LOS ANGELES - Dr. Drew Pinsky is calling on lawmakers to modify Prop 47, which he says is enabling individuals with mental health issues to deny treatment.
"The fact is — (Prop) 47 is murder. It is murder," Dr. Drew told FOX 11 during a Good Day LA interview Monday morning.
Prop 47, also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, was a referendum passed by California voters in November 2014. The law changed drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, which means drug addicts won't go to jail for shooting up in public.
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“It’s not just solving the mental health and addiction problem for the homeless — the homeless problem is a mental health and addiction problem," Dr. Drew said. “If you don’t have leverage, some consequence for using... they will use until they die – and that is murder.”
Dr. Drew says that only 10 percent of people with a drug problem seek treatment. "80 percent of people say that they don’t want it and they don’t need it — that’s the nature of the disease.”
The mental health problem on the streets cause something called anosognosia, which blocks an individual's insight into what’s happening to them, so there’s zero motivation to change things. Dr. Drew referred to this as "active resistance." "Their brain motivational systems are set up to use (drugs) as the priority."
"If you don’t do something to get in the way of that, they will keep using until they die. They don’t want treatment so you have to leverage them into treatment to create the motivation," Dr. Drew said.
Although Dr. Drew does not believe this should be a criminal justice problem, he is calling on lawmakers to reform Prop 47 in order to help the mentally ill get the treatment they need.
“It is time that people who make the laws listen to people that treat the patients… Help us help these patients,” said Dr. Drew. “It’s making me sick.”
Dr. Drew says he has a five-point plan for addressing the mental health crisis in California, and making changes to Prop 47 is at the top of the list.
Step 1: Modify Prop 47 to include "motivated treatment." In other words, giving individuals the ultimatum: If you don’t go to treatment, you’ll go to jail.
Step 2: Implement SB 640 – allow involuntary commitment when needed.
Step 3: Remove the "IMD exclusion" — remove exclusion for mentally ill patients, allow Medicare to pay for psychiatric facilities.
Step 4: Create psychiatric care advance directives.
Step 5: Build environments for care - not imprisonment.
Dr. Drew says that by imposing this five-point plan, at least half of the mentally ill people in the state will be off the streets.
“Three a day will die today, while we sit here with the same laws," Dr. Drew added.