On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he will order both police and city medics act with more urgency when it comes to getting severely mentally ill people off the streets and into treatment, even if that means involuntary hospitalization for those who refuse.
“These New Yorkers and hundreds of others like them are in urgent need of treatment, yet often refuse it when offered,” Adams said at a news conference, adding that people can’t continue “walking by or looking away.”
As NBC News reported, Adams’ approach would give outreach workers, city hospitals and first responders, discretion to involuntarily hospitalize anyone they believe to be a danger to themselves or other citizens and/or are unable to care for themselves.
“The very nature of their illnesses keeps them from realizing they need intervention and support. Without that intervention, they remain lost and isolated from society, tormented by delusions and disordered thinking. They cycle in and out of hospitals and jails,” Adams said.
State law generally prohibits authorities forcing someone to get help unless they are a genuine danger to themselves, however Adams said it was a “myth” that the law mandated that a person has to be behaving in an “outrageously dangerous” or suicidal way before a police officer or medical worker could take the necessary action.
However, some activist groups for the homeless have hit out at Adams’ initiative.
“The Mayor is playing fast and loose with the legal rights of New Yorkers and is not dedicating the resources necessary to address the mental health crises that affect our communities,” Donna Lieberman, the executive director the New York Civil Liberties Union, said.
She added, “Forcing people into treatment is a failed strategy for connecting people to long-term treatment and care.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: REASON.COM
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