Target: San Diego County government
Goal: Don’t give county officials the power to force psychiatric medication on San Diego residents
Laura’s Law, or “assisted outpatient treatment,” is a law currently under review by San Diego county in California. This law allows county officials the uncontested right to force psychiatric medication on residents. Funds for this forced outpatient psychiatric incarceration are provided by taxpayer dollars. Other related bills under consideration would also extend this law to schoolchildren at the discretion of school administrators. This law is outdated, coercive and inhumane. Other forced outpatient programs have not had proven impacts and the law’s language is vague, opening up the possibility for misuse and abuse. Coercion should not be a substitute for effective care sought voluntarily. Stop Laura’s Law from being implemented in San Diego.
Laura’s Law is an existing state law in California that makes it possible for anyone to be ordered into psychiatric treatment. Each county can choose to implement this law. To be forced on psychotic medication, a person has to meet state approved criteria, which includes being a danger to yourself or others, or being unable to provide for basic personal needs, like food, clothing, and shelter. This vague language opens up the possibility for broad and dangerous interpretation. What it comes down to in reality is that if someone in authority decides someone is a danger, he or she could be forced to take antipsychotic medication. Non-compliant patients are incarcerated. Law enforcement and other groups that advocate absolute government control over people’s lives support this law.
Similar programs have been implemented in New York under Kendra’s Law, which have demonstrated that court-ordered treatment disproportionately targets people of color and other minorities. For San Diego to implement a similar involuntary outpatient law invites discriminatory court ordered treatment that violates the civil rights of racial minorities and people with mental disabilities. There is also no scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of these programs. Many of the recent culprits in recent U.S. shootings were involved with psychiatric treatment and evaluation, which did not prevent their violence. The practice of forced drugging is dehumanizing and invasive and San Diego must be discouraged from implementing this law.
Dear San Diego County government,
San Diego County is currently considering enforcing Laura’s Law, or “assisted outpatient treatment.” This law allows county officials the uncontested right to force psychiatric medication onto residents, paid for by county taxpayers. Other related bills under consideration would also extend this law to schoolchildren at the discretion of school administrators. The criteria for forced treatment in this law are vague, which opens up the possibility for misuse and abuse.
Similar programs have been implemented in New York and were not proven to be effective. Several recent culprits in recent U.S. shootings were involved with psychiatric treatment and evaluation, which did not prevent their violence. These laws also disproportionately targeted people of color and other minorities. The practice of forced drugging is dehumanizing, invasive and violent and this petition discourages San Diego from implementing this law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mk2010 via Wikimedia Commons