San Diego County in California is considering implementing Laura’s Law, which would give the state’s second most populous county – home to over three million people – the uncontested right to force psychiatric medication upon its residents.
Funds for the forced inpatient or outpatient psychiatric incarceration, known as “assisted outpatient treatment” are to be provided by taxpayers. Other bills under consideration would extend Laura’s Law to schoolchildren, at the discretion of school administrators.
Laura’s Law is heavily supported by law enforcement, the press, the American Psychiatric Association and host of “consumer and family advocate groups.” In others words, those who believe the government deserves more control absolutely love Laura’s Law. After all, Laura’s Law offers those in power the ultimate form of control – over your brain chemistry.
What is Laura’s Law?
Laura’s Law is an existing state law, passed by the California state legislature in 2002 and signed by Governor Gray Davis. The law makes it possible for anyone to be ordered into psychiatric treatment if determined appropriate by authorities. Non-compliant “patients” are not given a choice, pending involuntary incarceration.
Each county within the state of California has the option of implementing Laura’s Law. Los Angeles County implemented it in 2004. San Diego County undertook a 90-day review of the law in March 2013 as it considers implementation.
The law is named for Laura Wilcox, who was shot and killed at the age of 19 by a man with untreated, severe mental illness.
How do you qualify for forced psychiatric treatment under Laura’s Law?
Authorities simply determine that you meet the state approved criteria. In California, the criteria are as follows:
Inpatient: (1) Danger to self/others or (2) unable to provide for basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter.
Outpatient: Condition likely to substantially deteriorate, unlikely to survive safely in community without supervision, history of noncompliance which includes two hospitalizations in past 36 months or act/threat/attempt of violence to self/others in 48 months immediately preceding petition filing, likely needs to prevent meeting inpatient standard, and likely to benefit from assisted treatment.
Glancing over these standards quickly is dangerous because they are written to appear strict and reasonable. If we break them down, however, you can see that the wildly vague language used is open to broad interpretation.
The bottom line is this: Someone in authority needs to decide that you are a “danger.” That’s it. Then, they can lock you up and medicate you into oblivion. Case closed.
But wait, it says that you have to have a hard history of hospitalization and violence in order to qualify. Not so! All you need to qualify to lose your physical and mental freedom is, at any time during the last four years, to act/threat/attempt violence to self/others. An “act/threat/attempt” of violence, by the way, could be ANYTHING. Giving someone a dirty look could be interpreted as a threat of violence.
Finally, authorities have put themselves in a position to predict whether or not you are “likely to benefit” from assisted treatment. And the clause, condition likely to substantially deteriorate, suggests that they can take over your life if they feel you may do something wrong in the future.
I recently spoke with Sophie Faught at MindFreedom International about Laura’s Law. MindFreedom International is a true patient rights advocacy group that believes in mental health freedom. Sophie said the following:
For over 25 years, we at MindFreedom have argued for VOICE and CHOICE in mental health care. We’re against force in mental health care because it’s simply not therapeutic. When you’re suffering from mental or emotional distress, the last thing you need is to have a technology you don’t believe in forced on you. Rather,you need to feel safe and loved by your fellow human beings. It’s that human connection, which can be found in peer support and compassionate care, that helps you find the meaning in your experience and your path to a better mental/emotional place.
Many of our members describe the practice of forced drugging as dehumanizing, invasive, violent, and downright TRAUMATIZING. Because trauma is so often a contributing factor to mental/emotional distress, our first goal should be to provide care that does not exacerbate old traumas or create new ones. Forced drugging cannot possibly meet that goal — many psychiatric survivors spend years coming to terms with the violence and violation of that kind of an act.
Forcibly injecting another human being with a mind-altering chemical cannot be considered therapeutic under any circumstances, but it’s especially shocking to think of doing this to a person in his own home, the place (above all others), where he expects privacy, self-determination, and safety. What psychiatry says through this act is: “There is only a narrow spectrum of thoughts and emotions that are acceptable, EVEN IN YOUR OWN HOME, EVEN IN YOUR OWN MIND.”
Why limit mankind? Why stop these journeys into the inner world of thoughts and feelings? What incredible discoveries do we — as individuals and as a society — miss in the process?
MindFreedom International will always oppose legislation like Laura’s Law because we believe that there must be safe spaces for extreme thoughts and emotions. Mankind has much to learn from these experiences. They are a difficult but necessary part of the healing path.
Psychiatry has no answer to gun massacres
As much as our hearts go out to those who have suffered and lost loved ones to the violent and unpredictable acts of others, we need to face the hard truth.
Violence is not predictable.
Psychiatry does not have the answer.
Psychiatric medication does not prevent violence.
Stealing freedom and medically torturing innocent people will do nothing to protect anyone. The problem of violence will remain unsolved. The state will continue to gain unprecedented power and an easier path to implement that power. The freedom of the people will continue to vanish.
Peter Breggin, MD has the following to say about psychiatric approaches to violent behavior:
The most devastating recent shooters were all involved with psychiatric treatment and evaluation, and it did not prevent their violence. In some cases, it undoubtedly increased it.
On the possibility of identifying violent people and preventing violent acts, Dr. Breggin said:
So many people harbor feelings of violence, and so few perpetrate them, that it is impossible to screen society for violent individuals without untold numbers of “false positives.” In a general psychiatric practice such as my own, a number of patients will be struggling to control their violent feelings and usually a few will have acted aggressively or violently in the past. Within society as a whole, there will be thousands of “suspicious-looking” people locked up and drugged for every genuine threat.
Read Dr. Breggin’s full commentary on psychiatry and gun massacres here. For an amazing interview with Dr. Breggin about the violent, death-camp style history of psychiatry, listen to the March 13, 2013 episode of Mental Health Exposed. If you think psychiatry is rooted in a desire to help people heal, think again! These are the folks we are empowering with Laura’s Law! Ice pick lobotomy anyone?
There you have it. States like California are using devastating acts of violence to increase their power with “solutions” that do NOTHING more than steal freedom from innocent people.
About the author:
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