How the Baker Act Affects Marijuana Users

by | Jun 4, 2012

The Baker Act is a Florida state law where people who appear to be “mentally ill” are are forced to go to a psychiatric hospital because they, apparently, pose a danger to themselves and/or others.
It is in the name of “public safety” that they are involuntarily committed due to their recent display of irrational behavior.
Many young people are being institutionalized after smoking marijuana, due to adverse effects. It has been found that marijuana can be laced with phencyclidine, otherwise known as PCP. With low doses one can expect a change in body awareness, numbness of the extremities and poor muscular coordination. However, higher doses can produce
hallucinations, seizures, paranoia, disordered thinking and garbled speech. At
the extreme, catatonia and death are possible.
Imagine smoking marijuana and being unaware it is laced with PCP and experiencing one of the schizophrenic-type symptoms mentioned above. Even worse, imagine being picked
up by the police and taken to a psychiatric hospital because of your schizophrenic-like behavior. What would happen to you next?
Upon arrival at a psychiatric hospital, staff will observe your irrational behavior and will
admit you. Once committed and depending on how much PCP was ingested, it is
possible that one could become violent or suicidal in such a restricted environment. In any case, by law you can be detained for seventy-two hours whether you like it or not.
As a Florida resident you have legal rights and should be informed of those rights upon arrival, but those may be conveniently overlooked due to the incoherent irrational behavior. Immediate treatment would be the top priority instead. That could mean
mind-altering drugs with potentially catastrophic side effects just to calm you down. Or perhaps ECT, otherwise known as electroshock, would be deemed necessary. In either case, unnecessary psychiatric treatment would result because it was never known that PCP was the cause of all the patient’s symptoms of “mental illness.”
Another thing to be aware of is that marijuana joints can be dipped in embalming fluid for the purpose of making the joint last longer. Again, one may or may not know about
this additive, but more than likely one would not know about its side effects
which are similar to those of PCP.
Embalming fluid is made up of formaldehyde and ethyl alcohol. If it is sold on the street it could contain PCP as well. Its short-term side effects are anger, frustration, depression, hallucinations or delusions, paranoia, impaired vision and violence to name a few. Clearly, a marijuana user exhibiting these side effects out in public could be a candidate for the Baker Act. A person could wind up in a psychiatric hospital for the wrong reasons and be detained there under the seventy-two hour rule.
A young man was brought to a psychiatric emergency room that was naked, disoriented, psychotic, confused, hearing voices and hallucinating. He wasn’t coherent enough to say
that he had smoked marijuana combined with tea leaves soaked in embalming fluid. Luckily he was re-evaluated the following morning and all his “psychiatric” symptoms were gone because the side effects of the embalming fluid had worn off. This is just one example of marijuana use resulting in an unnecessary situation that could have had dangerous and damaging consequences.
Psychiatrists will tell you that your brain needs to be balanced with psychotropic drugs to control that undesirable behavior but that has not been proven by any valid medical
test. Such things as toxins, allergens and even sugar in children can cause non-optimum
behavior, all which have nothing to do with the brain. One only needs to find that external cause, not the theoretical non-scientific internal one.
Every seventy-five seconds someone in the United States is involuntarily committed, so it would be smart to do your homework so that you don’t wind up becoming part of that
statistic. The more informed you are, the less likely you will wind up under psychiatric care for no reason.


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