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Sun Apr 10 21:16:25 EST 2005

field, this is pretty close to a typical case.  The nonviolent 
schizophrenics usually are let loose onto the streets due to lack of 
funds, and so are unmedicated.  Many wind up as homeless street denizens 
because they can't hold a job or focus well enough to function in 
society.  Some do commit violent acts, but this is rare.
Oh, and most depressives prefer the way they are on the drugs.  Yes, some 
prozac users don't like it because they lose some of the "good"  affect - 
they become emotionally flatter - but the majority who use it are just 
happy not to be depressed anymore.  
So while there may be some abuse, I doubt it is as rampant as you seem to 
think. And before you let somebody decide whether he wants to take these 
drugs, somebody has to decide if he NEEDS them.  The rights of the 
community to be safe can't be ignored for the sake of the individual.  To 
use another example, consider DUI laws.  Is it right to abolish these 
laws on the basis that someone should be able to decide if he can drive 
after he's been drinking heavily?  Do you think his decision making 
processes are intact?  Considering how many injuries and fatalities occur 
due to drunk drivers, I'd say they probably aren't.  And before you say, 
"But the drugs are being forced on these people against their will...", 
that's what the DUI laws are doing.  They're forcing him NOT to drive 
even against his will.  The big point here, is that there has to be 
balance between community rights and individual rights, especially where 
the potential for death to members of the community is concerned.  What 
it boils down to is, who decides whether these people are making 
judgements based on impaired decision-making abilities.  I'd rather put 
my trust in a person who's been immersed in psychology and medicine for a 
few decades, and who has himself/herself been evaluated objectively by 
someone else, than in a person who has not been evaluated by anyone and 
is making a subjective decision based on his own personal feelings.  Just 
like when you sometimes need outside advice on a bad relationship because 
you're too close to the whole mess - seeing the proverbial forest, rather 
than the trees..

Andrew Ray
aray at emory.edu
Emory Unversity Neuroscience Program

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