The Belmont Citizen-Herald asked Senator Brownsberger about his stance on “One of the more controversial components of the bill would expand the state’s civil commitment laws by allowing doctors to involuntarily commit drug addicts for up to 72 hours without a court order.” Senator Brownsberger replied, “I am not sure it (the 72-hour hold provision) translates so readily into the opioid context.” And he added, “I am giving it a lot of study over the next few weeks. I am pleased to see the governor has some great people working on this issue.”
You can read the legislation here: H.3817 An Act relative to substance use treatment, education, and prevention.
People who are well oriented and not brain damaged tend to refuse treatment or sign out AMA when they are not getting what they came for. Withdrawal drives addicts to ED’s. Interdiction alone without treatment is senseless and only serves to reinforce mistrust of the system. IF a 72 hour hold policy required active treatment for withdrawal and a mandatory workup for associated conditions like head trauma, depression and thought disorder, then it would make sense to give both the addict and the physician a chance to stop the acute process and institute preventive measures like detox or longer term inpatient hospitalization. However, there must also be back up by the system so that, within 72 hours a committed patient would be guaranteed transfer to a detox or other appropriate facility. Otherwise the governor would only be installing yet another revolving door in our already burdened emergency departments.
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