Involuntary Psychotropic Medicating of Nevadans

On December 28, 2022 the Legislative Commission heard #R009-22 which was a proposal from the Nevada Board of Health to update a previous Board of Health Regulation #R012-20 pertaining to forced administration of psychotropic pharmaceutical drugs to individuals in public or private mental health facilities. This original regulation was put into place by the Board of Health (with Legislative Commission approval) in 2020; thereby forced psychotropic medication is not entirely new in Nevada. This update changes the parameters required in order for a patient to be medicated without consent and possibly against their will. The first change removes “an emergency admission pursuant to NRS 433.150” as one of the 2 instances in which a patient can be force medicated. With that removal, there is still “an involuntary court-ordered admission pursuant to NRS 433A.200” required before a medical practitioner can order forced medication of a patient. The second change is to the verbiage pertaining to the patient’s “mental state”. This update significantly changes the parameters; the old verbiage required that a patient be “unable to care for himself or herself”. That is replaced with “is at serious risk of incurring serious injury or illness resulting from complete neglect of his or her basic need for food, clothing, shelter or personal safety without the administration of the medication”. Words matter! The old text defined a definitive situation. A case where a patient is unable to care for him or herself. The new verbiage is arbitrary and creates a hypothetical situation. Whether in the opinion of the medical practitioner that patient MIGHT not be able to care for him or herself at an unspecified time in the future. Not a definite inability; a potential inability.

During the Legislative Commission meeting (starts at approx. 3:28 in the video) only 2 of the legislators asked questions and/or made comments. Assemblywoman Dickman was the only legislator who expressed concern with the language changes, and who subsequently voted against this update. Assemblyman Hafen spoke and thanked the Board of Health for giving a “better definition” that is “more stringent” and “not so ambigiuous”.

The Legislative Commission voted 11-1 to make it easier for Nevadans to be involuntarily medicated with psychotropic medications.