Vt. lawmakers debate drugging mental patients

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Two Vermont Senate committees are slated to take up the sensitive question of when it's permissible to force people with mental illness to take medications against their will.

The Department of Mental Health and hospitals that house mental health patients are pushing to streamline the process of getting people committed by a court to mental health treatment and getting a judge's permission to force some patients to take medications.

Supporters of streamlining the process say getting the required court orders can take up to 30 days now. They argue that's often damaging to patients who need medications but do not believe they do.

Some advocates who've undergone mental health treatment say being forced to take psychiatric medications can be a terrifying experience and a violation of their rights.

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