Dear Mr. Haire,
Mr. Oaks has shared your (below) response with me. I am an attorney, working with the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights). PsychRights' mission is to fight unwarranted forced medication through mounting a serious legal campaign against such abuses.
The first thing to note is that we have not been told the truth about these drugs that are being forced on unwilling victims. It has recently come into public scrutiny about the lies and deception the drug companies have committed with respect to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and how they cause kids to commit suicide. And how the FDA has become complicit in this. The Vioxx debacle demonstrates this is not restricted to psychiatric drugs. What is less well known, but also well established is that the psychiatric drugs typically forced on people, the neuroleptics, including the so-called "atypicals," are neither safe nor effective and in fact not only prevent people from getting better, but exacerbate people's psychiatric symptoms. See, e.g., The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good, by Robert Whitaker, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 62, Issue 1 , 2004, Pages 5-13, which can be accessed on the Internet at http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/Chronicity/50yearecord.pdf. All of the studies cited in the 50-Year Record paper can be downloaded from http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/Chronicity/NeurolepticResearch.htm and additional information retrieved from http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/neuroleptics.htm.
The basic point is that these drugs are unbearable to many people, they don't help most, they can be fatal and are clearly life-shortening. Under these circumstances the state should not be allowed to force anybody to take them. However, as the internationally recognized mental health disability law expert Michael L. Perlin has noted:
The ADA and Persons with Mental Disabilities: Can Sanist Attitudes Be Undone? by Michael L. Perlin, Journal of Law and Health, 1993/1994, 8 JLHEALTH 15, 33-34.
This dishonest testimony is explicitly lauded by prominent members of the psychiatric establishment. E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., perhaps the most prominent proponent of involuntary psychiatric treatment says:
Torrey, E. Fuller. 1997. Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 152. Dr. Torrey goes on to say this lying to the courts is a good thing. Dr. Torrey also quotes Psychiatrist Paul Applebaum as saying when "confronted with psychotic persons who might well benefit from treatment, and who would certainly suffer without it, mental health professionals and judges alike were reluctant to comply with the law," noting that in "'the dominance of the commonsense model,' the laws are sometimes simply disregarded."
You say that people's rights are being protected, but it is well-known that:
Competency, Deinstitutionalization, and Homelessness: A Story of Marginalization, Michael L. Perlin, Houston Law Review, 28 Hous. L. Rev. 63 (1991).
Interestingly, it is the Montana Supreme Court, in In the Matter of K.G.F., 29 P.3d 485 (Montana 2001), which has issued perhaps the seminal case on the standards attorneys representing people facing involuntary "treatment" must meet.
(summary from the Montana County Attorney's Association website, http://www.treasurestate.com/mcaa/cases/KGF.htm)
Turning now to Montana's forced drugging statute, Montana Code Annotated, 53-21-127(6), provides that a person can be force drugged if the court finds "involuntary medication is necessary to protect the respondent or the public or to facilitate effective treatment." This seems clearly unconstitutional. Just about four years ago, in In the Matter of S.C., 15 P.3d 861 (Montana 2000), the Montana Supreme Court side stepped the issue by saying S.C., did not specifically argue that the commitment statutes are either unconstitutional on their face or as applied to her. Id, 15 P.3d at 863.
While the Montana Supreme Court's failed to acknowledge a "common law" right against forced drugging in S.C., the United States Supreme Court certainly has recognized a federal constitutional right for decades:
See, e.g., Mills v. Rogers, 457 U.S. 291, 102 S.Ct. 2442 (1982), and Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-222, 110 S.Ct. 1028, 1036, 108 L.Ed.2d 178 (1990). The decision is also seriously out of step in holding that a diagnosis of mental illness automatically renders someone incompetent to decline medication. See, e.g., Rogers, 458 N.E.2d 308 (Mass. 1983) and Rivers v. Katz, 495 N.E.2d 337 (NY 1986).
Most recently, and after S.C., the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 123 S.Ct. 2174 (2003) which was over forcibly medicating someone to make him competent to stand trial. There, after confirming the constitutional right against forced drugging ("InHarper, this Court recognized that an individual has a "significant" constitutionally protected "liberty interest" in "avoiding the unwanted administration of antipsychotic drugs."), the United States Supreme Court laid down the following constitutional guidelines:
(emphasis is original). While Sell is a competence to stand trial case, it is inconceivable a person facing forced drugging in the context of civil commitment has fewer rights.
That these issues have never been seriously pursued by the public defenders in Montana merely serves to confirm that forced drugging victims are not being vigorously represented.
In the final analysis it is merely glib to say, as you do, that people's rights are being protected. They are not. It is highly probable that none of the four people who have contacted us actually meet the legal requirements to be forcibly drugged. What we have is an abuse of power by the state, including what ultimately are sham legal proceedings. My suggestion is that you personally talk to these people and get their stories. Look fairly at the trumped up evidence used to lock them up and then force drug them, keeping in mind that it is supposed to be only in the most serious cases that such massive curtailment of constitutional liberties are allowed.
On Dec 10, 2004, at 9:54 AM, Haire, Gene wrote:
Your e-mail message sent to the Governor's office via the Montana State
web page has been forwarded to me. The Mental Disabilities Board of
Visitors operates a legal services office at Montana State Hospital.
Among other things, our Attorney and our Paralegal/Advocate represent
patients (an administrative/clinical, not a judicial process) in
"involuntary medication" procedures at the hospital. Requirements for
the administration of medications to patients against their wishes are
defined in Montana statute
http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca/53/21/53-21-127.htm and in
State Hospital policy
Because of confidentiality requirements, I will not address any
patient concerns with MindFreedom. The Mental Disabilities Board of
Visitors believes that the following statements accurately describe how
"involuntary medications" are handled at the commitment hearing level
and at Montana State Hospital:
1) The authorization of the "chief medical officer of a facility or a
physician designated by the court to administer appropriate medication
involuntarily" [from Montana Code Annotated, 53-21-127(6). 2003.] is a
judicial decision made in the context of an involuntary commitment
hearing. During these hearings, respondents obviously have
representation of counsel as well as other due process protections.
2) The Montana State Hospital policy and procedure for considering
treating physicians' requests to administer medications against the
wishes of patients are good, err on the side of pursuing other
(voluntary) alternatives, and include 14 and 90 day reviews.
3) Montana State Hospital only pursues involuntary medication if the
treating physician believes that an individual will continue to meet
criteria for involuntary commitment
http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca/53/21/53-21-126.htm unless he/she
takes medication, and if all other alternate measures have been
attempted and failed.
4) The Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors is involved throughout
this process as an advocate for patients.
Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors
(Jim) Gottstein, Esq.
Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 274-7686) Fax: (907) 274-9493
Law Project for
The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging. We are further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to brain and body damaging procedures against their will. Extensive information about this is available on our web site, http://psychrights.org/. Please donate generously. Our work is fueled with your IRS 501(c) tax deductible donations. Thank you for your ongoing help and support.