PsychRights Article Excerpt on Legal Force and Psychiatry

Please make a donation to PsychRights by visiting their website. There you can also get an idea of all the wonderful and crucially needed work this organization is doing, including launching a Soteria house, a pro bono legal representation campaign for involuntary patients, exposing drug risks, and suing to force an end to drugging of foster children.
 

Psychiatry: Force of Law
by James B. Gottstein, Esq.
November, 2002

The purpose of this article is to set forth just the basic legal principles, underpinnings and practices employed in the widespread use of legal force to compel unwilling patients into locked psychiatric hospitals and, most importantly, force brain damaging drugs and other brain damaging treatments such as Electroshock upon them over their desperate, but hopeless objections.  The companion article, Unwarranted Court Ordered Medication: A Call to Action, describes what might be done about it and this article is really background for that one.  In addition, there are a number of excellent law review articles on the subject, a small sampling of which are listed at the end of this article.

The impetus for this article is the realization that the scientific basis for these forced treatments is non-existent and they are permanently damaging hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.  No other field of medicine allows this sort of forced treatment.  Of course, there are many people who see psychiatrists and voluntarily, even eagerly, take psychiatric medications.  This article has absolutely no complaint about this.  It is unwarranted forced treatment that is being addressed.  This article also does not address the issue of somewhat more subtle coercion such as “if you don’t take the medication, we will take your housing away from you” or “if you don’t take your medication, we will have you committed to the mental hospital.”  This article is solely concerned with using the force of law (court orders) to compel people to submit to unwarranted psychiatric treatments they do not want.  What  unfolds is a legal system of Catch-22’s for the patients and one where the courts have not only abdicated to “professionals” their responsibility to protect the rights of people coming before them, but also condones perjury in furtherance of this abdication.

Go to psychrights.org and click on Psychiatry: Force of Law to read the rest of the article.

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