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Push renewed for forced mental treatment

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Massachusetts is one of only five states that have not approved a law requiring certain people with severe mental illnesses to take prescribed medications or face involuntary hospitalization, according to a new study by a prominent advocacy group.

The Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center maintains that the absence of such a law — an issue to be taken up on Beacon Hill Tuesday — contributes to homelessness, violence, and a state prison system where nearly a quarter of the men and more than half of the women are considered mental health cases.

Backers say the need for such was illustrated dramatically last summer when Edwin Alemany was accused of brutally abducting and murdering 24-year-old Amy Lord, a web designer living in South Boston who was beaten, robbed, and stabbed to death.

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