Ms. Iranyi’s article, “Let’s Make Laura’s Law More User Friendly,” discusses important legislation (S.B. 1606) that would have helped move California closer to restoring reason to treating severe mental illness. However, there is no reason, financial or otherwise, to wait to start saving lives.
The reason Laura’s Law is rarely used is not because it is expensive, but rather because counties have failed to adopt the law, and in doing so have failed to help those most in need. Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) funds are available and should be used to benefit this population. Assisted outpatient treatment (Laura’s Law) has currently only been adopted by Nevada County (with a small pilot in Los Angeles County). Nevada County’s assisted outpatient treatment program proves that Laura’s Law can be adopted and that MHSA can pay for it.
Assisted outpatient treatment is an extremely effective tool to care for certain individuals and allows the sickest patients to get help before the point of immediate physical danger, removing them from the revolving door of repeated emergency room visits and jail that are so costly to counties.
Kristina Ragosta, J.D.
Legislative & Policy Counsel
Treatment Advocacy Center
To the Editor:
The reports of what’s going on up in San Francisco is a sad reflection of an auto-centric society that is unwilling to listen to public demand. I live in a county that’s run by people that doesn’t (I think) even know what urban rail transit is. It seems like that nearly every time a transit initiative does get voted in the the people in power don’t always go along with what the public wants.
These bozos would rather spend money on more prisons, superhighways (seatbeltways), and encouraging sprawl developement rather rather than on public services like schools, public libraries, urban rail transit, arts programs, and mainline passenger trains. In other words, don’t let ’em use the current state of the economy as excuse to make life even more miserable for most of us for the sake saving a buck.
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