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New bill to send repeat offenders into mental health institutions

State lawmakers have been trying to tackle the problems of drug addiction and mental health for a long time and have now proposed a new bill that will forcefully send repeat offenders into drug and mental health treatments.

A new bill called the “CARE act” by Republican state senator Steve O’Ban is to be introduced for a pilot program in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to “allow for the appointment of a Court Appointed Resource Executor (CARE) officer for certain individuals who are incapable of caring for themselves as a result of a mental health disorder or substance abuse disorder. And also arrange to get them into involuntary treatment.”

O’Ban has been an active member of campaigns spreading awareness about mental health and believes that treatment is key. He was a part of the groundbreaking for a new emergency mental health care institution in Pierce County as well.

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Measures are being taken to promote counseling as a key to improving the overall psychological health of a patient, however, it is looked down upon by a large number of people.  According to Dr. John Casteele, a mental health counselor in Tacoma,

“We’ve got to get rid of the stigma. Mental illness and drug addiction, are diseases, but the nature of those diseases and how they manifest themselves tend to tear people apart”.

Another counselor, Adrienne Casteele, talks about the issue saying,

“Military vets, trauma victims and oftentimes people think that these are bad people. No, they’re hurting people who are looking for an opportunity.” She further added, “If they’re not mentally stable they’re never going to be able to maintain a household.”

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The news of the bill stirred up a lot of discussion on social media. While many supported the proposal, there were some people who thought the approach wouldn’t work. According to an internet user, Steven Brown,

“I don’t think that this will work. I spent a few years in prison for a non-drug offense.  At that time I meet a lot of drug offenders. A major amount of them took drug treatment just to get time off their sentences. But as they were in the program they would talk about what they couldn’t wait to get their next fix, and a lot of them were doing drugs while locked up. I can’t even tell you how many times I heard, I know what I did wrong and I won’t get caught next time. The worst for saying that were manufacturers and drug dealers. Forcing treatment just doesn’t work. I truly hope I am wrong and that this will work. But I doubt it.”

The legislative session is scheduled to open on 13th January.

About Steve O’Ban

Steven Thoman “Steve” O’Ban is an American Politician of the republican party. He serves as a member of the Washington Senate, representing the 28th Legislative District. During his time in the government, he won funding to fix I-5 congestion at JBLM and supported education funding – an additional $4.5 billion – and the biggest college tuition cut ever, without raising taxes.

Steve also launched a program to tackle the problem of human trafficking, took substantial measures to cater to mental health issues and gave orphans a legal voice.


Mariyam Tanveer

Recently graduated from LUMS, I now work as Researcher and a Freelance Writer on Ask Health News

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