Mental health advocates cheer Vermont court's ruling on involuntary treatment

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MONTPELIER, Vermont — Vermont mental health advocates say they're gratified by a ruling from the state's high court that appears to raise the bar for when the state can force a patient to take medications against his or her will.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled on Friday that for patients being cared for in the community, the state must convince a court that a patient is likely to become dangerous to him- or herself in the near future before they can be required to take medication.

The court found that it's not enough to show that without medication the patient's condition may deteriorate.

Jack McCullough, director of Vermont Legal Aid's Mental Health Law Project, says the court found there was no proof the patient had done anything dangerous in 15 years.

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