One year ago, Johnny Lee Akins of Crestview, Florida sought treatment for severe mental health issues at a hospital with a psychiatric receiving facility, and despite his wife’s desperate pleas, the facility released him because he apparently did not meet commitment criteria.[i] Two days later, he was charged with the murder of his friend and neighbor,[ii] a scenario that repeats itself more often than it should. Equally alarming, in November 2021, the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 100,306 overdose deaths occurred in America between April 2020 and April 2021—a nearly 29% increase from the prior year.[iii] These and many other similar stories illuminate how much we are systematically failing to assist people struggling with serious mental illnesses and drug addictions.
The remainder of this article is available only for our website subscribers, who help fund our mission of keeping you updated on news you want and need to know. You can become a subscriber for as little as $3.17 a month.