It is commonly accepted by the law that there are two circumstances under which neuroleptic drugs (commonly referred to as antipsychotics) can be forced on someone in the state of Massachusetts without court approval. These include:
‘Police Power’ Exception: This exception states that, in circumstances where there is imminent danger posed and the use of a neuroleptic drug would be seen as the ‘least restrictive’ option available to reduce that risk, such a drug may be administered against someone’s will.
‘Parens Patriae’ Exception: This exception states that, where “immediate, substantial and irreversible deterioration of a serious mental illness” is concerned, psychiatric drugs may be forcibly administered, though only on a short-term basis while a judicial ruling is being sought. This is a particularly tricky exception, given that there is little scientific evidence of such a phenomenon of irreversibility.