Vermont House debates involuntary medication

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont House is debating a bill that would make it easier for hospitals to give medications to mental health patients against their will.

The House version of a bill already passed by the Senate would allow consolidated court hearings — deciding both hospitalization and medication — when patients have been acting in ways that threaten serious bodily harm to others.

Backers say the aim is to reduce the number of cases in which it can take several weeks for health providers to be able to medicate some patients.

Some mental health advocates oppose the bill, saying forced medication is a bodily invasion that should be done only after thorough deliberation.

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