I am sorry -- but I find it more than "just coincidental" that New Jersey (the home state of much of big pharma) is the only state in the nation where a psychiatric patient has no meaningful right to appeal forced psycho-tropic medication orders. The New York Times has done an excellent job with this story this morning, detailing a federal lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of New Jersey psychiatric patients. [Cue the erstwhile Asenapine Chronicler -- Salmon.]
The notion that a prisoner in New Jersey has a more meaningful right to refuse medication, than a patient in a private mental ward, is simply jaw-slacking. This suit will ultimately succeed, as it is certainly true that the due process clause of the 14th amendment requires meaningful rights of appeal be available -- appeal to an independent tribual, at a minimum -- for such forced, and life altering, abridgments of fundamental personal freedoms and liberties.
Here's a snippet -- but do go read it all:
. . . .Twenty-nine states require a judge’s ruling for involuntary medication, according to the suit, including New York, Connecticut and other large states, like California, Florida and Texas. Five other states leave the decision to an individual or panel outside the hospital. Some states also provide an advocate to represent a patient in a hearing on forced medication.
But in New Jersey, state rules allow a patient in a state hospital to appeal medication decisions only to people in the hospital. The lawsuit contends that the internal appeal process is routinely ignored and that psychiatric patients in private hospitals lack any opportunity to appeal medication regimens at all.
The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Trenton by the group Disability Rights New Jersey, seeks a court order requiring the state to provide judicial review of involuntary medication. It notes that a prison inmate has more power to contest treatment decisions than a psychiatric patient. . . .
Of course, we have discussed the over-prescription of legacy-Schering Plough's asenapine before -- it is now called Saphris® (a New Merck's drug), in the US and Sycrest® in Europe. [Paging Salmon. . . it seems another installment of "The Asenapine Chronicles", is now due.]
Here is a full-text pdf file (80 pages; 276 Kb) of the New Jersey federal complaint at law.