November 14, 2013
Laura’s Law is Bad Medicine
Response to the article in your Nov. 14th
Authors of the article allege that Laura’s Law “does not force medication…” This simply
is not true. The California Department of Mental Health (DMH) is responsible for
overseeing the implementation of Laura’s Law, Assembly Bill 1421. After the bill was
passed into law, the Director of DMH, Stephen W. Mayberg, wrote a letter addressed to
mental health officials in all California counties instructing them on the implementation
of AB 1421 (copy of the four page letter is enclosed to the editors).
Dr. Mayberg’s letter states (in part):
“In order to carry out its statutory responsibilities and effectively monitor compliance
with the newly enacted statute, DMH is requiring counties to submit, prior to the
implementation of an AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment) program, the following:….4.
Program Narrative that provides a description of the AOT program including…. Policies
and procedures for involuntary medication.” (page 2)
Any claim that Laura’s Law, formally titled “Mental Health: involuntary treatment”,
does not have provision for forced drugging is therefore not accurate. It is
understandable, however, why such an assertion might be seen as desirable for those who
wish to see the law implemented.
Forcible treatment by various methods in psychiatry has a long and gruesome history,
including painful torture, sterilization, brain lobotomies, and euthanasia, to name a
few. At the time, each of these so-called treatments was justified as ‘state of the art’
procedures for persons deemed mentally ill.
Forcibly drugging anyone with powerful brain-changing chemicals is an act of torture as
defined by the United Nations and is a violation of U.S. treaty obligations and U.S. law.
Laura’s Law is unconstitutional legislation that plays upon frustrations with the current
mess inaccurately called a mental health care system here in the U.S. But pursuing
policies that have proven disastrous in the past is not the way forward to a better world.
For that, we must be more creative, more persistent, and more aware of past mistakes.
And we must respect the truth.
edition, “A Call to Implement Laura’s Law”.
Submitted by Roland E. Angle, Director of Operations
Families for the Ethical Psychiatric Treatment of Patients and Prisoners (FEPTOPP)
Encl: DMH letter dated March 20, 2003