Should Emergency Rooms Hold an Overdose Victim for Three Days?

An involuntary psychiatric commitment is a legal process in which someone with severe mental illness can be court ordered into hospital care for 72 hours without their consent.  This hold is for evaluation and stabilization by professionals before their release. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed a new law that would allow the same three day hold for substance abusers who are in danger. This three day period would allow the same first aid, observation, and containment of danger for an opiate addict who has overdosed as it does for a psychiatric patient. Is this a good idea? Listen to a group of recovering opiate addicts discuss their opinions on the issue.

Discussion Guide:

Have you, or someone you know, been taken to a hospital following an overdose, and quickly released?

Do you see a benefit to being held in a hospital, after an overdose, for a period of time?

What criteria would you use to determine if someone should be held in a hospital?

What kind of help would you recommend the hospital provide during that three day period?

Supplementary Reading:

Can Prince’s Death Spark Key Discussion on Opioids, Ford Vox