Friday, February 5, 2010

Make Kendra's Law Permanent

The following is a letter to the editor I wrote to the Times-Union newspaper in Albany, in support of making Kenra's Law permanent in New York.  This was in response to an editorial by DJ Jaffe, co-founder of the Treatment Advocacy center.

To The Editor,

I would like to echo Mr. Jaffe's and the Treatment Advocacy Center's opinion that Kendra's Law be made permanent.  Many of whom I call the "sickest of the sick",  those with the severest forms of serious brain disorders, like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, lack the insight they need to even comprehend they are sick, let alone seek treatment.  

Some, left untreated, are at risk of committing violence to themselves or to others. Kendra’s Law provides their loved ones, and the community in which they live, a mechanism to get these individuals into treatment before that happens, not after. 

We “freed” hundreds of thousands of patients from the state hospitals, labeled “snake-pits”, but where are they now?  We traded one “snake-pit” for three others. They account for a third of the homeless population and crowd our prisons.  They languish in adult homes that have all the bad connotations of state hospitals with very few of the benefits; this was my brother Paul’s fate.

The idea that Paul was one of the lucky ones, that he was never homeless or incarcerated, is a sad testament to the state of affairs in which we find our selves. 

This problem was of our own making.  It’s time we correct it.  It’s time we step up and say we are committed to swinging the pendulum back so the sickest of the sick get the treatment they need.  The first step is to make Kendra’s Law permanent. 

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