Coercive Treatment — Moving Beyond “For Your Own Good”

San Francisco, CA

Coercive Treatment – Moving Beyond “For Your Own Good,” was a conference and workshop series that unpacked the history and harms of coercion in drug treatment and mental health settings and explored patient- and rights-centered alternatives.

View the program (PDF).

Watch the keynotes and panel sessions.


Calls for more treatment funding, or “treatment instead of incarceration,” are common in the drug policy, mental health, recovery, criminal justice, and disability spaces. The same indignities and negative consequences commonly associated with criminalization, however, can also be reproduced by public health and treatment interventions that fail to prioritize consent.

Indeed, even as we begin to move away from harsh criminal penalties for drug use and possession, coercive drug addiction treatment, fueled by racism, stigmatization, paternalism, ableism, and profit, is on the upswing. Forced detox, civil commitment, and drug and other treatment courts are proliferating with wide public and government support, despite a myriad of negative consequences for both individuals and society. The fact that many “treatment” facilities mirror prisons and asylums appears to be going totally unnoticed or is dismissed.


Arnold Ventures
Open Society Foundations

Conference Partners

A New PATH/Moms United • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law • Berkeley School of Social • Welfare Broken No More • The Center for Harm Reduction Therapy • Community Access • Connecticut Legal Rights Project • Disability Visibility Project • Families for Sensible Drug Policy • Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care • Harm Reduction Coalition • Hearing Voices Network USA • International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis – U.S. Chapter • Law Enforcement Action Partnership • Madness Radio • National Advocates for Pregnant Women • National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy • National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery • Open Society Foundations • Portland Hearing Voices • San Francisco AIDS Foundation • San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness • San Francisco Public Defender • San Francisco Taxpayers for Public Safety • Senior and Disability Action • Students for Sensible Drug Policy • Survivors of Institutional Abuse • Truth Pharm • Voluntary Services Coalition • Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community • Young Women’s Freedom Center