The Real Lesson of Columbine: Psychiatric Drugs Induce Violence

Filmmaker Michael Moore Weighs In On Why Columbine Happened

On this 12-year anniversary of the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, let us not forget the real lesson of Columbine:  psychiatric drugs induce violence.

Shooter Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox at the time he and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.  At least one public report exists of a friend of Klebold who witnessed Klebold taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft and urged him to come off them.  Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

Luvox, Paxil and Zoloft are in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  Among the international regulatory agencies issuing warnings on these antidepressants, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in 2004 warning that “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur and overproduction of ideas] have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants.”  (For further information on international studies and warnings about antidepressants, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.)

Luvox, Paxil and other antidepressants also made the top 10 list of violence-inducing prescription drugs in a report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which was based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (see “Study Reveals Top Ten Violence-Inducing Prescription Drugs [– Eight Are Psychiatric Drugs]”).

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare, is an expert consultant in cases like Columbine in which antidepressants are involved.

Dr. Tracy says the Columbine killers’ brains were awash in serotonin, the chemical which causes violence and aggression and triggers a sleep-walking disorder in which a person literally acts out their worst nightmare.  Harris became obsessed with homicidal and suicidal thoughts “within weeks” after he began taking Zoloft, according to Dr. Tracy.  Due to his obsession with killing, Harris was switched to Luvox, which was in his system at the time of the shooting, according to his autopsy. However, the change from Zoloft to Luvox is like switching from Pepsi to Coke, Dr. Tracy said.

A growing number of school shootings and other shooting rampages were committed by individuals under the influence of, or in withdrawal from, psychiatric drugs known to cause mania, psychosis, violence and even homicide. Consider this list of 13 massacres over the past decade or so, resulting in 54 dead and 105 wounded – and these are just the ones where the psychiatric drugs are known. In other cases, medical records were sealed or autopsy reports not made public or, in some cases, toxicology tests were either not done to test for psychiatric drugs or not disclosed to the public. But this is what we do know about the mental health “treatment” of those who committed these acts of violence:

  • Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 16 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system.
  • Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Hawkins’ friend told CNN that the gunman was on antidepressants, and autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
  • Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
  • Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.
  • Blacksburg, Virginia – April 16, 2007: 23-year-old Seung Hui Cho shot to death 32 students and faculty of Virginia Tech, wounding 17 more, and then killing himself. He had received prior mental health treatment, however his mental health records remained sealed.
  • Red Lake, Minnesota – March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.
  • Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”.
  • El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School.
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
  • Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
  • Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.
  • Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.
  • Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who directed the documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” has said this, following his extensive look at the Columbine tragedy:

“In Bowling for Columbine,” we never really came up with the answer in terms of why this happened. I think we did a good job of exposing [that] all the reasons that were given were a bunch of B.S. ….And none of it really made any sense. That’s why I believe there should be an investigation in terms of what…prescribed pharmaceuticals these kids were on….

“It just would be shocking…to the millions of parents who prescribe this for their kids if it was finally explained to them, if this is the case, that this perhaps occurred for no other reason other than because of these prescriptions. “Imagine what that would do, imagine how people would totally re-think things – grasping for every little straw they can to explain why something like Columbine happens, when in fact it may be nothing more than this. How else do you explain two otherwise decent kids, very smart, no history of violence to other kids in the school – why them, why did this happen? It’s an extremely legitimate question to pose, and it demands an investigation.” (See the video clip of Michael Moore here.)

Given the growing list of shooters who were on psychiatric drugs, given the fact that 22 international drug regulatory agencies warn these drugs can cause violence, mania, psychosis, suicide and even homicide, and given the fact that a major study was just released confirming these drugs put people at greater risk of becoming violent, CCHR International asserts:  “Any recommendation for more mental health ‘treatment,’ which [inevitably] means putting more people and more kids on these [psychiatric] drugs, is not only negligent, but considering the possible repercussions, criminal.”

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, you can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.   We welcome your comments on this article below.

Ann Barbara Seig: Did The Colorado Medical Board Discipline This Psychiatrist Appropriately?

Part of the ongoing series:
You Be The Judge

Englewood, Colorado psychiatrist Ann Barbara Seig is the subject of disciplinary action by the Colorado Medical Board for unprofessional conduct. According to a Second Stipulation and Final Agency Order dated March 10, 2011 and publicly posted on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) website, psychiatrist Seig (referred to in the document as “Respondent”) did the following:

“Respondent treated patient C.H. from approximately November 2006 through April 2009. C.H. presented with panic attacks, alcohol use and a history of delirium tremens. Respondent began treatment of a previously untreated hairline fracture of C.H.’s heel with Percocet, without data to support the diagnosis. Respondent doubled C.H.’s dose of Percocet within one week. Respondent doubled patient C.H.’s dose of Percocet in the following six months, adding Vicodin to 120 mg. daily doses, and refilled prescriptions by telephone, without office visits. In August 2007, Respondent made a note in patient C.H.’s medical record that the patient was emaciated, but made no plan to evaluate. In December 2007, patient C.H. continued to prescribe narcotics, but did not make any referral to or consultation with an orthopedist or podiatrist. After Respondent surrendered her DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] registration, Respondent changed her diagnosis of patient C.H. from panic disorder to bipolar disorder, despite continued alcohol use and symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Respondent proceeded to treat patient C.H. with a combination of two antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants.”

More unprofessional conduct with other patients is also detailed in the Second Stipulation and Final Agency Order. You can read the whole document here. (If the DORA login page appears, select Division of Registrations Board/Program Action Documents, click Login, and the document will appear.)

The disciplinary actions available to the Medical Board include suspending, revoking, placing on probation or otherwise restricting, limiting or placing conditions on a medical license. They also include a letter of admonition or other letter of reprimand.

So what did the Medical Board’s Panel of Inquiry decide to do with this psychiatrist? Answer: her license remains active with conditions, including five years of probation, an education program and practice monitoring, as detailed here. (If the DORA login page appears, select Division of Registrations Board/Program Action Documents, click Login, and the document will appear.)

What do you think? Did the Medical Board act appropriately under the circumstances?

“ADHD” Just Keeps Getting Busted: Study Finds Changes In Diet Alone Calmed Two Out Of Three Antsy Kids

vegetables
Image by Junior Libby

A new study by Dutch researchers confirms what many parents have already discovered:  changes in diet can have a profoundly calming effect on a child’s behavior.  The study, reported last month in The Lancet, found that for two-thirds of the children studied, changes in diet alone led to the elimination of the fidgety behavior so profitably labeled by psychiatrists as “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,“ or ADHD.

In no uncertain terms, the study’s lead author underscores diet as the main cause of ADHD.  “After the diet [was changed], they were just normal children with normal behavior. They were no longer more easily distracted, they were no more forgetful, there were no more temper-tantrums,” Dr. Lidy Pelsser said in an interview with NPR.  About the teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study and witnessed the marked changes in behavior, she said, “In fact, they were flabbergasted.”

CCHR has long advocated giving children with behavioral problems a complete physical exam by a non-psychiatric physician, as well as a nutritional evaluation by a qualified nutritionist, to discover any underlying physical or nutritional conditions causing behavioral difficulties.  Parents should also make sure that proper instructional solutions are being applied for any behavioral problems in the classroom, since children’s disruptive behavior can result from not fully understanding, and consequently falling behind in, or not being properly challenged by, their schoolwork.

By 2007, some 5.4 million children in the U.S., or 9.5% of all children ages 4-17, had at some time been labeled with the made-up “mental disorder” known as ADHD, according to figures from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  In Colorado, 7.6% of kids got the label; in Wyoming, 9.1%.  CDC figures show that boys are more than twice as likely to be labeled with it than girls.  (See Psychiatry: Labeling Kids with Bogus Mental Disorders).

Far more disturbing than the number of kids given this harmful and bogus label is the fact that nearly 3 million of them  – some 27,000 in Colorado and 5,000 in Wyoming – have been put on powerful  stimulant drugs that endanger their lives.   Categorized as Schedule ll drugs by the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and in the same class as cocaine, opium and morphine, ADHD drugs are highly addictive.  These drugs are also known to increase heart risks more than twofold and cause heart attacks, strokes, serious arrhythmias and sudden death in children.  Because of this, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires its most stringent, “black box” warning on ADHD (methylphenidate) drugs.   The drugs are also known to cause hallucinations, convulsions, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior in children.  (For more studies and international warnings on ADD/ADHD drugs, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine, and for more information on documented side effects of psychiatric drugs in children, watch “Drugging Our Children – Side Effects”.)

For the failed practice of psychiatry, the revolving-door prescribing of these drugs for rambunctious and inattentive kids — despite the increased risks to these children – is a profitable business plan.  There are no lab tests, brain scans, or any other medical tests that can prove the existence of anything called “ADHD.”  The label is merely the subjective opinion of a psychiatric practitioner with a conflict of interest (profit motive), since he can bill Medicaid or private insurance companies for “managing” the “disorder” by writing prescriptions for years to come.

Indeed, a recent New York Times article detailed how psychiatrists now resort almost exclusively to psychiatric drugging because it is fast and profitable.   According to the article, a psychiatrist can earn $150 for three 15-minute patient visits for drug prescriptions compared with $90 for a 45-minute talk therapy session.  As one psychiatrist admitted, “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems.” No wonder a study reported several years ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that 90% of children visiting a psychiatrist for the first time left the office with one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs.

If a psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner has told you that any brain scan proves that your child has ADD or ADHD, or if your child has suffered side effects from taking any ADD/ADHD drug, or if any teacher has recommended or required that you put your child on ADHD drugs (which is illegal in Colorado: see “Protecting Your Children: Colorado Law Prohibits School Personnel From Recommending Psychiatric Drugs”), we want to talk to you.  Please contact us at 303-789-5225 or report the details of your experience here.

New Study: Antidepressants Can Cause Chronic and Worsening Depression

Researchers Suggest Discontinuing Antidepressants As The Solution

Results of a new study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics supports what CCHR has long contended: that antidepressants can cause chronic and deepening depression in adults.  Antidepressants have been suspected for some time of triggering a neurobiochemical mechanism in the brain that worsens depression.  The new study suggests tapering down or discontinuing antidepressants is the solution to chronic or worsening depression (which we emphasize should be done only under a doctor’s supervision because of the potential for dangerous physical and mental symptoms during withdrawal).   A summary of the Journal’s study can be found here.

The theory of a “chemical imbalance” in the brain has never been proven.  Even official package inserts for antidepressants say only that depression “may be caused by a chemical imbalance” (emphasis added).  Administering drugs for a “chemical imbalance” that has never been proven is like administering chemotherapy when cancer has never been confirmed.   Meanwhile, what IS being proven are the dangerous side effects of antidepressants.  For international studies and warnings on the side effects of antidepressants, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug search engine.

At the same time studies are revealing the dangerous side effects of antidepressants, studies are also showing that antidepressants are no more effective in treating depression than a placebo (sugar pill) or the natural alternatives that we call “green mental health,” as found in this report.

If you have experienced adverse side effects from antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs, we want to know about it.  Please report it to us here or call us at 303-789-5225.

Please also report adverse side effects directly to the FDA here. The FDA admits that probably only 1% of all adverse drug effects are reported by patients or doctors.  Only by reporting all adverse drug reactions will the true scale of the damage done by psychiatric drugging be known.

11-Year-Old Caught In The Crosshairs Between His Psychiatrist And Arvada Public Schools

Child Was Kept Four Days In A Psychiatric Hospital Because Of His Stick Drawings In School

An 11-year-old was arrested at his home on criminal charges for stick figures depicting violence that he had drawn in an Arvada public school, reportedly at the urging of his psychiatrist.  He was taken away in handcuffs to a psychiatric hospital 100 miles away in Colorado Springs and kept there for four days, according to his mother in an interview with Fox News.

The boy was being treated for so-called ADD (attention deficit disorder) and was told by his therapist to draw pictures in school to express his feelings instead of disrupting the class.  The boy reportedly had done so and was in the process of throwing the picture away when a teacher saw what she considered disturbing content and reported it.  According to a report by KDVR Denver Channel 31, school officials initially determined that the child was not a threat, but later changed their mind and called police.

Beyond the question of whether the school district’s zero-tolerance policy of dealing with violent imagery in the schools is too broad and does not take into account the circumstances of individual situations, how does a child go from being inattentive (having an “attention deficit”) to drawing a stick figure of himself pointing a gun at four other stick figures with the words “teachers they must die?”  The answer could lie in the fact that, instead of applying educational, medical, nutritional, and parental solutions to children’s restlessness and disruptive behavior, all too often teachers and school psychologists push parents to take their kids to psychiatrists, who label them with ADD and ADHD and put them on drugs.  (See “Colorado law prohibits school personnel from recommending psychiatric drugs.”)  The rambunctious behavior of boys makes them particularly susceptible to being labeled with ADD and ADHD.

ADD/ADHD drugs are powerful, addictive, psycho-stimulant drugs, some of which lab rats can’t distinguish from cocaine.  These mind-altering drugs are known to cause unwanted and disturbed behavioral changes that include mania, psychosis, hallucinations, delusional thinking, and suicidal thoughts.  (To read more about the side effects and international warnings on ADD/ADHD drugs, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drugs search engine.)

ADD/ADHDHD drugs are also linked to violent behavior. School officials could well have remembered recent school shootings when they changed their mind and decided to follow school district policy and get the police involved.  At least nine of 13 recent school shooters were on, or in withdrawal from, psychiatric drugs at the time of their shootings, including one of the Columbine shooters.  (The other four have closed medical records.)

The truth is there are no blood tests, x-rays, brain scans or any other objective, physical test to confirm any “diagnosis” of ADD or ADHD.  Even the U.S. National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on ADHD in the late 1990s concluded:  “…researchers have vigorously attempted to find proof that ADHD is caused by a chemical imbalance, but have come up with nothing.”

While ADD/ADHD drugs may make children quieter and more compliant in school, so would other chemical restraints like street drugs or alcohol.  None of these are workable, long-term solutions for the behavior problems of a growing and developing child.  The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recently condemned the over-prescription of psychiatric drugs for ADHD, stating that parents need to be able to easily access alternative, educational, and social measures for helping their children with their problems.

At least one teacher decided to publicly criticize the psychiatric drugging of children – and she lost her job over it.  According to KPHO Channel 5 in Phoenix, Arizona, an English teacher refused to remove a bumper sticker on her car that cynically asked, “Have you drugged your kid today?”  As she explained, “It’s kind of a criticism of us tending to over-medicate hyperactive kids who might not need those medications.”  She is fighting to get her job back, claiming that her First Amendment rights were violated.

If you have been told that a chemical imbalance, brain scan, or anything else “confirms” that you or your child has ADD or ADHD, we want to talk to you.  Please report it here or call us at 303-789-5225.

Protecting Your Children: Colorado Law Prohibits School Personnel From Recommending Psychiatric Drugs

CCHR Colorado continues to receive complaints from parents who are being pressured by teachers to put their children on “ADHD” or other psychiatric drugs because of the children’s behavior problems in the classroom.  This is a violation of Colorado state law.

Colorado Revised Statute 22-32-109 (1)(ee), passed by the Colorado legislature in 2003, requires the board of education of every school district in the state to have a policy “to prohibit school personnel from recommending or requiring the use of a psychotropic drug for any student.”  “Psychotropic” describes drugs capable of affecting the mind.

Students also cannot be subjected to any psychological or psychiatric screening, questionnaire, test, or evaluation without the prior, written consent of the parents (or the student, if of age).  The law also requires that parents should receive written disclosure of what will be done with the results of the testing: “School personnel shall not test or require a test for a child’s behavior without prior written permission from the parents or guardians or the child and prior written disclosure as to the disposition of the results or the testing therefrom.”

Parents of millions of schoolchildren worldwide have been told that their children have a “mental disorder” that requires them to be chemically restrained by powerful mind-altering psychiatric drugs, which carry long lists of dangerous side effects for children.  (CCHR’s newest DVD, “Dead Wrong: How Psychiatric Drugs Can Kill Your Child,” can be viewed online here: www.cchr.org.)

Often these children are simply smart and are bored in the classroom.  Many need additional instructional attention – educational solutions to educational problems.  Others are just exhibiting normal variations in the range of childhood and teen behavior.  Or they may have undiagnosed, underlying physical causes of their behavior, such as illness, infections, injuries, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, etc., which a complete physical exam and a nutritional evaluation can discover.

Children are human beings who have every right to expect our protection, care, guidance, and the chance to reach their full potential.  They will be denied this if they are trapped in the verbal and chemical strait-jackets of psychiatry’s invented labels and mind-altering drugs.

According to Julian Whitaker, M.D.:

“You should under no circumstances allow your children to participate in school-based mental health screenings. Do not be misled by doublespeak from school boards, psychiatrists, counselors, or teachers.  Despite their veneer of identifying and helping those at risk, mental health screenings are little more than fishing expeditions, casting a broad net and reeling in millions of new psychiatric drug users.

“Write a note to your child’s teacher clearly stating that you refuse permission for the child to participate in any type of mental health screening. Include in the note the admonition that if the child undergoes screening without your knowledge, you will sue.”

If school personnel have recommended that you put your child on psychiatric drugs, we want to hear from you.  Report your experience here, or call us at 303-789-5225.

Colorado Psychiatrists Fail to Disclose 2010 Disciplinary Actions

Three Colorado psychiatrists who were disciplined by the Colorado Medical Examiners Board in 2010 failed to publicly disclose the actions on their online physician profiles within 30 days of the actions, as required by law.   This finding has been reported to the Board by the Colorado chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, whose purpose includes “bringing all psychiatrists and psychologists back under the law.”

A review of the Board’s published summary of actions for 2010 found that psychiatrists John Frazier Alston, of Evergreen; Deborah Kaye (Smith) Parr, of Durango; and Ann Barbara Seig, of Englewood, were the subjects of public disciplinary actions.  Colorado requires disclosure of such disciplinary actions within 30 days of the actions, under the state’s Medical Transparency Act (C.R.S. 24-34-110).  The Act states the importance of such disclosure:

“the people of Colorado need to be fully informed about the past
practices of persons practicing a health care profession in this state
in order to make informed decisions when choosing a health care
provider and determining whether to proceed with a particular
regimen of care recommended by a health care provider….”

A review of the online physician profiles of these three psychiatrists finds that, as of today, all three still have the answer “No” to questions asking if any public disciplinary action has been taken or if any restriction has been placed on their licenses by the licensing board of any state or country:

John Frazier Alston

Deborah Kaye Parr

Ann Barbara Seig

However, public disciplinary actions have been taken against these psychiatrists and should have been disclosed, as follows:

Letter of Reprimand from the Texas Medical Board:  06/04/2010  On June 4, 2010, the [Texas Medical] Board and Deborah K. Parr, M.D., entered into AN AGREED ORDER PUBLICLY REPRIMANDING DR. PARR and requiring Dr. Parr to complete within one year 15 hours of CME [continuing medical education] in opioid dependence and chronic pain, and 15 hours in care and treatment of depressive disorders; and pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 within 90 days. The Board’s action was based on Dr. Parr’s failure to meet the standard of care in her treatment of two patients with substance abuse issues; and failure to prescribe dangerous drugs in a manner consistent with public health and welfare.

Failure to comply with the Medical Transparency Act is punishable by an administrative fine up to $5,000.

CCHR’s stated purpose is to make the world safe by bringing all psychiatrists and psychologists back under the law, getting their crimes and abusive practices and ideologies abolished and having them deprived of their unearned appropriations, thus restoring human rights to the field of mental health.  For more information on CCHR, go to www.cchrint.org.

If you have experienced abuse by any psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health worker, please report it here or call us at 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

To help forward the purpose of CCHR in Colorado and Wyoming, please make a tax-deductible contribution. Send a check payable to CCHR Colorado to: CCHR CO, PMB #516, 303 S. Broadway #200, Denver, CO 80209.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

First-Person Story: Aurora Public Schools as a Feeder Line to the Psychiatric Drugging of Children

Children are continually “under the microscope” of the school psychologist

This mother’s story illustrates how psychologists and psychiatrists have turned schools from places of learning into psychiatric clinics, “diagnosing” millions of schoolchildren with ADHD and other “mental disorders” that have no valid scientific basis, then pressuring parents to drug their children. For more information, read “Child Drugging: Psychiatry Destroying Lives”.  For information on the dangers of ADHD and other psychiatric drugs, click here.

My 7-year-old son attended an elementary school in the Aurora public school system last year.  A couple of weeks after my son started school, he began to experience some problems in keeping up with the schoolwork.

I volunteered to help in my child’s classroom a few hours per week.  I observed that the teacher was pushing ahead with the subject matter before many children had a chance to fully grasp it, and that words were being used that the children did not understand.  I understood why my son was becoming inattentive and unwilling to do his schoolwork in class.

I also witnessed the extent to which a school psychologist was present in the classroom.  Almost every time I spent time in that classroom, a psychologist came in and took notes while watching these kids.  I realized that this monitoring of the children was constant – that they were all being “put under the microscope” to find “abnormal” behavior.  I know that there were at least a few children in the classroom who were already considered to be “behavior problems.”

At the parent-teacher conferences for my son, I was surprised that two school psychologists also attended. They discussed how my child’s behavior was the problem.  I told them the real cause was educational issues and that an educational approach was needed.

The teacher suggested a problem-solving team (“PST”) meeting about my son with a group of teachers who worked together to find solutions for students who needed help.  At the PST meeting, a school psychologist was again in attendance.  The words “hyper” and “attention” were used numerous times.  The school psychologist took over the conversation.  She wanted my son in one of her behavioral groups, and although “ADHD” was not mentioned outright, it was quite obvious that was what she had concluded about my child.  I knew that I would be pressured to put my child on an ADHD drug next.  I had already heard the classroom teacher praising another mother for putting her child on an ADHD drug.

I did not consent to my son being in this behavioral group.  I had actually put a good amount of time learning about “ADHD” and was aware of the fact that there was no scientific evidence of its existence.  I said I would take the matter into my own hands and work with my child on his educational needs.  The school psychologist then responded that if she observed “symptoms” in a child, she was “required to report it.”  I felt she was subtly threatening me.  I felt that under pressure from the school psychologist, the school would continue to push for labeling my son with a mental disorder and putting him on drugs.

I removed my son from the school district, deciding instead to home-school him with the Applied Scholastics Online program.  It has allowed me to assess exactly what was previously missed in my child’s education and to zero in on any areas that need extra work.  Best of all, he is having a blast and is learning like a thirsty sponge!

*****

If you have experienced pressure from school personnel to have your child labeled with a mental disorder and drugged, and you want to talk about it, we want to talk to you. Email us or call 303-789-5225. All inquiries and communication will be handled in strictest confidence. We will take action.

Colorado Medicaid Doctor Prescribes a Whopping $1.1 Million of Antipsychotic Drugs in Just 2008 and 2009 Alone

Colorado’s top Medicaid prescriber of drugs at the center of a U.S. senator’s probe into fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid system billed nearly $1.1 million in 2008 and 2009 for 1,304 prescriptions written on four expensive antipsychotic drugs, according to data obtained by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Colorado.

The high-prescribing doctor was identified only by the prescriber identifier number 1093800559 in data compiled by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (CDHCPF) in response to a request from U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Medicaid and Medicare.

In April the senator requested 2008 and 2009 data from all 50 state Medicaid agencies on the top 10 Medicaid prescribers for each of six antipsychotic and two narcotic drugs, citing his concern they are being overprescribed at great cost to the publicly-funded Medicaid and Medicare programs.  Following his review of the data, Grassley called for a federal investigation.

Collectively Colorado’s top 10 Medicaid prescribers of the six antipsychotic drugs in question billed Medicaid a total of $8,172,649 over the two-year period, billing $3,045,015 in 2008 and $5,127,634 in 2009 for a 68 percent increase.

Colorado taxpayers have good reason to be concerned not only about the mushrooming cost of expensive antipsychotic drugs prescribed by Medicaid psychiatrists, but also the medical costs of the physical damage these drugs can cause to the Medicaid patients taking them.

The ages of the patients for whom the prescriptions were written were not part of the released data, so it is not known whether the huge jump in prescriptions in Colorado reflects the growing nationwide trend of putting children on antipsychotics, especially poor children.  A Rutgers University study last year found that children from low-income families, like those on Medicaid, were four times as likely as the privately insured to be put on antipsychotic drugs.

Drug studies of newer antipsychotics have found they can cause serious side effects in children, including diabetes, obesity, elevated cholesterol, seizures and strokes.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, “a marketing juggernaut…has made antipsychotics the nation’s top-selling class of drugs by revenue, $14.6 billion last year, with prominent promotions aimed at children.”

Because none of Colorado’s top Medicaid antipsychotic prescribers is identified by name in the CDHCPF data, it is not possible to track any financial ties they might have with the pharmaceutical companies that make these drugs, which could lead to a higher use of the drugs and a higher cost to the Medicaid program without benefiting patients.

Recently enacted national health care reform will require pharmaceutical companies to disclose payments to doctors beginning in 2013.  In the meantime Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer, makers of two of the antipsychotic drugs targeted by Sen. Grassley, must already disclose their payments to doctors as part of agreements reached with the U.S. Department of Justice.

With Colorado already facing what the governor’s office estimates as  a $262 million general-fund shortfall for the current 2010-11 budget and facing another $1 billion shortfall in the 2011-12 budget year, details of the number and cost of prescriptions for antipsychotic and other psychiatric in the publicly-funded Medicaid program over the past 10 years should be made public, with a special focus on the increase in the number and cost of prescriptions written on antipsychotics for children.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by taking antipsychotic drugs and you want to talk about it, we want to talk to you.  Email us or call 303-789-5225. All inquiries and communication will be handled in strictest confidence. We will take action.

There is NO Suicide Epidemic in Colorado

Data being misused to alarm the public is consistent with marketing programs of the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry

Data recently released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show that the trend in suicides in the state in effect has been statistically flat for at least 22 years.  There are wide fluctuations from year to year in the rate of suicides per 100,000 population, but all within a long-term, essentially unchanged trend, as the chart below of the data illustrates.  There isno suicide epidemic in Colorado.

Particularly false is the claim of a supposed epidemic of suicides among young people.  The fact is that suicide is very rare among children.  While the death of any child is tragic, statewide there were just 11 suicides last year in an estimated population of 1,040,402 children through age 14, for a rate of 1.1 suicide per 100,000 in 2009 – almost exactly the same rate as the 20-year average rate for this age group of 1.0.  The facts show there is no suicide epidemic among younger children.

Concerning teenage suicides, the statistic currently making headlines is that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teenagers in Colorado.  But this is only because there are very few teenage deaths for any reason.  While the death of any child is tragic, the fact is that there were 49 suicides last year in an estimated population of 362,423 teens ages 15 through 19 statewide, for a rate of 13.5 suicides per 100,000 population in 2009 – almost exactly the same rate as the 20-year average rate for this age group of 13.1.  The facts show that suicides are not spreading more rapidly or extensively among teenagers.  There is no suicide epidemic.

At a minimum, these statistics stand as testament to the monumental failure of psychiatry to lower the suicide rate after decades of prescribing antidepressants in Colorado – to the point that antidepressant residues are measurable in our waterways.

More alarming is the fact that psychiatric drugging is leading to suicides.  An estimated 50% of all Americans who commit suicide are on psychiatric drugs.

Antidepressants are known to cause worsening depression, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, panic attacks, hostility, aggression, psychosis, violence, suicide and many, many other adverse events.  Long-term antidepressant users frequently report that their emotions have been deadened so much that they feel like zombies.

The dangers of antidepressants have led the FDA and regulatory authorities around the word to issue warnings concerning their use, including the FDA’s most severe, “black box” warning.

International warnings & studies on psychiatric drugs can be found through the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International’s psychiatric drug search engine.

Adverse psychiatric drug reactions reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Medwatch can be searched here.

Despite the fact that the suicide rate for teenagers in Colorado has been essentially unchanged for at least 20 years, “suicide as the second-leading cause of death among teenagers” is being used to gain sympathy and support from the public, school administrators, physicians, public officials, and state legislators for requiring children to be screened for depression in the name of suicide prevention.

The screening surveys used, however, consider the normal variations in human behavior as symptoms of mental illness.  In particular, teenagers, with their wide range of behavior, are found to have “mental disorders” in high numbers.  This is because screening that targets teenagers, such as TeenScreen, asks questions that could be answered “Yes” by almost any normal teenager, such as:

  • Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you just weren’t interested in anything?
  • Has there been a time when you felt you couldn’t do anything well or that you weren’t as good-looking or as smart as other people?
  • How often did your parents get annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?
  • Have you often felt very nervous when you’ve had to do things in front of people?
  • Have you often worried a lot before you were going to play a sport or game or do some other activity?

A pilot program using TeenScreen should serve as a chilling warning to Coloradoans about what it means when teenagers are screened for depression.  During 2001-03, TeenScreen was used on teenagers at a Denver public high school and a Denver homeless shelter.  The results, unabashedly published at the time on the website of the Mental Health Association of Colorado (now Mental Health America of Colorado), are shocking to anyone – except apparently those with ties in with the psychiatric industry:

  • Half (50%) of the screened high school students were found to be at risk of suicide!
  • Nearly three out of four youths (71%) screened at the homeless shelter were found to have psychiatric disorders!

Clearly these screening surveys are identifying all sorts of young people as “mentally ill” when they are not.  Even the developer of the TeenScreen survey, psychiatrist David Shaffer, who has been the recipient of huge dollars from pharmaceutical companies (see “TeenScreen, A Front Group for the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex”), himself admits that TeenScreen “does identify a whole bunch of kids who aren’t really suicidal, so you get a lot of false-positives. And that means if you’re running a large program at a school, you’re going to cripple the program because you’re going to have too many kids you have to do something about.”

And what happens when the screening identifies so many children “you have to do something about?”  It means a bonanza for the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists who make a living from psychiatric drugging.  Young people with their wide range of childhood behavior, or with behavioral symptoms caused by any number of underlying, often undiagnosed physicalillnesses or abnormalities, will be labeled with “mental disorders” that follow them through life.

They will likely get referred to a psychiatrist, who will in all probability prescribe powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs, with their long lists of harmful and even life-threatening side effects.  The results of a survey published several years ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry revealed that 9 out of 10 children who see a psychiatrist will be prescribed psychiatric drugs.

The facts show that there is no epidemic of suicides in Colorado.  So who is behind the hysteria being whipped up in the state over suicides?   Pharmaceutical companies have three steps in their marketing programs, the first of which is to elevate the importance of a condition, making it appear far more serious & widespread than previously thought.  This first step is well underway in Colorado, forwarded by psychiatrists and psychiatric-industry front groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), using disinformation about a nonexistent “epidemic of suicides” supposedly sweeping the state.

The story of the unholy alliance between psychiatry and the drug companies, with the slick marketing schemes and scientific deceit that have created an $80 billion profit center, has been documented in “The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane?”, a multi-award-winning documentary film produced by CCHR International.  To order your free copy of the DVD, click here.

If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been harmed by a psychiatrist or other mental-health worker and you want to talk about it, we want to talk to you.  Email us or call 303-789-5225. All inquiries and communication will be handled in strictest confidence. We will take action.