I am a poster boy for mental-health legislation

I am a prime example of why North Carolina needs a “need for treatment” mental-health law that will allow for the forced treatment and forced drugging of mentally ill individuals who, while they may not be dangerous, are in need of treatment.

I should be in mental-health treatment, seeing a psychiatrist, receiving long-acting antipsychotic injections and spending weekdays in day-treatment. I should have an assertive case-management team that makes home visits to perform mental-health safety checks, and to see that I follow doctor's orders and a treatment plan.

But because the state doesn't have a “need for treatment” law, I cannot be forced into treatment, nor forced to take medication against my will. I am a poster boy for this legislation.

The reason why in the past there was not a need need for treatment law in North Carolina is because there was a relatively low violent crime rate among mentally ill North Carolinians, but, as in other states, the crime rate has been rising.

We need a mental-health law so society can gain control over the state's mentally ill population, but also so that we can help them. Help them get into treatment, and help them get the medication that balances brain chemicals, and treats organic brain diseases, such as schizophrenia and related psychoses. It is an act of mercy, and a case of being thy brother's keeper.

— Richard Pope
Hendersonville

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