Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/18/1996 01:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 493 INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT:ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE                            
                                                                               
 Number 330                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN came forward to present testimony on HB
 493 as sponsor.  He stated that some concerns arose from the                  
 previous testimony on HB 493 and he noted that these concerns have            
 been addressed by his staff.  Representative Ivan listed all the              
 entities which came together to discuss changes to this                       
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN made a motion to adopt version (G) of CSHB
 493 as the committee's working document.  There being no objection            
 it was so moved.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 529                                                                    
                                                                               
 BARBARA BRINK, Attorney, Alaska Public Defenders Agency testified             
 from Anchorage by teleconference.  She stated that she appreciated            
 the input by the various entities to ensure that this legislation             
 passed constitutional muster, but she expressed some still                    
 exisiting legal concerns whether or not this legislation would                
 violate constitutional due process.  She noted that this might be             
 beyond their fixing.  She believed the impetus for this bill was to           
 make it easier for substance abuse counselors and concerned family            
 members and friends to involuntarily commit someone in order that             
 the client must participate in treatment.                                     
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK stated that normally, before the state can lock up                  
 someone against their will, they have to prove that the state has             
 a valid and strong interest in locking this person up because the             
 fundamental rights and liberties requires strict scrutiny.  This              
 means that a person remaining at large or at liberty has to be                
 balanced against the state's interest in curtailing this liberty.             
 The previous standard requires that a person has to be                        
 demonstratively shown to be dangerous to themselves or others.  The           
 previous language in the statute requires some proof regarding the            
 likelihood of an infliction of physical harm on another person.               
 This is why it was so difficult to lock someone up in requiring               
 them to have treatment against their will.  This is a difficult               
 standard to meet.                                                             
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK went on to note that the current standard in this bill              
 and the CS just adopted is worded so broadly that it has due                  
 process problems.  She thought that the concept of dangerousness              
 was a constitutional requirement that this present bill does not              
 require.  For example, she asked if this legislation covered a                
 person who is defined to be incapacitated by alcohol or drugs                 
 simply if their judgment is so impaired that they are not making              
 rational decisions regarding their treatment.  This could include             
 anybody who is a user or an abuser who does not want to go to                 
 treatment.  The second prong of the test is whether or not they're            
 at risk of serious physical harm or illness unless committed, the             
 "or illness" prong caused concerns for her.                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK stated that interpreted broadly this legislation could              
 include someone who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day.  They are           
 certainly placing themselves in serious risk of harm or illness,              
 they have demonstrated an increased tolerance for cigarettes and              
 the drug contained in them, they suffer from withdrawal and it's a            
 significant habit to their health.  By interpreting the language of           
 this bill at face value, she felt it was not strict enough to pass            
 constitutional muster.  She also noted some procedural safe guards            
 which were missing, for example, in a civil commitment proceeding             
 the state has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a                
 person should be committed.  They have to place someone at the very           
 closest facility available and they're entitled to a hearing, which           
 could be a problem.  This hearing problem should be corrected,                
 because under a mental health commitment they are entitled to a               
 hearing within 72 hours and as Ms. Brink read the CS this could be            
 up to 10 days after the hearing.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK said that for all these reasons she has legal concerns              
 about the bill, but as a public defender she also has some policy             
 concerns.  She said that they were talking about a very valuable              
 and limited resource which was their alcohol treatment facilities.            
 She has represented many people who fall within these definitions             
 of alcoholic or drug abuser.  Her own personal experience has been            
 that those people who are going to benefit from treatment are those           
 who find it within themselves who are self-motivated and finally              
 reach that point in their lives where they actively seek out the              
 treatment themselves.                                                         
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK noted that what they were doing was forcing people who              
 are not at this willing point into these limited treatment beds and           
 they were taking those options away from people who might most                
 benefit from them.  She felt as though the success rates for                  
 treatment bear out her personal experience, that people who                   
 actively seek out treatment, who are willing and able benefit from            
 this treatment.  She also felt that this legislation could have an            
 unfair impact on rural citizens.  In many small towns and villages            
 there are no facilities available.  She wondered about the impact             
 of this bill by taking someone out of their home village and                  
 shipping them to Anchorage.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 817                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked that in her experience did Ms.               
 Brink know whether or not that the state was putting people through           
 treatment now, but just in a different form.  He asked if they go             
 through some type of patrol picked up and then placed in a detox              
 program.  He asked if these programs were involuntary as well.                
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK answered yes, but that this sort of commitment was for a            
 very limited period of time, up to twelve hours only until they are           
 no longer so incapacitated.  She understood that Juneau has used              
 the involuntary civil commitment procedure to try to force                    
 treatment on other people, but it has been found not to be a                  
 workable solution in other communities.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 890                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN understood that detox treatment was for            
 three days.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BRINK responded that these inebriates can be required to stay             
 up to 72 hours if someone files a petition.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated that she absolutely agreed with Ms.              
 Brink, unless someone wants to stop drinking it's pointless to put            
 them anywhere.  She thought that the cost of this program was                 
 prohibitive.  She asked about a fiscal note with this CS and                  
 although she applauded Representative Ivan's desire to help every             
 alcoholic, she stated, "you can only take a horse to water, you               
 can't make them drink."                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 990                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHANNON O'FALLON, Department of Law, Human Services Section,                  
 testified to the constitutional issues regarding HB 493.  She                 
 stated that Ms. Brink was correct about the Supreme Court requiring           
 some levels of dangerousness in order for the state to commit                 
 someone.  The Supreme Court has addressed this issue in the context           
 of mental health issues and she imagined it would be the same.  If            
 there's someone who suffers from mental illness or from alcoholism            
 or drug abuse, to the extent it's either making them a danger to              
 themselves or to others, or incapacitating them to a level that               
 they can't care for themselves, she felt that the state's interest            
 in treating these individuals and forcing them into treatment meets           
 the constitutional requirements.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON stated that Ms. Brink may also be right that in the              
 definition of incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, it may be that               
 they may need to change an "or" there to "and".  This would be on             
 page 7, line 22.  It is probably not enough to have someone be                
 incapacitated by alcohol or drugs and incapable of making rational            
 decisions for treatment, this probably isn't enough to commit                 
 someone.  There then has to be another level met which would                  
 require that these individuals are unable to care for their basic             
 needs.  If the word "or" after the word treatment was changed to              
 "and" then this should be sufficient.  The level of dangerousness             
 would be the individual not being able to care for themselves.                
 This would take care of some of Ms. Brink's concerns.                         
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON noted that the issue of proving that someone is a                
 danger to others under the previous standard is not true.  The                
 standard was an "or" situation as well, incapacitated by alcohol or           
 a danger to others.  It is not necessary to have both.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1123                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked about the "group" on 4th Avenue in                
 Anchorage who live in tents as a reference to page 7, line 22 which           
 outlined "persons basic safety or personal needs, including food,             
 clothing, shelter, or medical care."  She noted that her objective            
 for food, clothing and shelter is not the same as everybody else.             
 There are people living in tents and eating out of "whatever."  She           
 added that this was not her norm, but it is certainly the norm for            
 this group.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the amendment raised by the Department             
 of Law was small enough and manageable enough to take care of in              
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move the amendment as noted.            
 On page 7, line 22 delete the word "or" and replace it with the               
 word "and".  There being no objection it was so moved.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1228                                                                   
                                                                               
 DIRK NELSON, Alaska Civil Liberties Union testified by                        
 teleconference from Valdez.  He stated that the Alaska Civil                  
 Liberties Union opposed this bill on the grounds that it expands              
 the scope of the statute from alcohol to drugs without clearly                
 defining what drugs are.  He used the example of a hyperactive                
 child taking drugs to help correct their condition.  Under this               
 legislation such a child could theoretically be committed.  This              
 legislation removes harm to others as a standard and (indisc. -               
 coughing) the words "greatly disabled" were the standard.  This               
 could multiply to an individual being able to function in meeting             
 their needs or potential harm to themselves or others in an                   
 imminent way.  It removes the right to a jury trial in the first              
 phase.  The period of time was changed for someone to be committed            
 from 90 to 180 days.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON then asked to testify to this legislation not as a                 
 representative of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, but as an                 
 individual.  He noted the disparity of the target populations                 
 within the legislation.  A reference in the legislation is made to            
 alcoholics with an implication of physical dependence, but in                 
 reference to drug abusers there is no indication of physical                  
 addiction or dependence.  He noted that there was a great deal of             
 disparity of defining what is a drug abuser.  Drug treatment as a             
 service is questionable at best regarding it's success.  Alaska has           
 no scientific data regarding the effectiveness.                               
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON pointed out that drug users are the most systemically              
 discriminated against group in society despite constitutional                 
 rulings stating, for example, that marijuana cultivation or use in            
 private is not a state legal issue.  Inaccurate data has been used            
 in Luki v. Neighbors and the Treasury Bureau, as well as other              
 urine testing cases that have depicted drug users as being greatly            
 responsible for costs to the economic system.  He noted the                   
 Firestone Study.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON noted that language in HB 493 states that a refusal of             
 a physical exam will not be used as evidence as lack of judgment,             
 yet it mandates that this evidence be entered into the petition and           
 later considered.  Despite an apparent attempt to better define the           
 original and poorly constructed language in this bill, there                  
 remains a great deal of room for interpretation.  It is this type             
 of interpretation that he fears later will be put to misuse.  The             
 inability to hold a job may be perceived under this bill to include           
 anyone who is terminated for a urine test without taking into                 
 account whether they were legally eligible to be tested in the                
 first place.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON noted that previous court decisions have indicated that            
 forced medical care is not to be administered without there being             
 some degree of imminent danger of harm to self or others.  He                 
 wondered about someone who is wrongly locked up by testimony of a             
 family member who does not meet the criteria to do so.  He                    
 mentioned the cost issue of this legislation.   He also used                  
 mortality rates, such as heart disease which kills well over a half           
 a million people, yet he noted that the government isn't jailing              
 people for eating fried chicken.  Tobacco kills over 450 thousand             
 people a year and the government still subsidizing this.  Alcohol             
 kills 158 thousand people a year.  Illicit substances combined kill           
 11 thousand people per year, a mere pittance in contrast to the               
 others, but they seem to be pursuing these people with a vigor,               
 including taking their jobs away and locking them into                        
 institutions.  He said he was greatly concerned about the intent of           
 this bill.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1607                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Mr. Nelson if he knew of instances where           
 chronic alcoholics were a danger to the mental health of others.              
                                                                               
 MR. NELSON said that yes he had, but this did not meet the criteria           
 or the intent of the law.  Personally, listening to various                   
 political speeches he added was a danger to his mental health, but            
 this should not give him the opportunity to lock a person up.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1660                                                                   
                                                                               
 KATHI BURNS, Clinical Director, Northern Lights Recovery Center,              
 testified on HB 493 by teleconference from Nome.  She stated that             
 she represented the Norton Sound region with her testimony.  Norton           
 Sound has the highest suicide rate in Alaska.  This rate does not             
 include the drowning or environmental deaths.  Their environmental            
 deaths, 85 percent of which are from excessive cold and alcohol               
 related.  They have the second highest homicide rate in the state.            
 They have the third highest poisoning death rate in the state, 76             
 percent of which are alcohol related.  They have the highest                  
 firearm death rate in Alaska and suicide represents 65.2 percent of           
 the firearm deaths of this suicide rate.  The major number of                 
 suicides are alcohol related.  Ms. Burns noted that they have 49              
 times higher alcohol and drug related deaths than in the lower 48             
 states.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. BURNS stated that their concern in the Norton Sound area is               
 that they have a great deal of alcohol problems in the region and             
 they do not have a detox facility available for their region.  They           
 would like to see some consideration in the bill to give licensed             
 clinical social workers or some other qualified personnel the                 
 responsibility of providing some of the court testimony or some of            
 the work load in order that their physicians won't be overwhelmed             
 with this particular commitment issue.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1780                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON said she believed under AS 47.37.170 that a                      
 physician's assistant can do an evaluation.  She noted that the               
 location of this language was at regulation cited as 7 AAC 29.08.0            
 which states that "an individual performing duties under AS                   
 47.37.170.C as a qualified health practitioner must hold a valid              
 license under AS.08 as a physician, a physician's assistant or                
 nurse practitioner."  For a 12 hour hold someone other than a                 
 physician can do the evaluation.  She thought that Mr. Dapcevich              
 could speak to broadening the definition of who can do them.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1828                                                                   
                                                                               
 DON DAPCEVICH, Executive Director, Governor's Advisory Board on               
 Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Department of Health & Social Services,              
 said that without a doubt a clinical social worker or a                       
 credentialed chemical dependency person can very well provide the             
 behavioral clinical data, however, in most cases they deal with               
 people who are severely debilitated medically as a result of their            
 use of alcohol or drugs.  A medical practitioner would probably               
 have to speak to the practitioner issues if they have decreased               
 liver functioning or kidney problems, etc.  These are people who              
 are severely debilitated medically.  Generally speaking, to protect           
 the rights of the person committed, there is an obligation to have            
 a medical physician to exam the client and provide input to the               
 courts.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. O'FALLON added that with the mental health commitment, under              
 Title 47, in order to commit someone for 30 days a physician is               
 also required as part of this procedure, either a physiatrist or a            
 physician.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1888                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY referred to page 2, line 22 and noted that              
 especially in the rural areas there are village health aids that              
 are very qualified to be added to this legislation, as well as                
 nurse practitioners, to at least initiate this treatment.  She                
 noted that they were only allowed a 12 hour hold.                             
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that the 12 hour time frame was the limited               
 time which a person can be held in protective custody by the jail.            
 This 12 hour figure is based on a clinical rather than an                     
 administrative basis.  It's not recommended to keep people in jail            
 who are entering withdrawal.  Withdrawal usually begins after about           
 12 hours.  In a detox facility they are allowed to hold someone up            
 to 72 hours and after this time an individual can refuse treatment.           
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH pointed out that the involuntary commitment section             
 of the statute is to target those people, for example, who had 170            
 twelve hour holds in a local jail in Fairbanks.  He didn't know how           
 many detox visits this person had and/or, how many aborted                    
 treatments there were, but these are people where if these days are           
 totaled up, they're either involved in the judicial system or the             
 medical system on a daily basis.  Detox is extremely time consuming           
 and expensive.  The department would do far better to use less                
 expensive treatment dollars to treat these individuals rather than            
 to continually cycle them through a detox or jail.                            
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that what they attempted to do in the last go            
 around was to make the rest of the statute, not necessarily those             
 sections involved with involuntary commitment, but to make them               
 consistent.  He noted that slight changes were made in the other              
 sections, such as dealing with 12 hour holds, just to make the                
 language consistent throughout the statute.  They made no                     
 substantial changes in those other portions of the statute.                   
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH continued by responding to a question by Chairman               
 Porter about what defines a drug user.  He stated that the                    
 definition is consistent with alcohol.  They were speaking to the             
 title, "An act related to treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse."             
 The definition in the statute is consistent between alcohol and               
 drug abuse.  It specifically speaks to drug addiction.  On page 7,            
 Section 13 deals with the definition of addiction.                            
                                                                               
 Number 2090                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked how this definition could be used            
 to apply and differentiate between nicotine use to crack cocaine.             
 He asked if these both fell under the definition.                             
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH clarified that crack cocaine on the one hand meets              
 the component dealing with a person being unable to make rational             
 decisions because of impaired mental function.  Nicotine does not             
 impair mental function.                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY took exception with this statement.  She said           
 he had never tried to quit.                                                   
 MR. DAPCEVICH said he didn't speak to trying to quit or addiction,            
 but to mental functioning in relation to an ability to make                   
 decisions for the need for treatment.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that it's all arguable.  If someone           
 is addicted to a substance and they know it will kill them, but yet           
 they continue to do it.  The point was made that a lot of                     
 situations can fall into this.  He referred to the definition on              
 page 3 and said he shared the concerns expressed about this.  He              
 quoted that the person has to be "an alcoholic or drug abuser"                
 which means they have an addiction level and they then must be                
 either incapacitated or under a risk of serious physical harm or              
 illness.  He noted that plenty of drugs including legal and illegal           
 certainly constitute serious physical harm.  He thought that this             
 was a pretty broad category when applied to the world of drugs                
 whether people are consuming them legally or illegally.                       
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that the referral early on deals with the issue           
 of removing a person from physical harm during a 12 hour hold,                
 which might be done with someone who is not addicted to alcohol or            
 drugs, or someone who needs (indisc. - coughing) because they are             
 not able to fend for themselves in terms of their own safety.  This           
 does not speak to addiction at all, but speaks only to protective             
 custody.  When speaking about involuntary commitment, which is a              
 different portion of the statute it's used in those cases where               
 there are all the markers for addiction, as well as, the other                
 portion of the statute dealing with a person being able to provide            
 for their own safety.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 2217                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that this went to the heart of the            
 point.  This was the issue before them.  He read from the                     
 involuntary commitment section and he still didn't see how this               
 differentiation was made.  He again used the example of nicotine              
 and stated that it meets the requirement for addiction and under              
 this section the person has to be either incapacitated or who, if             
 not treated, will be at risk of serious harm or illness.  He asked            
 that if someone smokes 4 packs a day are they not at risk of                  
 serious physical harm or illness.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2303                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER wondered if they could somehow write this "illegal            
 drugs" phrase specifically into the legislation so it was more                
 clear.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH agreed that they could.                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if it would be a simple matter to add illicit           
 drugs or a term like this into the appropriate places through a               
 conceptual amendment.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN stated that the use of prescription                
 drugs is a major drug problem.                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER responded that these are controlled substances and            
 he didn't really mean illicit, but controlled substances which                
 would include prescription drugs.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that his point was that people are            
 addicted to prescription drugs just as they are addicted to alcohol           
 or illegal drugs.  They have the same problems and pose the same              
 danger to society.  It's hard to differentiate for purposes of                
 debate.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2437                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to conceptually amend the bill             
 to include the term controlled substances where appropriate.  There           
 being no objection amendment number 2 passed.                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-36, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that the legislation since the last                
 meeting didn't sound any different.  The scope of it seemed more              
 broad regarding who can actually be placed in an involuntary                  
 situation.  She wanted to know more specifically those areas which            
 were worked on since the last meeting.  Representative Davis also             
 added that the legislation still did not address the lack of bed              
 space for these individuals.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 061                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that the aims of this legislation was to base            
 a commitment on sound clinical measures.  It ensures that the                 
 courts have the latitude necessary to make treatment decisions                
 which are appropriate to the severity of the problem before them              
 with reasonable expectations of success.  This legislation protects           
 the rights of these clients.  The legislation is more consistent              
 now than before in regard to the mental health commitments, as                
 versus the alcohol and now other drug abuse commitments.  The                 
 changes also made this legislation more user friendly for treatment           
 programs, especially in the bush communities.                                 
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH said that this legislation would not change the                 
 status quo initially.  It will take a period of time, in fact                 
 years, to affect the change necessary to have this long impact on             
 treatment programs.  First of all, this is the type of treatment              
 where they won't bring a commitment if they don't have a bed                  
 available to put a person in.  In this way, it's self-limiting.               
 The expansion of the involuntary commitment time is not an                    
 absolute, but an allowance on an individual basis.                            
                                                                               
 Number 157                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN lodged one of his concerns that this               
 process might be used to solve internal domestic disputes by a                
 relative.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that for someone to be unjustly committed would           
 involve the collusion of a treatment professional, the family                 
 member, and the physicians, as well as, the courts.  He thought               
 that there were safeguards built in to prevent this from happening.           
 Certainly, on the other hand, the people who are most likely to be            
 committed by a family member are those who a family member can no             
 longer handle for whatever reason.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated that she had some concerns about the             
 cost of this program.  She asked for the cost figures.                        
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that there was a fiscal note attached to this             
 legislation.  With response to the cost of this program, they're              
 bearing these costs right now in the emergency rooms, in the detox            
 centers and the jails, etc.  In response to the statement that                
 treatment doesn't work for people who don't want treatment there is           
 a preponderance of empirical evidence which indicates that nearly             
 everyone who comes forward for treatment is coming forward because            
 they are being coerced either by their families, the courts, their            
 employer, etc.  Basically, people do not want treatment and success           
 rates are not necessarily positively correlated between a person's            
 willingness to undergo treatment.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 361                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY responded by stating that "the day we said we           
 will take this on as a medical problem was the day we made a big              
 mistake...alcoholism should not be lumped into medical problems.              
 It should be lumped into something other than a disease.  It is a             
 personal problem you have and of course some people have more of a            
 problem saying no.  That to me is our major problem that we've                
 taken on the care and feeding of a group of people that don't want            
 care and feeding."                                                            
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that "in all fairness the alternative is               
 much more dismal from what we're doing right now.  This bill is an            
 attempt to try to do a little better with the alternative.  Quite             
 frankly the U.S. Supreme Court has brought to us by saying that               
 public intoxication should be decriminalized in the first place.              
 We had a way of treating people who didn't want to be treated, it             
 was called the correctional system.  We can't do that anymore.                
 This bill isn't the enemy."                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 416                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that he didn't disagree with this             
 statement, but in the area of drugs they still do have the                    
 correctional system and he could see the logic of this legislation            
 as it applies to alcohol.                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. DAPCEVICH stated that there is often a situation which will               
 present itself where an individual is incapacitated by drugs and              
 putting themselves and others in harms way.  He noted that where an           
 involuntary commitment is an appropriate option the people involved           
 cannot prove any drug use or there is no case to be formed for drug           
 use, but the individual might be addicted to prescription drugs or            
 crack cocaine where there can be a more legal case made, it is from           
 a medical and safety standpoint to put them in a treatment facility           
 rather than jail.  This does not in any way affect the legal                  
 consequences of illegal drug use.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER pointed out the amount of time the criminal             
 justice system would be saved if an addict went successfully                  
 through this system as an alternative.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move CSHB 493 (G) out of the            
 House Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and                 
 attached fiscal note as amended.                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if anyone had an interest in an              
 amendment to leave this legislation to solely alcohol.                        
                                                                               
 Number 602                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that frankly he would be surprised if very             
 many pure drug abusers would find themselves in this program.  What           
 this will do is eliminate the debate about how much of a person's             
 problem is the result of alcohol use or how much is due to their              
 using drugs at the time of an involuntary commitment hearing.  If             
 they do, this would probably mean they're so far "down the tube"              
 they would need this program anyway.                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said she would be interested in Representative           
 Finkelstein's proposal, although she said she was convinced that              
 even though the presenters of the legislation think it would have             
 an impact, she felt as though this program would not do a whole               
 lot.                                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 660                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that it was his impression about the function            
 of this bill is that it's available for a few isolated individual             
 cases which every community has.  It would be for the individuals             
 described who are going through detox 100 times and literally                 
 spending thousands of dollars in this process.  An acholic who has            
 been sick for a long time doesn't get rational for sometimes three            
 months.  A longer period of involuntary commitment can sometimes              
 get a person to this point.  "We don't have an answer for                     
 alcoholism, if we did, we'd do it."                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that he wouldn't be offering an               
 amendment as described.                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that they had a motion to move this                    
 legislation as described.  There being no objection it was so                 
 moved.                                                                        

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