Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Seattle Times Front Page - government fear mongering over the state of insanity

Sunday Seattle Times Front Page - government fear mongering over the state of insanity


Yes, those Big Pharma, Nanny State progressives, the NAMI drug pimps/lobbyist, and those quackery Fuller Torrey loving demons are at it again in Washington State. This one has "Big Brother" written all over it. If you have the possible potential to break any law or they believe/suspect you MIGHT or MAYBE dangerous; government wants the power to lock you up as being insane, and then force drug you into total compliance without you ever committing a single crime or violation of the law.

Those pesky obstacles like the constitution, civil rights, due process, and evidence won't stand in "Nanny States" way. So now the legislature and governor in Washington State are passing new laws to make it easier to commit just about anyone based on the word of your angry neighbors, your ex, that co-worker you pissed off, someone who doesn't like your politically views, or some twisted psychiatrist or mental health professional you just told to "GFY".

Forget about due process folks, a brave new world is being cast upon us.

Links to the bills:



Read the entire article here --->seattletimes

Bills would make it easier to force mentally ill into care

Legislation before a state Senate committee would make it easier to commit and treat potentially dangerous mentally ill people under the controversial Involuntary Treatment Act.

The state House of Representatives has passed two bills — both by unanimous votes —

The legislation would make it easier to detain dangerous mentally ill people under the state's controversial Involuntary Treatment Act by broadening the criteria for holding them against their will. One key revision: The current threshold, which requires that they pose an "imminent likelihood" of harm to self or others, would be lowered to a "substantial" likelihood of harm.

The measures would modify other definitions and also specify that those making the commitment decision may consider information offered by family members, co-workers and others.

While some worry the changes could make a current shortage of psychiatric beds even worse and might prove very costly, others celebrated the proposals.

The modifications may seem insubstantial, but they represent a "sea change" in attitudes by lawmakers, said Eleanor Owen, executive director of the Seattle chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

"Trust me, if we in fact implement those 'minor' changes, we will see a reversal of the number of people who end up with criminal records," Owen said.

Over the years, family members have complained that the high bar for commitment under the 1970s-era law has made it nearly impossible to get early help for a mentally ill and potentially violent relative.

"You have to have a gun to your head or your mother's head" to be held, Owen said.

The Involuntary Treatment Act was passed in the early '70s after civil libertarians complained that mentally ill people were being locked up and treated against their will — even when they weren't considered dangerous — sometimes because family members or others found their behavior upsetting.

The law's creators argued that taking away a person's liberty was extremely serious and should be done only under the strictest standards, and courts have agreed.

Over the years, though, family members of mentally ill people and some mental-health experts have complained that the law erred on the side of civil liberties while shortchanging public safety and clinical knowledge about mental illness.

While the law effectively protects a person's civil liberties, said Dr. Peter Roy-Byrne, chief of psychiatry at Harborview Medical Center, "I don't think it protects your right to be treated."

Dr. Cristos Dagadakis, medical director of the crisis-intervention service at Harborview Community Mental Health Services, praised the proposed revisions.

"I've been advocating it for two decades," he said. "I think this is an opportunity to get people into care quicker."

The two bills containing the proposals are now in the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee, where a hearing on one is scheduled for Thursday.

Lawmakers, prosecutors and others have long struggled with the best way to balance civil liberties while getting dangerous mentally ill offenders off the streets.

Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, a sponsor of the bills, said Harps' murder shows that "mental-health professionals do not have adequate tools" to use in deciding when to commit someone for treatment.

"It is my hope that by intervening early we can actually save these individuals from having to go into the criminal-justice system, where so many of them end up."

The issue of involuntary treatment and commitment is perhaps "the most divisive and controversial topic" within the mental-health community, a consultant reported to the state in early 2007.

So it comes as no surprise that there's not universal support for the proposed changes — particularly in light of a long-standing shortage of local psychiatric beds in King and other counties.

Early intervention is good, said Amnon Shoenfeld, director of mental health, chemical abuse and dependency services for King County, but "changing the law with the specific intent of detaining more people will make a bad situation worse."

"We don't have enough capacity to detain the people we're already detaining," Shoenfeld said.

Who decides

Those who evaluate people with mental illness for possible commitment are called "designated mental-health professionals."

Most have a master's degree in social work, while others are psychiatric nurses or psychologists. King County has 28.

In deciding how much risk a person poses to himself or the community, they investigate circumstances, often talking with police, relatives and neighbors. In emergency situations, they alone can decide to hold someone for 72 hours.

Deliberately independent of both the legal and medical systems, they must understand the complexities of mental illness as well as the provisions of the law, said Shoenfeld, because ultimately, committing a person against his will is a legal process.

In King County, 2,365 mentally ill people were committed under the law in 2009, Shoenfeld said. The majority went to Navos in West Seattle, a psychiatric hospital, or to Harborview.

About one-quarter had to be "boarded" in an emergency room or other place, waiting an average of two days for a psychiatric bed.

Washington ranks at or near the bottom of states in number of local psychiatric beds per 100,000 population, experts say. But because earlier treatment might help stabilize people more quickly, beds may open up sooner, Dagadakis said. "Nobody really knows how things will play out."

In any case, not having enough beds should not preclude changing the law, said Roy-Byrne at Harborview.

Gov. Chris Gregoire had asked for a more comprehensive revision of the commitment law, but supports the measures passed by the House.


Some interesting comments from readers:

cake walk said:

Government walks all over the constitution and human rights once more.

So they purpose to lesson the threshold to hold someone (incarcerate) and force drug (with unproven and dangerous substances) because they MIGHT act a certain way.

Here we go again down a very slippery slope. Once you lesson the rights toward one segment of society, the rights of everyone are placed at severe risk.

Next, we can get those nasty park spitter's, those under taxed health nuisance smokers, maybe go after those crazy pot users, or gun toting whack jobs, even the homeless, and anyone which might present such potential dangers to society.

Which ever political or philosophical leaning you may have or employ, the list of targets are endless from both sides of the isle.

Do we lock away anyone that has the potential to be high risk for any crime? Do we target the poor and foster children because some flawed statistical analysis determines they have a higher propensity for mental health problems and crime.

Of Coarse NAMI toots this horn, it's a gold mind for the Drug Company's that control and run their little dog and pony show.

The real facts are unmistakable, we can not handle or provide meaningful, effective, or humane treatment to those we have forced into this horribly broken system now ( just check out the poor track records and revolving door policies at Western State Hospital and DSHS).

So now Olympia in it's infinite wisdom, responding to one forensic mishap (the escape of one forensic individual from Eastern State Hospital on an outing) wants to may political pay dirt of every person that "MAY" or "Might Possibly" have the Potential to pose a threat to society.

This sounds a whole lot like their budget fixes; TAX, TAX, and then TAX some more; instead of looking at thier vast over spending, while always shucking their innate responsibility.

Only this time around "Nanny State" wants to play politics and remove constitutional rights from a significantly under served and fragile population of human lives.

Let's call out "BULLSHIT", and stop the real madness where it actually resides - with politicians in Olympia

TP said:

Thomas Gergen's sad story underscores what has becoem the norm; rather than commit someone, simply prescribe some medication - which they may not take - and send them on their way.

While nobody wants to see the state go back to the days of involuntary lobotomy - think Francis Farmer - there's got to be a compromise. One that will ensure the safety of those who are acquaitances, friends or loved ones of someone with a mental illness.

Continuing to spout platitudes about the Constitution does nothing to address this. Mental illness wasn't understood when the Founding Fathers wrote and signed that document. Consider how the mentally ill were treated at that time. Do we really want to go back to the days of aslyums?

cake walk said:

Terry Parkhurst - says in retort "spout platitudes about the Constitution"

OK, why don't you go and spend let's say the next three weeks incarcerated at Western State Hospital or even Navo's County Mental Health Facility (court ordered stays of six months and beyond for those that have committed no crime are common, before being dumped to the street with little or no follow up care and housing). Great solution!

Remember refusing drugs in not an option if you ever wish to taste freedom again. In fact you'll have to earn to right to fresh air. you have no coffee, you have no soda, and you definitely have no cigarettes allowed (they have determined those commonly used items are bad for your mental health. I would like to see the science and study behind those denial of rights).

I believe it would be healthy for you to experience those Staff Jailers and the Lesser Patient curve predicament and power vacuum that "those supposed dangerous people" are placed under.

Then come back here and share your thoughts on the constitution and human rights with us please.

I have read a whole lot of fear mongering and fingering pointing in this comment section and in the article itself. I could easily cherry pick a few instances in any behavioral category to support removal of rights from one population verses another; but is it fair?

Yet, with all the new and improved treatments employed by Big Pharma, and pimped out by NAMI Types ( right out of the quack "Fuller Torrey" mold). We do not see the results in stabilized disorders, persons, societal function, or even less diagnosis among this targeted population.

In reality according to resent APA views, as much as 50% (or more) of the population suffer from a treatable mental health condition. So 50% of the population may very well fit into the new lowered criteria for forced outside intervention.

"Do we really want to go back to the days of asylums?"

We already have unfortunately; forced treatment is after all forced treatment no matter how you wish to paint it.

Let's us all remember that tyrannical governments of the past usually started their crimes against humanity by singling out the most vulnerable populations first.
Before the concentration camps were inflicting mass genocide, those institutionalized in facilities for the mentally deranged and developmentally disabled were the first victims to fall prey to these atrocities.

Yes your right "Terry Parkhurst and the like minded: We better not mention human rights, the Constitution, or even peer into the lenses of History when passing laws to make it easier to remove freedoms and liberties from a targeted population.

After all, fear, power, and money rules the day

Nil said:

We could have more money for real health issues if we used our performance audits for more than witch-hunting. As is, we spend too much money on high paid administration that is nothing more than a drain of resources and produces neither a safer or more efficient system for patients or taxpayers. However, no one in Olympia will look there to save money. This is why with DSHS and education the budget is bloated to the bursting point.

Get real said:

With our budget in $2.8 B I L L I O N in debt whose going to pay for all this?

I thought we had locked up all the crazys.. in the State Legislature building?

Fid over at SEROXAT SUFFERERS - STAND UP AND BE COUNTED posted this interesting video, that I thought I would re-post here since Pharma and those they fund are targeting our children with their soulless corporate greed mongering.


Stephany said...

The last large in print newspaper in Seattle FAILS society with this fearmongering piece that is not headline news, unless they delve into Civil Liberties, and rights stripped from innocent people daily in their city, interesting how the reporter had to gleen information from the previous health reporter who was MUCH BETTER AT THE JOB and would have never written such a joke for an article.

Seattle Times, appears to be in bed with the Governor's idiotic and lame proposal to punish ALL people with labels JUST BECAUSE ONE FORENSIC PATIENT WALKED AWAY FROM EASTERN ON A DAY PASS.

Anyone in that SeaTimes comment section ever meet Fuller Torrey? besides Eleanor the NAMI President who charged 50 bucks a head to "eat dinner with Torrey" at her home?

The guy is a complete nut case who called himself "delusional" so many times at his talk for NAMI fundraiser that I believed him! (that he is delusional)

These people believe in prevention based on medications that do nothing but alter the mind and most of the time either shut the brain down or cause more damage than good, and if their drugs they tout actually worked, they would not see NAVOS, Harborview or Western State Hospital full at all times, or have patients strapped to ER beds while waiting for one!

Give me a break, the Seattle times at an all time low, no wonder I don't purchase it!

Terry Parkhurst said...

You took my comments, out of context, and made it seem that I am not interested in the Constitutional rights of those with mental illness; nothing could be further from the truth.

What I am interested in, is the fate of people such as a fellow I knew only by first name - George - a schizophrenic, who refused to take medication for his disease. Because of that, George couldn't hold a job and used to beg for money, in front of the Metro cinema in the University district. When he got enough money, I'd see him and talk to him at the (now defunct) Winchell's Donut House in Wallingford.

Sadly, George hasn't been seen for almost 10 years. It's likely he is deceased.

It's mondo silly to talk about freedom, when untreated mental illness can make one a prisoner.

Stan said...

Dear Terry:

I do not believe I took your comment out of context. You happen to follow a philosophy that takes a persons choice/civil liberties and places them severe risk.

You believe that mental health workers have the expertize to determine treatment and options for anyone they deem ill. I say this is dangerous and a very slippery slope.

I have witnessed what this kind of power put in other hands can do. It is an horrendous abomination upon society, humanity, and our culture.

What you don't seem to grasp is that we have been down this road before to many times. Maybe you need a review history lesson how eugenics played out. Maybe you need to go investigate or how break through science of different times worked, when insulin shock, lobotomies, electroshock therapy, castration, and other inhuman treatments were forced upon these populations.

Why don't you write a comment about how this new fade miracle drugging culture works. Show us all the fantastic results in hard science based evidence. Because the sad reality is that they don't work any better or are they any more effective than the inhumane treatments of our past.

If we had a humane and caring treatment modality in place working within our communities there would be no rational needs to have these types of laws put in place.

Legislating forced treatments modalities is like attempting to legislate ethical behavior and morality. It does not work and it has never worked.

Would you want someone to force you on a diet of their choosing if you were over weight? Would you want someone choosing your cancer treatment mandated by law without your approval? I could go on and on with examples to use in this discussion.

But when it's comes to mental health you jump on the bandwagon against choice and right to refusal.

I would call that fairly hypocritical and bias based thinking.

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