4/28/2001 – A Prescription for Violence? (School Shootings)

Kelly O’Meara of Insight Magazine has once again given us another incredible
article on this issue of drug-induced violence leading to the school
shootings.

… James E. Copple, vice president of the National Crime Prevention
Council and former principal and superintendent of schools in Wichita, Kan.
says: I tend to lean on the side of doing everything possible to protect the
student’s right to privacy, he says, but when they commit an act of violence
all the factors involved in the crime including medications need to be
known by that community.

… Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety
Center says: Its the thought that if youre going to put Charlie Manson in my
class I have a right to know that. . . We have kids so medicated its
incredible. I dont see parents asking the question about the numbers of
children on psychotropic drugs as being all that invasive. The public would
be shocked at the number of file drawers of prescription drugs that teachers
are asked to dispense. . . . it would be a great study for someone to go back
and see how many of the kids who committed these violent acts were on these
drugs.

I certainly do agree with Mr. Stephens when he says that it would be a great
study to go back and find out how many of these children were on medications
at the time of the shooting. I agree because that is what I have been doing
for the last decade. This type of disclosure is what I have been pleading for
with every new school shooting.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But discovering which medications these
children were on, has been FAR FROM easy! It involves a lot of detective
work. The question must be asked over and over and over again. First it makes
a big difference if the shooter survived or committed suicide. That
determines whether you have a good defense attorney to work with. Then you
must contact everyone involved – everyone who knew them – in order to find
the information about medication. It can take a very long time to track
everyone down and find the answer.

I must commend Bill Trainor for coming forward publicly with the information
about the medications Jason was on at the time of the shooting. When we have
had two school shootings within weeks of one another with both shooters on an
SSRI antidepressant, the public has the right to know! Yet here we are at the
two year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting still waiting to
learn what Dylan Kleebold was on that day. That information has never yet
been released to the public. WHY has that been kept from us?!!! I have a
pretty good idea, but it will be good to have the truth come out via the
lawsuit that is about to be filed against the makers of Luvox and the one
that has been filed against Eric Harris’ doctors.

Had it not been for the attorneys in the latest school shootings agreeing to
go public with the information on the drugs involved in these shootings, we
would still be waiting for answers and more children would die. It has been
an honor to work with these men of integrity.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()
________________________________

http://www.insightmag.com/archive/200105217.shtml

A Prescription for Violence?
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By Kelly Patricia OMeara
komeara@…
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The recent wave of school-shooting incidents has some concerned parents
demanding that the medical records of students taking psychotropic drugs be
made public.

In the last 10 shooting incidents at schools, a total of 105 students,
teachers and administrators were killed or wounded. Beginning in March 1998
with the shooting at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and ending
with the March 22, 2001, shootings at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon,
Calif., six of the 12 juvenile shooters are reported to have been on
prescribed mind-altering drugs.

San Diego Deputy Public Defender William Trainor announced last week
that his client, 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, who is charged with the shooting
of five students and teachers at Granite Hills High School, had been
prescribed the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor. Whether Trainor intends to
use this medical information as part of his clients defense is unclear,
though he said that the drugs [Hoffman] was prescribed may help explain his
actions. He adds that research indicates that the drugs that were prescribed
are extremely powerful antidepressants with the most dangerous side effects.

According to Loren Mosher, professor of psychiatry at the University of
California at San Diego, Celexa and Effexor are selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors [SSRIs] in a class with Prozac, Paxil and Luvox the same drug
prescribed to Columbine shooter Eric Harris.

It appears Trainor believes there is a correlation between the drugs
and the shootings. Although he could not provide specific information about
his client, he tells Insight that this is a hot-button issue and there are
many people who dont want to look at the connection. If you say those drugs
may be involved, says Trainor, youll be labeled a kook. But with the history
of these drugs there is a huge unpredictability factor. When someone goes off
while on these drugs it should raise some eyebrows in the community. Im
starting to wonder when the public has the right to this information. What is
the balance of rights? Its his medical rec-ords versus the public right to be
safe. Which one has the trump card? It is a legitimate question.

Although Trainor is not the only public official to consider the
possibility that widely prescribed mind-altering drugs may play a role in
much-publicized school violence, he is among the few to make public the issue
of medical records generally being protected and put off-limits. The privacy
of medical records, including mental-health information, is protected by law.
The information about the prescription-drug history of an accused perpetrator
is only made public when the information is released by the family, school
officials, friends and, sometimes, law-enforcement officers and attorneys.

And, of course, such information seems to be of interest to the public
only in the wave of concern after a violent event, making it difficult even
to consider whether prescribed psychotropic drugs are a chronic cause of
otherwise senseless violence.

In fact, so little information has been made public about these
mind-altering drugs and their connection to shootings and other school
violence that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) isnt even looking at the
possibility. When asked about a communitys right to know if an alleged
shooter has been prescribed a psychotropic drug, Reagan Dunn, a spokesman for
the DOJ, tells Insight: There are two issues that youve raised
medical-record privacy and criminal records of juveniles. These records are
sealed by statute in all states. It [the connection between psychotropic
drugs and school shooters] isnt an issue were looking at there are other
priorities were focusing on, such as school-resource officers [safety
officers] and other programs to reduce school violence.

But two other federal law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and the
U.S. Secret Service, appear to be concerned about the increasing number of
school shootings and have invested a great deal of time and effort to look
into the possible reasons for them. The FBI published a report last year
called The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective. The 41-page
report was the result of a joint effort by the National Center for the
Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) and teachers, school administrators and
law-enforcement officers involved in investigating each of the school
shootings. They were assisted by experts in adolescent violence, mental
health, suicidology and school dynamics. Eighteen school-shooting cases were
reviewed for the report.

Although topics such as family relationships, school dynamics, social
problems, personality traits and behavior, threat management in schools and
the role of law enforcement are discussed, there is no mention in the report
of increased prescription-drug use by juveniles.

Dewey Carroll of the Clinical and Forensic Psychology Department at
the University of Virginia participated in a threat-assessment conference
last year during which he was asked if, based on the correlation between
psychotropic drugs and the school shooters, this information should be made
public. Carroll argued that there was no correlation. Six out of 12 [school
shooters] being on psychotropic drugs is not a correlation, it is an
observation, he said.

A correlation, explained Carroll, would be taking a sample of children
on medication and those not on medication and then making the comparison.
There are a lot of kids who take these medications who do not commit
violence. If you want to look at people that have risk factors, you have to
do scientific studies.

Few professionals who are familiar with the data would argue with that
criticism, but one may question how such a study can be conducted, as
suggested by Carroll, if the information about whether a student is on
prescribed mind-altering drugs is regarded as a state secret. And, even when
such information is made available for study, it appears that little use is
made of it.

Take, for instance, the Secret Service, which in collaboration with the
U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Justice last year
produced a report on how to prevent school violence. The Interim Report on
the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools was made public in October
2000, involving systematic analysis of investigative, judicial, educational
and other files and interviews with 10 school shooters.

Although researchers reviewed primary-source materials such as
investigative, school, court and mental-health records and conducted
supplemental interviews with 10 of the attackers, no mention was made in the
report about prescription medications of the kind that Insight has collected.
Nor did the Secret Service respond to Insights questions about why that issue
was not addressed at the conference or made part of the report.

Despite the fact that two federal law-enforcement agencies had the
opportunity to view the personal files of many of the school shooters,
important medical data gleaned from those files apparently was ignored. This
has caused many interested in this issue to wonder, like San Diegos public
defender, when the public has the right to know such information.

Not surprisingly, while every professional interviewed for this article
expressed concern about the privacy rights of children, there also was
concern about the use of mind-altering prescription drugs. Most are beginning
to wonder at what point communities into which disturbed children are sent
while on psychotropic drugs should be alerted to a potential problem.

JoAnne McDaniels, acting director for the Center for the Prevention of
School Violence, an organization focusing on keeping schools safe and secure,
tells Insight, There is concern on the part of some in the education
community that we are overmedicating our youngsters that it is easier to
drug them into appropriate behavior.

It is important to recognize that the schools today have children that
are being medicated in ways that children were not years ago. We shouldnt be
too quick to isolate psychotropic drugs as a causal factor, but it is an
important factor in trying to understand what is taking place. In a general
sense, in a school population, parents should be able to see this
information, McDaniels says. If a parent moves to a community and wants to
know the numbers of children who are on these drugs, making such numbers
available would not necessarily violate confidentiality of children. I think
as long as the information is not individualized it should be information a
principal is comfortable providing. It may force the principal to explain how
the school handles the entire violence issue and the use of medication to
control behavior in the school. Its reasonable for a school to share that
information and a parent to ask for it. Its part of the school community and
part of the schools fabric.

The message, concludes McDaniels, is that we need to develop
youngsters without stimulants and other foreign substances. Too often we are
opting for a way of treatment that is a lot easier to implement than sitting
down and working out the problems. This is a public-health issue and it seems
reasonable to look at it.

James E. Copple is vice president of the National Crime Prevention
Council, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating safer communities
by addressing the causes of crime and violence and reducing the opportunities
for crime to occur. He is a former principal and superintendent of schools in
Wichita, Kan., and sees the merits of both sides of the issue. I tend to lean
on the side of doing everything possible to protect the students right to
privacy, he says, but when they commit an act of violence all the factors
involved in the crime including medications need to be known by that
community.

As Copple sees it, Communities need to know if large numbers of
children are on psychotropic medications. It is increasingly being talked
about by educators, and it has put schools in the position of creating mini
health clinics for drug management on top of having to teach the children and
all the other responsibilities. Why all of a sudden do we have to be a
pharmacy? Principals are forced to choose between hiring another much-needed
teacher or another nurse to dispense drugs.

The executive director of the National School Safety Center, Ronald
Stephens, isnt convinced that releasing information about the number of
students being prescribed mind-altering drugs necessarily is a violation of a
childs rights. Its legal and its become common practice to search lockers
whenever the student is involved in an incident, and there are some states
now mandating that teachers be given information about the reasons behind a
student who is returned to school on probation. Its the thought that if youre
going to put Charlie Manson in my class I have a right to know that.

According to Stephens, We tend to get what we measure. But if we dont
ask were not going to get real answers. We have kids so medicated its
incredible. I dont see parents asking the question about the numbers of
children on psychotropic drugs as being all that invasive. The public would
be shocked at the number of file drawers of prescription drugs that teachers
are asked to dispense. Stephens says he thinks it would be a great study for
someone to go back and see how many of the kids who committed these violent
acts were on these drugs. The community should know who is taking them, and I
think teachers will want to know which kids are on these drugs. Knowing what
I know about school violence, I would support having that information shared.
Of course, there will be a huge outcry that someones rights are being
violated, but at what point do they lose those rights?

That is of course the question, and with 6 million to 8 million
children already taking Ritalin, and unknown millions being prescribed the
much stronger mind-altering SSRIs, many are starting to ask it.

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4/07/2001 – Insight Mag – Misleading Medicine

Once again Kelly O’Meara has written an incredible article. This time the
subject is the absurdity of the PMDD diagnosis and the prescribing of Prozac
repacked and renamed as “Sarafem” for that “disorder.” We have included the
first several paragraphs for you and encourage you to go to the Insight
Magazine sight to read the rest.

The article gives much insight into the lengths to which Lilly will go to
cover up the fact that Prozac and Sarafem are one in the same drug.
Apparently as long as they do not admit it publicly it is not reality?

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
http://insightmag.com/archive/200104301.shtml

InsightMag.com
——————————————————————————
Misleading Medicine
——————————————————————————
By Kelly Patricia OMeara
komeara@…
——————————————————————————

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is promoting Sarafem as a miracle pill for
women suffering from PMDD, a mental disorder not yet proved to exist.
Whats more, Eli Lilly admits that Sarafem has the same active ingredient as
Prozac, complete with the same dangerous side effects.

Australian-born singer Helen Reddys 1972 hit song I Am Woman has been
called a feminist battle hymn. Many a male disc jockey at the time refused to
air it until the song became part of the soundtrack to a movie and catapulted
to the top of the Billboard charts. Taking a look at the song today, its
hard to imagine the furor generated by the lyrics from the lady down under:
Oh, yes, I am wise, but its wisdom born of pain.
Yes, Ive paid the price, but look how much I gained.
If I have to I can do anything.
I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.
Nearly three decades since the release of this feminist anthem the
lyrics neither threaten nor offend if they ever did but seem to
acknowledge pride in feminine strength. As if it needed to be said,
historians agree on the significance of women in the building of this nation.
The Jamestown settlement, for instance, was a disaster and on the brink of
failure until women were added to the new colony. The West was won by men and
women working side by side, and the United States triumphed over its enemies
in World War II with the help of nearly 500,000 women in the ranks and
millions more in the factories.
Not surprisingly, women achieved these feats completely unaware that a
few days out of each month they were suffering from a mental disorder. Thats
right. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of
Sarafem (fluoxetine) for women suffering from a mental disorder just three or
four days a month in the luteal phase or just before the onset of
menses.
This mental disorder which the American Psychiatric Association
(APA) has not yet accepted, but which is listed in the appendix of the APAs
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) is called
premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. Its a new-and-improved version of
premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which also has not made it to the hit parade of
the official APA list of mental illnesses. The fact that PMDD is listed only
in the diagnostic manuals appendix reflects the APAs desire for further
research before accepting it as a full-fledged mental disorder.
According to the DSM-IV and the FDA, a woman must experience five or
more symptoms before the diagnosis can be made. The unofficial mental
disorder is said to be characterized by the following symptoms:

Markedly depressed mood

Marked anxiety

Marked affectivity

Decreased interest in activities

Feeling sad, hopeless or self-deprecating

Feeling tense, anxious or on edge

Persistent irritability, anger and increased interpersonal conflicts

Feeling fatigued, lethargic or lacking in energy

Marked changes in appetite

A subjective feeling of being overwhelmed or out of control

Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, swelling or bloating.

Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company that
makes Sarafem, has been marketing the new treatment with such gusto that
there are jokes about the company exhibiting obsessive-compulsive disorder.
It seems there isnt a magazine to be picked up or a channel to be surfed
that isnt running a Sarafem advertisement.
These ads show women expressing many things. One TV spot depicts a
woman trying to button her slacks and looking angry and agitated. Another
scene shows a woman snapping at her husband, Just leave me alone, while
still another involves a woman slumped on the couch sobbing. Then there is
the slogan: Sarafem More like the woman you are.
Lilly reports in its ads that now, Doctors can treat PMDD with
Sarafem the first and only prescription medication for PMDD. The ad
further states that, Sarafem contains fluoxetine hydrochloride, the same
active ingredient found in Prozac. But both Sarafem and Prozac are
fluoxetine hydrochloride. According to Laura Miller, marketing associate for
Eli Lilly, Fluoxetine hydrochloride is the same active ingredient in Sarafem
as in Prozac. Again and again Insight asked, Then is it the same thing?
Again and again Miller only repeated that the two identical doses of
fluoxetine hydrochloride have the same active ingredient.
Miller refused to acknowledge that Sarafem is just Prozac repackaged,
or that the pill color was changed from green to feminine pink and lavender
to market it for a not-yet-approved mental disorder that never before
existed. The Lilly representative did say the difference in the treatments is
in how women react to the drug.
Never mind that all this dramatic hype, supported by millions of
dollars in marketing, has occurred just before Lilly loses its exclusivity on
Prozac in August. . . . to finish article go to:

http://insightmag.com/archive/200104301.shtml

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02/15/2001 – Writing May Be on Wall for Ritalin

Once again I must apologize for sending so much info at once over the next
couple of days. I have been traveling again as I work to educate more and
more areas of the country about these drugs and the articles that I have
needed to get out to you have backed up yet again.

The following is an incredible article once again written by Kelly O’Meara of
Insight Magazine. Kelly has published several very informative articles over
the last year or so educating the public about the drugging of our children.

We will work to keep you updated on all the latest on this class action suit
filed against Ritalin by the attorneys that took on the tobacco giants and
won.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

http://www.insightmag.com/archive/200010163.shtml
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10/16/2000

Writing May Be on Wall for Ritalin
——————————————————————–
By Kelly Patricia O’Meara
omeara@…
——————————————————————–

A lawsuit challenging the validity of the science behind mental
illness and psychotropic drugs will have repercussions for drug makers as
well as for the mental-health establishment.

Hardly a mention was made in the national media concerning the
class-action lawsuit filed in May by the Dallas law firm of Waters and Kraus.
It named the Novartis Pharmaceutical Co. (the maker of the drug Ritalin), the
American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Children and Adults with Attention
Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as defendants for conspiring, colluding and
cooperating in promoting the diagnosis of attention-deficit disorder (ADD)
and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Last week, however, a second lawsuit made a bang when even
bigger guns were rolled out in California and New Jersey to take aim at an
industry that has enjoyed a special relationship with the Clinton/Gore
administration. Indeed it is a relationship which, based on numerous speeches
by the vice president and his wife – who has been the president’s White House
mental-health guru – would continue if Al and Tipper Gore are allowed to make
the White House their new residence on Inauguration Day.

And if the beating the tobacco industry took at the hands
of these attorneys is any indication of what the defendants should
anticipate, the psychiatric community, pharmaceutical industry and
mental-health advocacy groups finally may be called upon to put their science
where their mouths are. Putting aside the legal jargon, what appears to be in
question is the ever-increasing influence of pharmaceutical companies over
public and private mental-health organizations and, ultimately, whether that
influence is responsible for the growing number of “mental illnesses” and the
subsequent increased use of psychotropic drugs.

The class-action lawsuit that was filed last week in
California and New Jersey names Novartis and the APA as defendants for
conspiring to create a market for Ritalin by targeting millions of children
and misdiagnosing them with ADD/ADHD for the strategic purpose of expanding
use of the drug.

Both the APA and Novartis have a great deal at stake
professionally and financially. To fight the claim that children have been
and still are being misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the APA – the nation’s
leading psychiatric professional group – will be required to cough up its
medical and scientific data to support the ADD/ADHD diagnosis. This may be
difficult given the growing number of physicians, scientists and even
psychiatrists who long have argued that the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is not
based in science – that the diagnosis is a fraud based on subjective
assessments.

Furthermore, should the APA fail to provide the necessary
scientific data, Novartis could be forced by the courts to return to
consumers hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars made from the
sale of Ritalin. Even more devastating to Novartis, should it be exposed that
the diagnosis of ADD/ ADHD is scientifically baseless, would be an end to the
prescribing of the drug. This type of judgment could open the industry to
additional lawsuits requiring proof of thousands of alleged mental illnesses.
The reverberations through the pharmaceutical industry could be devastating.

Considering that Ritalin has been in use since the
mid-1950s, one has to wonder how tens of millions of children and adults
could be prescribed a highly addictive drug for more than 40 years without
concrete scientific data to support the diagnosis. According to psychiatrist
Loren Mosher, it isn’t that tough. Mosher is the former chief of the Center
for Studies for Schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health
(NIMH) and author of the definitive book Community Mental Health, A Practical
Guide. Mosher explains that the Ritalin phenomenon comes down to a very
simple theory: “If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.” Long
aware of infiltration by the pharmaceutical companies into professional
psychiatric organizations, Mosher resigned his membership in the APA with a
stinging 1998 letter in which he wrote:

“The major reason for this action is my belief that I am
actually resigning from the American Psychopharmacological Association.
Luckily, the organization’s true identity requires no change in the acronym.
. At this point in history, in my view, psychiatry has been almost completely
bought out by the drug companies.”

According to Mosher, “The APA receives a huge amount of
money from the pharmaceutical companies through grants, but the most obvious
and obnoxious examples are the two meetings the APA has each year. At both,
the drug houses basically lease 90 percent of the exhibition space and spend
huge sums in giveaway items. They have nearly completely squeezed out the
little guys, and the symposiums that once were dedicated to scientific
reports now have been replaced by the pharmaceutical-industry-sponsored
speakers.”

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI),
explains Mosher, “gets the pharmaceutical money and then says they spend it
on their ‘anti-stigma’ campaign. They say that mental illness is a brain
disease. And it works well for the people who suffer from this to use their
drugs. This is why NAMI is pushing for forced medication. It is an amazing
selling job on the part of NAMI.”

A nonprofit, grass-roots, self-help support and advocacy
organization for people with severe mental illness, NAMI was featured in a
November/ December 1999 Mother Jones article, “An Influential Mental Health
Nonprofit Finds Its ‘Grassroots’ Watered by Pharmaceutical Millions,” by Ken
Silverstein. The article focused on the enormous amount of funding which NAMI
receives from pharmaceutical companies, with Eli Lilly and Co. taking the
lead by donating nearly $3 million to NAMI between 1996 and 1999. In fact,
according to Silverstein, NAMI took in a little more than $11 million from 18
drug companies for that period. Nonetheless, NAMI, Eli Lilly and the others
deny any conflict of interest.

While Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, admits making
substantial contributions to NAMI and the National Mental Health Association
(NMHA), it claims that for “proprietary reasons” it is unable to provide a
list of specific contributions. According to Jeff Newton and Blair Austin,
spokesmen for the company, “The key issue here is that these are unrestricted
grants. The groups can use the money any way they want. Lilly’s support of
these initiatives presents no conflict of interest since they represent
efforts to raise public awareness around issues that Lilly publicly
supports.”

According to Bob Carolla, director of Media Relations for
NAMI, “We represent a constituency that uses their [pharmaceutical] products.
Why shouldn’t they give us money? They’re making money off of our members and
some of it has to go back into the community to help us get better
mental-health programs to help people. Much of what we do has nothing to do
with the pharmaceutical industry. We do not advocate or endorse any specific
medications or products, but we also are not going to back off from saying
that millions of Americans lead productive lives because of the medications
they are prescribed.”

Meanwhile, NAMI has no problem stating that “mental
illnesses are disorders of the brain.” In fact, according to Carolla, NAMI
“has been trying to educate people that mental illnesses are a result of
brain disorders and they are treatable. Stigmas still exist and stigmas need
to be overcome.” Asked to provide scientific data that mental illness is a
disease of the brain, Carolla deferred to a higher authority explaining that
“this [question] reminds me that one small interest group denies that mental
illness even exists.”

Carolla added, “Mental illnesses are biological brain
disorders. Go read the dominant body of medical information out there. It is
a function of biochemistry. I encourage you and recommend you talk to the
surgeon-general’s office.”
Carolla was referring to the Report on Mental Health
released by the U.S. surgeon general in December 1999, which he says “stands
as the national baseline.” This enormous document goes into great detail
about mental health in the United States. But it does not provide a single
piece of scientific data supporting the claim that even one mental illness is
caused by a brain disease. In fact, what it says is “the body of this report
is a summary of an extensive review of the scientific literature, and of
consultations with mental-health-care providers and consumers. Contributors
guided by the Office of the Surgeon General examined more than 3,000 research
articles and other materials. .”

According to the report, “The review of research supports
two main findings: 1) the efficacy of mental-health treatments is well
documented, and 2) a range of treatments exists for most mental disorders.”

Voilà! The review of research came up with findings about
treatments, not with scientific causes of mental disorders. And there even
appears to be some question about the validity of the treatments.

The surgeon general nonetheless places Ritalin in a
category where the “efficacy of mental-health treatments is well-documented,”
when in Chapter 3 of his report he writes that “because the symptoms of ADHD
respond well to treatment with stimulants,” and because stimulants increase
the availability of the neurotransmitter dopa-mine, the “dopamine hypothesis”
has “gained a wide following.”

The surgeon general may want to review the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 1995 report on methylphenidate, which
makes clear that Ritalin has the same effect on children and adults with ADHD
as it does upon those not diagnosed with ADHD. According to the report:

“There is a considerable body of literature on the
short-term efficacy of stimulant pharmacotherapy on the symptoms of ADHD.
From 60 to 90 percent of children have been judged as positive drug
responders to methyl-phenidate medication. However, contrary to popular
belief, stimulants like methylphenidate will affect normal children and
adults in the same manner they affect ADHD children. Behavioral or
attentional improvements with methylphenidate treatment therefore are not
diagnostic criteria of ADHD.”

NAMI, however, is not the only group apparently being
misled by the surgeon general’s report. Take, for instance, the Mental Health
Early Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention Act (S2639), a broad piece of
federal mental-health legislation sponsored by Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.,
Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. According to one staffer
familiar with the legislation, Domenici’s staff took the lead in writing it.
The first of Congress’ “findings” states that “almost 3 percent of the adult
population, or 5 million individuals in the United States, suffer from a
severe and persistent mental illness.” When asked where Domenici got these
figures, the same source explained that “the numbers come from various
federal agencies, various studies that have been conducted and the surgeon
general’s report. The senator takes into consideration that there are those
who argue there is no such thing as a medically diagnosable mental illness
but, when someone like Dr. Steven Hyman [director of NIMH] shows a brain with
schizophrenia and one without, then the senator takes it seriously. Hyman is
well-respected.”

While it appears that Hyman’s “brain” slide show has wowed
a great many people, the fact is that even Hyman has contradicted his own
presentation. For instance, as Hyman explained in a Feb. 28, 1999, New York
Times Magazine article, “indiscriminate use of MRI and PET scans . as a
high-tech form of phrenology . are pretty but inconsequential pictures of the
brain.” While Domenici may place a great deal of trust in the “science”
presented by doctors such as Hyman, he also has a more personal interest much
closer to home: His wife served on NAMI’s board for nearly three years.
Domenici’s office did not respond to inquiries about whether the senator had
received campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies.

NAMI’s Carolla openly admits that NAMI worked with the
sponsors of the legislation, and one doesn’t have to look too hard to see the
similarities between the Senate bill and NAMI’s proposed Omnibus Mental
Illness Recovery Act, which Eli Lilly paid to print.

NAMI fully supports the Senate bill, which features such
programs and expenditures as Section 581 in which $75 million would be
appropriated to fund an anti-stigma advertising campaign – which many argue
is a promotion for the pharmaceutical industry and should not be funded with
taxpayer dollars. In question also is why taxpayers should be burdened with
funding an anti-stigma campaign which many believe was created by the
mental-health community when it first began labeling individuals as
defective.

Section 582 would provide $50 million in training grants
for teachers and emergency-services personnel to recognize (read: diagnose)
symptoms of childhood and adolescent mental disorders. This would allow
service personnel such as firefighters, police officers and teachers to make
referrals for mental-health treatment – a difficult task given that each of
these categories of personnel appears to have its hands full with jobs for
which they already are trained.

Section 583 would provide another $50 million for
emergency mental-health centers within which mobile crisis-intervention teams
would be established. This would allow for the designation of a central
receiving point in the community for individuals who may be cited by, say, a
firefighter, to be in need of emergency mental-health services. And this is
just the beginning of the programs proposed under the Mental Health Early
Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention Act, now pending in Congress.

Larry Sasich, a pharmacologist who handles Food and Drug
Administration drug-safety issues for the Washington-based Public Citizen’s
Health Research Group, tells Insight that “conflicts of interest are kind of
a fact of life in the scientific community. At some point groups like NAMI
are going to have to pay the piper – they’re going to have to answer for what
they are promoting. But it’s hard to tell how much influence the
pharmaceutical companies have. It could be subtle or overt influence
depending on what they want.”

One thing that is certain, concludes Sasich: “The group that is
paying the money wields the big stick.”

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5/23/2000 Insight Magazine – “A Hill and Tip Trip”

I hope you have all had the chance to read “The Next Generation Medical
Guinea Pigs–Our Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil Babies” (located near the bottom of
the page at http://drugawareness.org/200000.html). I wrote this article for
the two major Salt Lake newspapers and it was published the summer of 1998.
It will give you the background information you need to understand before
reading Kelly O’Meara’s excellent article from Insight Magazine which follows
below. You will see clearly that the plan put into place then to get these
drugs approved for small children is coming to fruition now.

How can we stand by and allow $5 million of OUR tax dollars to go toward the
damaging of preschool children with these drugs?! And how can we allow an
additional $70 million to go toward producing even more citizens on
disability due to the adverse effects of these drugs – citizens who we will
then have to support for the rest of their lives with even more tax dollars?
And then there are all of those who we will support while they serve time in
prison for the crimes they committed while under the influence of the drugs,
not to mention all of those lives lost – productive creative individuals who
could have contributed to make our society even greater. Our allowing this to
happen makes us all accomplices to this terrible national tragedy because it
could not happen without our money and our consent. We must all do all in our
power to educate those around us and alert our government officials that we
do not want this to continue.

And thank you Kelly and Insight Magazine for your hard work in bringing these
issues to the attention of the public!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org
__________________________________________
http://www.insightmag.com/archive/200006120.shtml

A Hill and Tip Trip
By Kelly Patricia O’Meara
omeara@…

Insight Magazine

This Clinton-Gore team advocates identifying schoolchildren as mentally ill
and requiring them to take psychotropic drugs to control any inattentive
behavior.

I think that part of what we’ve got, though, is to reflect how we can both
identify and get help to children who need it, whether or not they want it or
are willing to accept it,” declared first lady and wanna-be junior senator
from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The first lady’s comment, put in the
context of how to deal with tragedies such as the shooting at Col-umbine High
School in Littleton, Colo., was delivered to a standing-room-only crowd at
the June 7, 1999, White House Conference on Mental Health. She was directly
advocating the forced drugging of schoolchildren with psychotropic drugs such
as Ritalin.

The first lady, however, was not alone in advocating this chilling agenda for
dealing with schoolhouse behavioral problems. During the conference that
critics dubbed a cheerleading session for the pharmaceutical industry, the
president’s top mental-health adviser and candidate for first lady, Tipper
Gore, joined in leading the psychopharmacological charge. In fact, nodding to
Tipper, President Clinton told the mesmerized crowd: “She knows more and
cares more about this issue than anyone else I personally know.”

The vice president’s wife “knows more” about this issue? Beyond earning a
masters’ degree in psychology more than 20 years ago and having been treated
for depression, say critics, Gore’s knowledge of mental illness is limited at
best and misinformed at worst. For example, Gore displayed some of her
knowledge on this subject during the president’s weekly radio address to the
nation just before the White House conference when she announced that
Americans must change their attitudes and “dispel the myths about mental
illness once and for all.” She said, “One of the most widely believed, and
most damaging, myths is that mental illness is a personal failure, not a
physical disease … and we are learning that many mental disorders are
biological in nature and can be medically treated.”

Members of the opposing team, which include a growing number of
well-respected physicians who have spent their lives resisting subjective
diagnoses of mental illnesses, are astonished by such pronouncements. They
tell Insight they would jump at the opportunity to present their contrary
data from such a highly visible platform as the well-publicized Clinton-Gore
White House conference but were not invited to offer opposing research.
Instead, the spotlight was given to Steven Hyman, director of the National
Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH.

Hyman pulled a slide show out of his black bag and wowed the star-struck
crowd with his evidence that, indeed, mental illness is a “real disorder of
the brain.” To prove his point, Hyman said, “I brought a few pictures”
because “I think pictures are worth an awful lot. I just want to show you a
picture that is somewhat alarming. What we see here on the left is a healthy
person with a normal brain, and then on the right, someone who has had severe
depression for a long time. What you see outlined in red at the bottom is
that a key structure acquired from memory actually gets smaller. It
deteriorates if depression is not treated.”

Apparently caught up in the frenzy of breakthrough medical “proof” of mental
illness, the audience broke into enthusiastic applause.

Hyman’s slide show was nothing if not deeply flawed, the most basic omission
being a failure to present the case history of the subject shown in the
slides. For instance, during Hyman’s show not once did he mention whether the
patient on the right, who “had severe depression” and whose slide showed “red
at the bottom” had been given psychotropic drugs for any length of time prior
to capturing the brain on film. In fact, if this were the case, critics tell
Insight, the right-brain slides, rather than being reflective of a
scientific breakthrough supporting the premise that the depression caused the
mental illness, would support arguments made by opponents that the change in
the brain in fact was caused by prescribed psychotropic medication.

To psychiatrist Peter Breggin, founder and international director of the
Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (www.Breggin.com), or
ICSPP, a Maryland-based research and educational network, and author of a
dozen books, including Talking Back to Ritalin, Talking Back to Prozac and
Reclaiming Our Children, Hyman’s slide show was just that — a show.
“Physicians and researchers like Hyman are guilty of the PET-scan scam,” says
Breggin. “They compare the brains of people who are diagnosed with something
like Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, or depression with
people who don’t have these diagnoses. They then claim to the gullible
audience that there is a discernible difference in the brains.” According to
Breggin, “There is no known difference in the brains of any patient with a
psychiatric diagnosis, nor is there any difference with the mythical
biochemical imbalance. In fact, we have no instrument for even measuring such
an imbalance. When there are differences in brain scans between two
individuals they sometimes are caused by psychiatric-drug use and other times
represent normal variation. No reputable physician would ever claim to be
able to diagnose a psychiatric problem from a brain scan.”

Harold Koplewicz, the vice-chairman of the department of psychiatry at the
New York University Medical Center, an invited guest speaker at the White
House conference, even went beyond the contention that mental illnesses are
brain disorders. Koplewicz said, “Essentially, these diseases are no-fault
brain disorders. They are familial, they run in families and they have
predictable onset and course.” The doctor presented no data to support such
interesting remarks but “essentially” waived any personal responsibility or
validation that such life experiences as mental distress or anxiousness might
be normal.

Since such problems are physical, and beyond personal control or remedy,
Koplewicz reasons, tragedies such as what occurred in Littleton are “most
probably preventable” as a matter of public health. “Normal children,” he
continued, “just don’t snap and go out on a shooting spree. Children who
commit violent crimes almost always have histories of violence, depression or
other mental-health problems. The problem is we have never really looked at
the underlying cause of all this violence — which is childhood psychiatric
illness.”

So what was going on there? Apparently “looking at all the possible
underlying causes” of school-age violence — the announced reason for the
Hillary-Tipper conference — was not on the agenda. Making a statement about
the 6 million children being “treated” for ADHD with highly addictive
stimulants, including Ritalin, did not fit that bill. Nor did even one of the
distinguished speakers raise the issue first reported last year by Insight
[see “Guns & Doses,” June 28, 1999], faxed to the White House before the
conference, revealing the dramatic connection between the then five most
recent school shootings: All the accused shooters had been treated with
psychotropic drugs, including Ritalin, Luvox and Prozac.

It would not be long before the New York Times, the Washington Post and
national weekly newsmagazines were following Insight’s lead, but when the
Hillary-Tipper team had the chance to recognize the problem quickly and in
prime time they demurred.

The controversy surrounding the use of psychotropic drugs on children began
after the diagnosis for ADD/ADHD was voted into the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IIIR, in 1987. The
prescription of Ritalin (methyl-phenidate), a highly addictive stimulant
categorized as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA,
skyrocketed from less than a quarter of a million in 1986 to 6 million today.
Certainly it is unlikely that Clinton-Gore psychiatric spokesmen Hyman and
Koplewicz were unaware that Ritalin is pharmacologically similar to cocaine
in its pattern of abuse, given that red flags were raised years ago by the
World Health Organization, or WHO, the DEA and even the Archives of General
Psychiatry.

Within the year since Insight began reporting on this issue, not only are
many mental-health experts questioning the overuse of psychotropic drugs on
children but also the validity of the latest Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-IV, as it continues to broaden the circle
of mental illness to in-clude practically every child, with the implication
that pharmacology offers a quick solution. For example, in the January 2000
issue of Clinical Psychiatry News, respondents were asked to evaluate the
psychiatric diagnoses presented in the DSM-IV. The result was dramatic. “The
DSM-IV has gone too far. There are too many diagnoses without any objective
basis or biological support,” said Houston psychiatrist Theodore Pearlman.
“There has never been any criterion that psychiatric diagnoses require a
demonstrated biological etiology,” said Harold Pincus, vice chairman of the
DSM-IV task force.

To indicate how far from reality are the advocates of passing out pills in
the schools, it is noteworthy that Hyman apparently was not even
communicating with his colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics, or
AAP. All of the new AAP guidelines for diagnosing ADHD, like those listed in
the DSM-IV — for example, exhibiting behaviors such as not listening when
spoken to directly, failing to follow directions, losing things, being
forgetful and easily distracted and fidgeting with hands or feet — are
subjective observations on the part of the treating physician. However, after
listing the new guidelines, the AAP concludes that “other diagnostic tests,
sometimes considered positive indicators for ADHD, have been reviewed and
considered not effective [emphasis added]. These tests include lead
screening, tests for generalized resistance to thyroid hormone, and brain
image studies [emphasis added].”

In other words, the dog-and-pony show that Hyman put on for the first and
second ladies was not based in science, and the AAP is just another in a long
list of experts to refute such fraudulent claims. Hyman also was
contradicting his own remarks made earlier in a New York Times article when
he said, “Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRIs, produce scientifically
meaningless pretty pictures which are essentially reminiscent of phrenology.
Who knows where or when the much-sought answers will emerge?”

While it is insulting to many physicians who are aware of the fraud that is
being perpetrated in the name of treating mental illness for men in positions
of extreme power to continue to push the strict pharmacological line, this
has been endemic in the Clinton-Gore administration. David Satcher, the U.S.
surgeon general, is a case in point.

Fred Baughman, a pediatric neurologist dedicated to exposing fraudulent
medical diagnoses of mental illnesses, took the surgeon general to task for
what Baughman called Satcher’s “attempt to represent mental disorders as
actual diseases.” In response to a first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on
Mental Illness, made public in December 1999, just months after the Columbine
shooting tragedy, Baughman wrote to the nation’s top medicine man asking,
“Why have you chosen to be the first-ever Surgeon General to issue a report
on mental health? As I have shown, it has little or nothing to do with
medical science, bona fide diseases or epidemics. Have other factors
motivated you? You might have addressed the biggest, most heinous epidemic of
all, that of mandating Ritalin and other addictive, dangerous, even deadly
amphetamines for 5-6 million entirely normal American children, as
‘treatment’ for the wholly fraudulent psychiatric ‘disease’ ADHD.”

Baughman concluded his letter: “Your role in this deception and victimization
is clear. Whether you are a physician so unscientific that you cannot read
their contrived ‘neurobiologic’ literature and see the fraud, or whether you
see it and choose to be an accomplice — you should resign.”

Loren Mosher, a psychiatrist and 30-year member of the American Psychiatric
Association, or APA, resigned from the organization over the blatant
infiltration of pharmaceutical money now permeating the organization and
concurs with Baughman about the surgeon general’s mental health report.
Mosher tells Insight that “the report is a joke.” He says, “There are no
tests for these so-called mental diagnoses. You can’t do that with
psychiatric diagnoses.”

Regardless of the continual stream of articles from reputable physicians
contradicting the biochemical advocacy being pushed by the administration,
Satcher, Hyman and Koplewicz have been elevated in stature and now are
considered foremost authorities on psychiatric public health, greatly due to
the platform provided by the nation’s first and second ladies. Now the first
lady has announced a $5 million research grant for Hyman’s NIMH to study the
effects of psychotropic drugs on children under the age of 7.

“Hillary is promoting young children to take psychiatric drugs,” says
Breggin. “This is the most extreme Big Brother, Nineteen Eighty-Four kind of
national policy. It has empowered NIMH to do something that they never would
have done — that is to spend $5 million on clinical trials involving hundreds
of preschool children. In the past, NIMH would have been afraid of doing such
dangerous, unethical and unscientific research. The repercussions are going
to be worse because this will now encourage the Food and Drug Administration,
or FDA, to accept similar clinical trials done on very young children with
Ritalin of a sort that have shown disastrous effects leading to the
discontinuation of use in most cases.”

For David Oaks, coordinator of Support Coalition International, an
Oregon-based organization representing 80 groups working for mental-health
rights, the first lady’s research announcement was a warning shot over the
bow. Oaks is alarmed by what he considers the push to medicate. “There is no
safety anywhere,” he tells Insight. “The forced administration of drugs is
definitely going up. Nearly 40 states have laws where they have
forced-drugging in your own home. Out of the White House conference came the
endorsement of the Program of Assertive Community Treatment, or PACT. That’s
the teeth of the outpatient forced-drugging: at-home drug delivery, where
they will come to your home every day if necessary for medication compliance.
Drugging is the be-all and end-all.”

Not everyone is buying the Clinton administration line. In mid-May a
class-action lawsuit was filed in Dallas for alleged fraud and conspiracy in
overpromoting the stimulant medication Ritalin. Three national defendants are
named: Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. (formerly Ciba Geigy), the manufacturer
of Ritalin; CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder), a parent’s organization that is partially funded by drug
companies; and the APA. Among the allegations: The drug company
“deliberately, intentionally, and negligently promoted the diagnosis of
ADD/ADHD and sales of Ritalin through its promotional literature.” The
lawsuit also charges the drug company with “actively supporting groups such
as Defendant CHADD, both financially and with other means, so that such
organizations would promote and support the ever- increasing implementation
of the ADD/ADHD diagnosis as well as directly increasing Ritalin sales.” And
the lawsuit further claims that “Defendant American Psychiatric Association
conspired, colluded and cooperated with the other Defendants” while taking
“financial contributions from Ciba Geigy as well as other members of the
pharmaceutical industry.”

Andy Waters of the Dallas law firm of Waters and Kraus, www.RitalinFraud.com,
is lead attorney for the plaintiffs. He tells Insight that “the nature of the
lawsuit is for consumer fraud. The legal concept is the unholy alliance of
the psychiatrists, manufacturers and parents groups that have combined to
create a diagnosis that didn’t exist and create and accelerate an enormous
market for Ritalin. My sincere hope is that 60 to 90 days from now we’ll have
a judge ordering the defendants to release information. I think we will find
that Novartis was involved in the making of the diagnosis — it’s just too
close a connection to rule it out.”

Meanwhile, a growing number of members of state boards of education, state
legislatures and the U.S. Congress have been taking action to stop the tidal
wave of psychotropic drugs being prescribed for children under the guise of
public health. New York, New Jersey, Idaho, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Georgia,
Colorado, Arizona and Pennsylvania have passed or have legislation pending
that confronts the issue of widespread prescription of psychotropic drugs to
school-age children. Legislative topics include examining the impact of
psychotropic drugs, prohibiting school personnel from recommending or
discussing medications for schoolchildren, requiring pharmacists to disclose
the potentially addictive nature of psychotropic drugs and preventing any
school official from requiring that children be placed on psychotropic drugs
as a condition for remaining in school.

Back at the White House conference, however, the solution to the violence
confronting America’s youth —the Hillary-Tipper answer to the
psychotropic-drug epidemic — was more drugging. In fact, the first and second
ladies exercised all their mental-health resources to try to convince the
nation that mental illnesses are “real illnesses of the brain” and “should be
treated the same as physical illness.” This would mean, of course, that
public-health authorities should have the right to examine every American
child for mental illness as a matter of public health — and diagnose and
treat them pharmacologically in whatever way they choose.

Regardless of the fact that there simply are no data to support such claims,
the president praised his wife and mental-health guru — the person “who knows
more and cares more,” Mrs. Gore, for the “truly remarkable experience.” The
White House conference was, to the president, “stimulating, moving and
humbling,” because “it’s so real.”

Then, under the guise of exercising presidential authority, Clinton
in-structed the nation’s largest private insurer, the Federal Employee Health
Benefit Plan, to provide full parity for mental and physical health. He
directed the Health Care Finance Administration to encourage states to better
coordinate mental-health services, and he called for medication targeted at
people with the most serious mental disorders who rely on Medicaid. And, to
wind up his mental-health giveaway, the president announced that he had
requested the largest increase in history — some $70 million — “to help
provide more mental-health services.”

Tipper Gore did not respond to questions Insight faxed to her office and
Hillary Clinton’s communications director refused Insight’s request for an
interview, saying, “We’re going to pass on providing comments to your
questions.” So one only can imagine the kind of mental-health programs those
ladies will be working for should Hillary be elected to the Senate and Tipper
take over as first lady. As for the need to profile, diagnose and dope
America’s schoolchildren to assure their mental health, well, the
Clinton-Gore psychiatrists have proved how much children “need” it — “whether
or not they want it or are willing to accept it.”

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