My Response to Rep. Pete DeFazio About His Mental Health Bill

Posted by on October 22, 2016 in Activism, Legislature, Mental Health | Comments Off on My Response to Rep. Pete DeFazio About His Mental Health Bill

Rep. Pete DeFazio looks a bit grumpy.

Rep. Pete DeFazio, a progressive who has represented us in Eugene, Oregon since 1987. I have supported him, even when he has been grumpy. Now I am a write-in candidate to replace him.

Below is the letter I just emailed to Eugene Weekly, which has published a back and forth between me and Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) over his mental health bill. 

At the bottom are links to more info, including our published letters this month, October 2016.

Dear Eugene Weekly Editor:

In Eugene Weekly, Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) and I have been debating a bill he is co-sponsoring, H.R. 2646. This complex proposal, more than 100 pages, is mis-named “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016.” It should be called “The Mental Health Consumer Dis-empowerment Act.”

The worst part: It gives federal money to support Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC). The euphemism for IOC is Assisted Outpatient Commitment (AOC). The heart of IOC, which I’ve fought in many States for decades, is mainly to require Americans living at home in the community to take powerful psychiatric drugs against their will.

Incredibly, Rep. DeFazio falsely reassures us that his bill would not emphasize forced drugs. He points out that State IOC law does not “include forced medication.” Of course not. Judges pride themselves in saying, “I’m not a doctor, I don’t prescribe.” Judges provide the coercion. Doctors prescribe.

The drug-based approach has undue influence in mental health. We don’t have space here to explore the pro’s and con’s of psychiatric drugs. It can be common sense to choose a non-drug alternative, but Rep. DeFazio’s bill would make this decision more difficult or impossible for many Americans living at home.


David Oaks

Below are links for more info: