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In 2016, HB 1713 (Ricky’s Law) modified the Involuntary Treatment Act. The Act integrated crisis response for mental health and substance abuse (SUD), created a new classification of mental health professionals, and mandated the creation of Secure Withdrawal and Management and Stabilization facilities (SWMS) to serve those detained for SUD.
The law also directed WSIPP to evaluate the effects of the law. We evaluated the outcomes for those detained to SWMS, comparing them to people never detained but who had received voluntary detoxification treatment in the same period.
In the six months following treatment, SWMS clients were less likely to:
We found no significant difference in rates of mental health treatment, arrest, or employment.
Our benefit-cost analysis found that, compared to the detox group, SWMS returns $0.19 per dollar spent. We estimate that benefits will exceed costs 6% of the time. That is, compared to the detox-only group, the cost of the program exceeds the benefits we are able to estimate.