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Dr. Paul Appelbaum Quoted in Vice News

San Francisco Courts Will Order Mentally Ill Into Treatment
July 10, 2014 - July 11, 2014

On Christmas Eve in 2012, 62-year-old William Spengler set a house on fire in Webster, New York. When firefighters arrived on the scene he started shooting with an assault rifle, killing two and wounding two others in the process...

Politicians, mental health officials, and activists alike argue the Christmas Eve shooting could have been prevented through court-ordered, mandated outpatient treatment for individuals who have previously been arrested or admitted to a hospital with a mental illness, but do not seek medical care.

On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors took a step towards this kind of outpatient commitment program after voting to enact Laura’s Law  state legislation that took effect in California in 2003. A final vote will take place on July 15. The law established an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program that allows a judge to issue an order requiring a patient who meets certain criteria to seek care.

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