KFOR Reports: Monday was a major step in the fight to help those who are mentally ill. Governor Mary Fallin signed 'The Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act' into law.
"I think, today, Mark Costello has done something great for Oklahoma," said Cathy Costello, his widow.
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was stabbed to death in a Braum's parking lot in August of 2015. His son, Christian Costello, who suffers from mental illness, is the accused killer.
"I think that my son, I call him the poster child for the AOT bill, because I know that he met the criteria of this bill, and he would have been put on medication," Cathy said. She said her son was hospitalized at least five times before killing his father.
With the new legislation, help will be easier to get. Now, court orders can be handed down to require patients to take their medication. "Most importantly, the consequence is, when someone doesn't seek treatment, instead of going to jail, they are involved back in the mental health system, either through going to the community mental health center and receiving their medication or potentially ultimately ending back into the psychiatric hospital," said Terri White with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
"Society cannot ignore this problem, and if it does so, it does so at its peril." - Mark Costello
Editor's note: This is still far from fixing the bigger problems state treatment center capacity. A person cannot qualify for the AOT program until after they are admitted into the care of the overcrowded system. Masses of Oklahomans are rerouted to jails when the states beds are found to be full (which is nearly a daily reality).
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...