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Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Forced Psychiatric Drugging Procedures


By Jim Gottstein
June 30, 2006


In a resounding affirmation of personal liberty and freedom, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Myers v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute today. The court found Alaska's forced psychiatric drugging regime to be unconstitutional when the state forces someone to take psychiatric medications without proving it to be in their best interests or when there are less restrictive alternatives.

Faith Myers, the appellant in the case, reacted to the decision saying, "It makes all of my suffering worthwhile."

Myers' attorney, Jim Gottstein, said "By requiring the least intrusive alternative to forced psychiatric drugging, this decision has the potential to change the face of current psychiatric practice, dramatically improving the lives of people who now find themselves at the wrong end of a hypodermic needle.

While he acknowledged that some people find psychiatric drugs helpful, Gottstein said he pursued this case because, in addition to the drugs' serious physical health risks, he is concerned about the rights of those who find them both unhelpful and intolerable. He continued, "For people who want to try non-drug approaches, the research is very clear that many will have much better long-term outcomes, including complete recovery after being diagnosed with serious mental illness. This decision restores the rights of those people to pursue that potential."

The Alaska Supreme Court decision noted the trial court's concern that the statute did not allow the court to consider the problems with the drugs even though "a valid debate exists in the medically/psychiatric community as to the safety and effectiveness of the proposed treatment plan." With this decision, trial courts are now required to consider the safety and effectiveness of the drugs in deciding whether the proposed psychiatric drugging is in the patient's best interest.

The Court's Decision also makes specific mention that Alaska Statutes require the hospital to honor a patient's previously expressed desires regarding psychiatric medications.

The full decision can be found on the Internet at

Detailed background about The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, a non-profit organization, is available on the PsychRights web site:

# # #

Jim Gottstein
907 274-7686

James B. (Jim) Gottstein, Esq.

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 274-7686) Fax: (907) 274-9493

Psych Rights ®
Law Project for
Psychiatric Rights

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 other brain and body damaging interventions against their will. Extensive information about this is available on our web site, Please donate generously. Our work is fueled with your IRS 501(c) tax deductible donations. Thank you for your ongoing help and support.

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