CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE MENTALLY ILL VS THE RIGHTS OF SOCIETY:

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Case study:

Several years ago, Luca Magnotta was found to have a mental illness while residing in Toronto. He was advised to take medications. He chose not to take them. He will likely be convicted of killing a young Montreal student.

The Colorado Dark Knight shooter was receiving counselling for mental illness. He likely chose not to take medications. The result was the Dark Knight mass killing.

Discussion:

The person with a very severe mental illness has the constitutional right to refuse medications. If that person is a danger to himself or others, then society is at risk.  The members of society have a right to a safe environment. We know that there are many dangerous persons with severe mental illnesses who are choosing to remain untreated.

We also know that if these persons are treated with appropriate anti-psychotic medications, that they can return to a healthy state.  Their diseases are totally treatable if they take the medications.

So is the law flawed?

If the person has become involved with the legal system and is considered dangerous, then the crown might bring an order to make fit. With this order, the individual must take the medications and receive counselling. However, this order is for a defined interval of time and not forever. Without continuity, the person might choose to stop their medications and become ill again and dangerous to society.

So that’s a dilemma that should be addressed. To resolve this matter the courts must work with the psychiatric community and with advocates. Collaboration might be the answer to deciding whom to treat and whom not to treat on an involuntary basis.

Stay tuned for more.