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Anti-medication groups combine forces to fight "forced drugging"

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:32pm

Promising to fight what they call "pervasive and harmful violations of mental health clients" who receive drugs and electric shock treatment in the United States, The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights and the MindFreedom Shield Campaign announced today a joint Task Force on Mental Health Legal Advocacy & Activism.

Task Force organizers say the combination of PsychRights' expertise for strategic litigation and the "people power" of MindFreedom activists around the country will bring a synergy and geographic reach to their demands for people’s "legal and human rights" regarding medication use.

The new partnership of law and nonviolent activists has an initial focus in the states of California, Massachusetts and New York, organizers say.

"People's rights in forced drugging proceedings are ignored as a matter of course, resulting in great harm to them and decreased public safety," PsychRights' President Jim Gottstein said.

David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, said violence committed by individuals labeled "mentally ill" has led to a backlash calling for a "massive increase in forced psychiatric drugging."

"Contrary to public perception, forcing people to take psychiatric drugs can often increase violence, rather than decrease it," said Gottstein. "If people were warned that both taking and withdrawing from these drugs can at times contribute to committing terrible acts, they and their loved ones can be alert to the possibility and tragedies averted."

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