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Alaska Court Backs Man’s Involuntary Commitment

(CN) - An Alaska man who damaged his brain by huffing chemicals must remain in a mental institution against his will, even though treatment is unlikely to help him, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled.

EP challenged his three consecutive involuntary commitments. He damaged his frontal lobe through huffing gasoline fumes and other inhalants. He also has a history of alcohol abuse.

All parties agree that the Alaska Psychiatric Institute cannot improve EP's condition. EP has freely admitted that if he is discharged from the institute, he will go back to huffing.

His doctor wrote, "He cannot perceive and understand reality. His judgment is extremely poor and he is unable to make rational decisions, as shown by his continued desire to inhale toxic substances."

Justice Carpeneti wrote that these circumstances require that EP remain committed.

"Because EP is likely to harm himself as a result of his mental illness," Carpeneti wrote, "the statutes do not require the court to find that treatment will improve his condition in order to involuntarily commit him."

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