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Why I Oppose Texas House Bill 2212 and Forced Drugging

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From a MindFreedom member and forced drugging survivor who chooses to remain anonymous: FORCED DRUGGING VIOLATES BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS!

Why I Oppose Texas House Bill 2212 and Forced Drugging

One MindFreedom member explains why he wrote to Texas legislators to tell them that forced drugging is a human rights violation.

If Texas House Bill 2212 were passed, anybody living in Texas could be committed to involuntary psychiatric treatment in their own home. We’ve heard about the violence of staffers forcing drugs into the bodies of people unfortunate enough to be committed to a state facility from many MindFreedom members and psychiatric survivors. This law would allow those scenes of compulsion and force to leech out from behind the locked doors of psych wards and state hospitals into the outside world —into the private homes of Texas citizens.

By definition, HB2212 would take people who do not meet the criteria for “inpatient” commitment and order them into “outpatient” treatment. These people don’t want to be anybody’s “patient,” but the government uses this language to soften the blow of what is really going on here: the forced chemical manipulation of the minds of law-abiding citizens, a human rights violation and a “treatment” that research shows does NOT reduce hospital readmission rates or improve clinical/social outcomes.

Anybody in Texas can be targeted, provided a psychiatrist can convince a judge to give the green light to long term home-based forced drugging after the person is labeled “mentally ill.” Remember, this punitive action is being applied to law-abiding citizens who have done nothing wrong — other than experience a mental or emotional reality that may be dark or extreme, but is certainly not illegal.

HB2212 violates basic human rights


The list of basic civil rights this law strips away is astounding:

1. Bodily integrity: Court-ordered outpatient treatment and drugging takes away the human right to bodily integrity. The Texas government is offering no evidence that the bodies or brains of those being targeted by these laws are biologically diseased, and is taking away the basic human right to determine what chemicals they ingest and what medical treatments they pursue based on an unsubstantiated assumption!

Law-abiding citizens deserve the basic human right to see, feel and experience the world as nature intended, even if they are people with profound personal problems. Being forced to experience the world though government drugged eyes is not “help,” rather it is TRAUMATIZING.

2. Security and privacy in your home: This discriminatory law destroys the basic human right of any Texan targeted for home-based forced drugging to be secure in their person and their private home. Texans subjected to this intervention will have to submit to chemical and therapeutic interventions involuntarily. Their homes will no longer be safe places to experience extreme thoughts or emotions.

3. Freedom of association: HB 2212 would forcibly impose a “case manager” on any targeted individual, to be part of a “treatment team” consisting of mental health system staffers. Case managers and other mental health professionals would be entering the homes of the Texas citizens targeted for forced outpatient commitment, also taking away the right to freedom of association.

This law, if allowed to pass, will force many in Texas to hide from the mental health system and not seek help. It will have a chilling effect on help-seeking behavior, and strike fear and terror into people who are already dealing with significant traumas and challenges in their lives. The penalty for becoming mentally distressed should not be to lose the right to own your own body.

The question of violence


The supporters of home-based forced drugging laws justify this violent paternalism by claims that such laws reduce violence. But how can you stop violence by doing violence to law-abiding people based on psychiatry’s guesswork?

Furthermore, if the government is saying that the people targeted are not dangerous enough to be removed from the community, and those selected for home-based forced drugging are allowed to remain in their own homes, why is “dangerousness” even being used as an argument?

This is scapegoating and demagoguery in the wake of Sandy Hook and other tragedies, the collective guilt by association imposed on all people with psychiatric labels for the crimes of a few individuals.

Creating a biological underclass


This law makes certain experiences of reality ILLEGAL. It effectively creates a biological underclass, citizens deemed unworthy of even the right to live their lives in their own homes with a mind free and clear of heavy psychiatric drugging.

While the Texas government can’t prove the biological underclass they are creating have anything biologically wrong with their brains or bodies, the subtext is clear: if the government believes you are “brain diseased,” you lose the right to own your own brain, with no biological evidence required.

Survivors of forced drugging often describe the experience as a profound violation of their consciousness, an unimaginable violation of their very humanity. Forcing a “one size fits all,” “drugs fit all” solution on people is wrong, and there ARE alternatives. MindFreedom members have reported using a wide variety of strategies for achieving and maintaining mental and emotional wellness, and despite even the direst of predictions from mental health professionals, they HAVE gotten better!

Throughout all of Texas’ history, the power to drug citizens’ bodies in their own homes hasn’t existed —why is it needed now?

Does forced drugging even WORK?

Proponents of this bill cite surveys where some who have been forced into this home-based forced drugging purportedly acknowledge later “the positive impact of court order outpatient treatment after completing it.” But consider the duress under which such answers are given — it's common sense that survey respondents would be fearful of criticizing the program to staffers of the mental health system who conduct such surveys, lest they be accused of “lacking insight” and be subjected to even more forced drugging. 

What other evidence, if any, do we have to the chemical violation of another human being via forced outpatient commitment? As it turns out, not much. 

Various studies of such demonstrate that forced outpatient commitments produce:

• No reduction in violence.[1]
• No reduction in hospitalizations. [2]
• These laws don’t promote future voluntary compliance or good outcomes.[3]

The scientific evidence for involuntary outpatient commitment’s effectiveness simply doesn’t exist. In fact, researcher and former proponent of forced outpatient commitment Tom Burns recently commented, "the evidence is staring us in the face that CTOs don't work… I think there should be a moratorium on their use." 

But more important than the lack of scientific evidence is the ETHICAL issue: the intervention decimates the human rights of those targeted.


Other survivors of forced drugging speak out


Below is a video of a British woman forced onto so called “outpatient commitment.” She details how she feels about the government dictating to her what to put into her own body.  She later killed herself. From within the bodily prison of her forcibly drugged consciousness, she testifies to the horror of her situation with such dignity; watch this truly heartbreaking story to see the human face behind these forced drugging laws.


Below is one more video, of a man in Minnesota. This man (unrepresented by legal counsel) caught the bus to court by himself, is staying on top of his court paperwork, and is years into community based forced drugging. He admits to a rough divorce and problems in his life, one incident, half a decade ago, when he befouled his wife’s workplace, has been used as the pretext to force psychiatric drugs on him long-term. Keep in mind when you watch this, that this man’s brain is being drugged by the government constantly. Does he deserve to be tranquilized by the government for years on end, denied the right to alternatives, and denied the right to the dignity of choice? 


Stop this human rights violation!

Community commitment laws are not about community. In fact, they send a message to those targeted that they are not even welcome in their community unless they are wearing chemical chains. Those targeted might be “free” and walking around society drugged, but the government has made the prison walls their own bodies.

These laws create an environment of fear, oppression and biological violence against some of society’s most vulnerable people. There can be no justification for casting a dragnet of forced drugging over entire communities just because some people believe this to be a safety net.

YOU CAN HELP prevent this human rights violation from becoming law by CONTACTING TEXAS STATE LEGISLATORS and telling them why you oppose HB2212. 

Click here to learn more.


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Bhargavi Davar, PhD, psychiatric survivor leader in India

Bhargavi Davar is a survivor of psychiatric institutions who is working in Pune, India, with a Ph. D. in the philosophy of psychiatry. Dr. Davar is an author of several books and articles critiquing the foundations of psychiatry in India. She said, "MFI has been a great source of inspiration for us in India, particularly the unique international efforts in consistent reporting on globalising psychiatry as an EMERGENCY."
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