are human beings or derived from beliefs far more fundamental and basic than a belief in law and order, such as a belief in evolutionary rights or God-given rights etc. We all are humans and all have the right to not be violated, to not be tortured, to enjoy equal protection of the law, and the right to not be locked up without due process (paraphrased from a speech by Daniel Hazen – one of the best community organizers around the human rights of those labeled by psychiatry).
Those who have been fooled by the specious arguments for IOC need to change. Those who support IOC or are complicit – need to be held accountable (paraphrased from a speech by Jim Gottstein – one of the best attorneys around the human rights of those labeled by psychiatry).
I’m tired of presenting arguments to those who support IOC or would support the direct violation of human rights inherent in IOC – even if it worked or if it wasn’t disparately applied to minorities or if we could implement it or if we could afford it. So in closing I’ll simply say this to said people – you are wrong!
Greg Benson self-identifies as a survivor of the psychiatric industry who currently leads an exciting and happy life. Greg Benson works as a Human Rights Advocate at Advocacy Unlimited Inc. in Wethersfield, Connecticut.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.