Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why doesn't Oregon have Laura's Law?

A blogger in Oregon recently posed the question – why doesn’t Oregon have Laura’s Law?

I wonder why we don't have something like Laura's Law (see previous entry) in Oregon. Is it because we don't have the resources? When you think of all the damage that happens without Laura's Law, doesn't it make sense that we find the resources? In the end, I believe it would be cost-effective, since it could keep people out of the hospital and/or jail and could help them to function better through counseling and meds. Doesn't this seem like a humane way to deal with people who are deteriorating, by keeping them from getting worse? Families would have some sort of recourse when their loved one starts going out of control. It just seems a shame we aren't looking at this law as being one of our solutions.

Laura’s Law or assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is an effective and humane way of helping people with severe mental illnesses who need treatment.

Oregon does have AOT, but it’s rarely used, and a person must be a danger to themselves or others before it’s ordered.

The question posed by the blogger is an excellent one for Oregon legislators – Why does Oregon make it so difficult for its citizens with severe mental illnesses to get outpatient treatment?

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