Saturday, June 22, 2013

Unpreventable Tragedies and Why AOT laws aren't utilized!

Sadly, there was another preventable tragedy in Knoxville, Tennessee this week! Treatment advocates want to know "why does our new AOT pilot program not seem to be working? There are 9 out of 10 spots still open after an entire year of implementation.... A law only works when it is used."

My response is: "Kentucky's Assisted Outpatient Treatment, AOT law has been on the books for 20 years. As of 2012, 80% of the leaders of state wide mental health organizations, didn't know what it was, had ever known of someone benefiting from AOT or 'worse', even that the law exist! 

Law enforcement officers gather near Canton Hollow Road after a Knox County Sheriff's deputy is shot.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Read this horrific story here and one that isn't uncommon in Kentucky, except rarely does Kentucky media outlets revealed the shooter had a long history of 'untreated' mental illness.

The reason I have lobbied for the

202A.081 Court-ordered community-based outpatient treatment

to be 'strengthen, lengthen and supportive', by KY's state government, through the Dept. of Behavioral Health Development and Intelligent Disabilities is ~ the fact the current law is rarely used.

It's has taken 4 years of effort to get the state NAMI groups to discuss and support this topic! Small wonder the most vulnerable who can't advocate for themselves, due to no fault of their own ~ can't access treatment or resources to find the path to recovery.  

It's not all about stigma that prevents these individuals and their families from 'unpreventable tragedies' ~ it's about how Kentucky law is written and enforced. KY's AOT law needs to be written in a way that it can be funded and implemented! People must get behind it. A squeaky wheel is the only thing that gains attention!

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