Misunderstanding HD

In the course of serving and protecting the public, law enforcement officials often encounter unusual or dangerous behavior: agitation, confusion, aggression, problems with gait or motor control, and slurred or hard to understand speech. This conduct can indicate a number of medical conditions. Huntington’s disease is an example of a serious neurological disorder that can cause any or all of these symptoms. There have been documented cases of people with HD having difficult interactions with law enforcement because their symptoms are misidentified, misunderstood or mishandled. Sadly, there can be negative outcomes, including harm to the individual or even suicide; negative outcomes which may have been preventable.

HDSA’s Law Enforcement Training Guide

The HDSA Law Enforcement Training Guide purpose is threefold:

  • To help law enforcement officials recognize the symptoms common to individuals with Huntington’s disease (HD)
  • To provide suggestions for addressing behaviors associated with HD
  • To recommend solutions that will end the encounter safely and successfully.

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