Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bill would Force mentally ill to take Meds

(Bangor Daily News AUGUSTA) - The mental health community is divided over a proposed new law that would require some people with mental illness to take prescribed psychiatric medications or face involuntary admission to a state hospital.

In its final amended form, L.D. 151, An Act to Improve the Delivery of Maine's Mental Health Services, would set up a one-year, Augusta-based pilot project to treat a maximum of 50 people. It would trigger a court review of patients with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and repeated outpatient noncompliance with their medication orders.

The bill has engendered strong opposition from Maine's Disability Rights Center. Public Policy Director Helen Bailey said last week that people with mental illness have the same rights as those with other illnesses. "There are good reasons why people may choose not to take their medications," she said, and the right to do so should be protected.


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