Colorado kowtows to far-left 'physician's' group, bans use of term 'excited delirium' in yet another attack on law enforcement

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DENVER, CO - And just like that, the term “excited delirium” is illegal in Colorado, following the lead of another leftist enclave, California, in banning the use of the term by police officers, first responders, and coroners, CBS News reports

For the uninformed, excited delirium is a term defined as:

“Excited (or agitated) delirium is characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress, and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs that alter dopamine processing, hypothermia, and, most notably, sometimes with [the] death of the affected person in the custody of law enforcement.” 

Probably one of the most famous (or infamous) cases of someone dying, in part, by excited delirium is a name you probably recognize–George Floyd. While being restrained by Minneapolis police officers, Floyd, who was under the influence of fentanyl and methamphetamine, according to the medical examiner, suffered a medical emergency, died, and the rest is history–a “summer of love” that consisted of over $2 billion in damage, numerous deaths, countless injuries, and a divided country. 

Now, in order to blow smoke up the collective posterior of the public, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill outlawing the use of excited delirium as a cause of death of restrained subjects arrested by police. 

A summary of the bill reads:

The bill prohibits training for law enforcement personnel, emergency medical service providers, or other first responders from including the term “excited delirium”; except in an emergency medical service provider training, the term may be used in teaching the history of the term. A peace officer is prohibited from using the term “excited delirium” to describe a person in an incident report. A coroner or other person authorized to determine a cause of death shall not register “excited delirium” as the cause of death on a death certificate.

The change in the law came about after a report from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said excited delirium is not a valid medical or psychiatric diagnosis. 

As a point of information, PHR holds a pro-Palestinian philosophy and routinely parrots Hamas's talking points about the current war between Israel and Hamas terrorists. For example, PHR claims Israel is not providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

Those claims have been debunked, however, by AIPAC,  which writes that Israel is indeed providing massive aid to Gaza, with over 1,000 trucks of aid being sent to the stricken region per week. Since Hamas killed over 1,000 Israelis in an unprovoked attack last October 7, Israel has provided over 280,080 tons of aid to Gaza. In fact, AIPAC blames the United Nations for not having adequate assets available to deliver aid to Gaza. 

There is no other reason to remove the use of excited delirium from the lexicon of law enforcement and first responders other than to give anti-police prosecutors and lawmakers an opening to target police officers. It is typically used in police custody situations where suspects put forth superhuman strength and extreme agitation. However, PHR is a far-left, anti-police group of "medical professionals." They love them some George Floyd:

Sometimes, excited delirium and positional asphyxia are used interchangeably. However, an article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine notes that while positional asphyxia is typically associated with someone who is restrained through the use of devices such as hobbles, many individuals with agitated delirium die without even being restrained. 

Agitated delirium deaths typically take place in the summer during warm and humid weather, while positional asphyxia can occur at any time. Two-thirds of agitated delirium deaths occur at the scene or during transport to a hospital. The report notes that one out of every ten cocaine-related deaths in Miami, for example, were due to agitated delirium. 

The Colorado law was spurred by the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old man from Aurora, Colorado, who died after a violent encounter with police and after paramedics injected him with ketamine. Two Aurora police officers were arrested in connection with McClain’s death, however, a jury reached a mixed verdict during the trial, according to CBS News. 

On that same day, the American College of Emergency Physicians also voted to rescind a paper issued 14 years ago on the phenomenon, the last medical group to decide excited delirium didn’t have a valid medical or psychiatric diagnosis. 

Colorado lawmakers (Democrats) were angry that the Adams County Coroner listed excited delirium on McClain’s autopsy as contributory to his death. One Colorado Democrat went so far as to call it “junk science.” 

“We know this is junk science, and we have to stop using it,” said State Rep. Judy Amabile, who introduced the bill signed by Polis. Playing right into the race card, Amabile played it to leftist perfection:

“More than 50% of the deaths have been people of color. If you have psychosis and you’re a person of color, the results are so disastrous for you.

“People have not been found guilty of any crime at the point where they’re interacting with the police and they’re paying the ultimate price and that is a wrong we need to right,” Amabile continued. 

The law also outlaws terms like hyperactive delirium, agitated delirium, agitated delirium, and exhaustive mania. While it is unknown how police training will be adjusted to fit the new leftist attempt to handcuff cops, Amabile is looking toward de-escalation training. 

The National Police Association (NPA) rightly points out the problem with laws such as those in Colorado and California. They note that excited delirium is “typically associated with the use of drugs that alter dopamine processing, hyperthermia, and, most notably, sometimes with the death of the affected person in the custody of law enforcement.” 

Much of the above symptoms, the NPA points out, are often associated with drug abuse. So, to a police officer arriving at a scene with such a person creating a disturbance, the subject is usually “sweating, often naked (due to increased body heat), often overweight and impervious to rational discussion and feeling no pain, their strength is multiplied because the normal sense of ‘this hurts, I’ve got to stop’ does not exist.” 

This means that a single police officer, regardless of their physical attributes and skills, will still have difficulty controlling such a subject. 

In many cases, all of the above is a recipe for the subject to experience a potentially fatal reaction.

“This means that first responders must act quickly to get a person to advance medical care. Therefore, the fight to get control of an out-of-control person is not primarily for justice purposes, but for medical care to prevent death,” the NPA wrote. 

Leftist prosecutors often take the fact that police are forced to use some type of restraint against such a person (as in George Floyd) and blame that instead of the actual medical emergency for their deaths. As we saw in Minneapolis, four police officers paid with their careers and their freedom for doing so. 

The far-left American Medical Association claims that the diagnosis of excited delirium is merely a cover to account for the police killing of black men in custody, which is absurd. Colorado banning the use of Ketamine to calm the conditions of excited delirium removed one of the most effective tools available to first responders to mitigate the situation. It’s almost as if Colorado lawmakers want first responders to be vulnerable. 

It's just another way to coddle criminals, tie the hands of police, and give radical DAs another means to target police officers for prosecution. By removing the ability to use “the very calmative and tactical measures necessary to get a person to advance medical care and save lives,” lawmakers in Colorado (and probably a blue state near you) will cost more lives than they purport to save. 

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Law enforcement in the setting of a call for a person who is out of control to the point of being disruptive to their surroundings and/or society, many times something must be done to control the person and get them to appropriate medical care or arrested. Times when extremely disruptive and/dangerous behavior begins at the point of law enforcement interaction, intervention must occur. If excited delirium can no longer be used, law enforcement must be very descriptive of the behavior observed by the person. Of course, policies on the use of restraint must be carefully followed and well documented when used. You know all this though. I managed to find one particular article that law enforcement officers may find somewhat useful in terms of describers of specific types of behaviors to document regarding the behavior that may be observed. As a psychiatric nurse of too many years to mention, these terms, causes, approaches, and hoped for outcomes may be helpful. I always instructed staff members to be as colorful as possible when describing their observations of behavior. Use of words can help others see what the law enforcement officers were seeing as they tried to de-escalate a person and possibly have cause to use appropriate techniques to control a person in order to get them to the desired outcome and meet their needs as may be necessary. Training should be conducted more than once. It must be done frequently to ensure it is ingrained and comes naturally. Here’s the article. I hope you find it helpful.


This is more ridiculous out of control bias against police officers. It would be an easy fix to tweak training, but to say these terms are to be banned is dishonest. Of course excited delirium etc would not be a definitive cause of death or a diagnosis but rather CONTRIBUTING FACTORS in death. Facts matter even when the truth hurts.

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