Archive for June, 2012

The Florida Baker Act

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the “Baker Act,” is a Florida statute allowing for involuntary “examination” (otherwise known as involuntary commitment) of an individual. It can be initiated by a court, law enforcement officer, physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker.

“Examinations” may last up to 72 hours (not counting weekends and holidays.)

The act was named for a Florida state representative, Maxine Baker, who served as chair of a House Committee on mental health and was the sponsor of the bill.

The nickname of the legislation has led to the term “Baker Act” as a verb, such as “he was Baker Acted” when an individual is forcibly committed. Use of “Baker Acting” as a verb has become prevalent as a slang term for involuntary commitment in other regions of the United States besides Florida.

The number of Miami-Dade students taken for involuntary psychiatric examination by school police has almost exactly doubled in the last five years. Read more about this here. At least 646 times this year, or more than 3 times per school day, Miami-Dade school police have handcuffed a student and taken him or her to a mental health facility under the Baker Act rules.

There were no “school police” when I was in school. What has changed?

Could it be related to the proliferation of addictive, violence-causing psychiatric drugs among school children? That might be too obvious to CCHR Supporters; but it is still a mystery to much of the society at large. Help us spread the word!

Click here for more information about involuntary psychiatric commitment.

Prenatal Antipsychotic Exposure

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

“Prenatal Antipsychotic Exposure” refers to the harm done to a child in the womb when a pregnant mother takes antipsychotic drugs. Apparently this is a relatively common occurrence. There has been a 170% increase over the last decade in antipsychotic use during pregnancy.

Information about this comes from a research article published April 2, 2012 in the Archives of General Psychiatry (“Prenatal Antipsychotic Exposure and Neuromotor Performance During Infancy;” Johnson, LaPrairie, Brennan, Stowe & Newport, doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.160.)

The study was conducted on 6-month old infants whose mothers had taken, or had not taken, antipsychotics during pregnancy. The results showed that infants whose mothers had taken antipsychotics during pregnancy had significantly lower scores on a standard test of neuromotor performance; meaning that the nerve development of these children had likely been significantly compromised by these psychiatric drugs. Are you surprised?

If this information incites your ire, consider doing something about it. Write your legislators, your government officials, your school boards, and your religious leaders; show the CCHR DVD documentaries to your family, friends and associates; donate to CCHR St. Louis so we can continue making this information available. If you need a DVD to show around, let us know.

For more information about the side effects of psychiatric drugs, go to http://www.cchrstl.org/sideeffects.shtml.

Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A June 9th article in The New York Times describes the rising number of high school students who are abusing ADHD drugs.

“At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.”

“Observed Gary Boggs, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, ‘We’re seeing it all across the United States.'”

“The D.E.A. lists prescription stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse (amphetamines) and Ritalin and Focalin (methylphenidates) as Class 2 controlled substances — the same as cocaine and morphine — because they rank among the most addictive substances that have a medical use. (By comparison, the long-abused anti-anxiety drug Valium is in the lower Class 4.) So they carry high legal risks, too, as few teenagers appreciate that merely giving a friend an Adderall or Vyvanse pill is the same as selling it and can be prosecuted as a felony.”

“But abuse of prescription stimulants can lead to depression and mood swings (from sleep deprivation), heart irregularities and acute exhaustion or psychosis during withdrawal, doctors say. Little is known about the long-term effects of abuse of stimulants among the young. Drug counselors say that for some teenagers, the pills eventually become an entry to the abuse of painkillers and sleep aids.”

Read the full New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/education/seeking-academic-edge-teenagers-abuse-stimulants.html

For more information about the side effects of psychiatric drugs, go to http://www.cchrstl.org/sideeffects.shtml.