Forced drugging may be issue in State Hospital reform

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A move to have regional hospitals care for more acutely mentally ill patients could be derailed by questions about the forced medication of patients.

Over the years the debate over involuntary medication has flared up several times in the Vermont Legislature and courts in recent decades.

A recently released report called for the replacement of the Waterbury State Hospital with one designed to care for the long-term mentally ill. It also called for preparing community hospitals to handle cases of people in mental health crises.

Department of Mental Health officials say psychiatric drugs can be administered against a patient’s will only in Waterbury.

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