Advocate for Outpatient Committal Recants


In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Tom Burns recants. Burns is described as a psychiatrist who was long one of the strongest proponents of outpatient committal laws like Laura’s Law recently passed in Los Angeles, Orange and San Francisco counties in California and Kendra’s Law in New York, Burns now says the research does not support such laws. “You’ve got three [randomized] trials in the world on (community treatment orders); two are in America, and there’s our study. All three have the same results: CTOs don’t make a difference,” Burns tells the Times. “I had hoped that adding compulsion would move the proportion who do well up, but the evidence is stubbornly consistent that it doesn’t.”

Can Laura’s Law help the mentally ill? Researcher Tom Burns’ surprising conclusion. (Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2015)


  1. Finally, a real scientist who is willing to admit when his hypothesis is disproven by experiment! This is very important news for those fighting the Murphy bill – one of psychiatry’s own inside researchers admits that AOT does not improve outcomes.

    Interesting that they talk about access to treatment, while conveniently forgetting that the countries with the LEAST treatment (Columbia, India, Nigeria) had the BEST outcomes in the WHO studies. But at least they admit that forcing treatment yields no benefit. That’s a big acknowledgement.

    — Steve

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  2. Wow, it only takes three studies for this guy to conclude that the evidence is “stubborningly consistent”? One could get lost in just the list of studies showing these drugs cause brain damage and mess people up. I guess his colleagues didn’t send him the memo, that they’ve decided that no less than 4,000 replicable studies are sufficient to support anything even just close to “anti-drugs” or “anti-psychiatry”

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