Vt. lawmakers debate drugging mental patients - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. lawmakers debate drugging mental patients

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Two Vermont Senate committees are hearing from hospitals and mental health officials that the state needs to speed up its legal process for requiring some mental patients to take psychiatric medications against their will.

Dr. Gordon Frankle, chief of psychiatry at the Rutland Regional Medical Center, told Wednesday's hearing about a patient who assaulted two staff members - leaving one with a traumatic brain injury - while awaiting a court order that he be medicated.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would speed the often months-long process of getting patients involuntarily committed to the state's mental health system and requiring some to take medications against their will.

Jack McCullough, a lawyer who directs Vermont Legal Aid's Mental Health Law Project, says Vermont's current system is working well enough and doesn't need changes.

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