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Forcing medicine violates rights

Forcing medicine violates rights
Source: Sunday Gazzette Mail

I am writing this letter to take strong exception to a letter from William F. Byrne regarding requiring people with mental illness to take their medication. The legislation he supports is simply ludicrous. Just think of the outrage that would be voiced if people with diabetes or heart disease or some other chronic disease were snatched from their homes, placed in some facility, forced to take their medication, and all this would occur without the right to representation by an attorney or other advocate. Talk about instituting a gulag right here in the land of the free and the brave. This is a clear violation of the constitutional rights of people with mental illness, and threatens the rights of all of us. What’s next?

This poorly conceived legislation is frightening, as it hearkens back to the days when people were put away in mental institutions for the flimsiest of reasons. Whatever happened to the right to counsel, due process, and all our other constitutional and legal protections? While I certainly agree that all of us ought to take our medication, I find it clearly dangerous that anyone can be forced to do so without a hearing and without a right to legal representation. Not in America, not in any country.

Bob Peck, Executive Director

West Virginia Advocates