Even when you are placed in a mental health care institution involuntarily, you must be informed of the treatment and must not be forced to take medicine against your will.

However, there are a few situations, where you might be given medicine against your will. This might happen when there is a clear risk that because of your condition:

  • you might harm yourself or others, or
  • you demonstrate aggression against others

The medical personnel must first try to convince you to calm down verbally. The administration of medicine must not be the first solution.

If the medical personnel have to give you medicine against your will, the dose must be the minimum possible for calming you down. The administration of the medicine must stop immediately when you are no longer a threat to yourself and to others.

What human rights violation may there be?

Giving you medicine against your will interferes with your right to control what is happening to you and thus with your right to private life. Forced medication is a form of chemical restraint. However, not every such situation will result in a violation of your human rights. To violate your rights, the administration of medication against your will must be unnecessary and disproportional. It means, for example, that you were forced to take medicine in a situation other than those described above, or the medication was too strong or was given for a longer time than necessary.

In Latvia, the forceful administration of medicine and the complaint procedure is explained in the Medical Treatment Law. You can also read more about this complaint procedure.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education