Psychiatric Abuse of Veterans
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has for many years lobbied for veterans rights, informed consent, and treatment alternatives to psychiatric medication of America’s military personnel. In keeping with its mandate to restore human rights and dignity to the field of mental health, CCHR has advocated reforms in the military’s mental health practices so personnel and veterans are informed and protected from abuse.
“It’s quite easy to lie to the American public because they don’t do their homework,” former NATO Command Sgt. Major Robert Dean once said in a documentary about government secrecy. His pithy sentiment explains how the U.S. Government can continue to assert that the welfare of military personnel and veterans is a top priority, while statistics tell another story.
Military suicides may well be traced to the soaring rate of psychiatric drugs prescribed to servicemen and women since 2003.
One of the front lines in this battle is treatment for so-called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Roughly 80 percent of vets labeled with PTSD, the reports show, are being given psychotropic drugs, despite numerous studies indicating they are ineffective and addictive.
“We have never drugged our troops to this extent, and the current increase in suicides is not a coincidence,” says Bart Billings, retired colonel and former military psychologist. The numbers indicate that top brass appear more concerned with getting soldiers back into service as quickly as possible through drugs that merely treat their symptoms temporarily, rather than addressing root causes of mental distress.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, CCHR has investigated how psychiatrists are using the so-called War on Terror to broaden their niche within the military to push mind-altering drugs on not only the fighting forces, but on veterans and the public at large. Within days of the attacks, psychiatrists were predicting that as many as 30 percent of people affected by the attacks would develop PTSD. In October 2001 alone, Pfizer pumped $5.6 million into advertising Zoloft as a treatment for PTSD.
“From our perspective, it was human rights abuse,” CCHR President Jan Eastgate said in a recent interview. “The last thing people need to be [in the wake of such tragedy] is numbed out with mind-altering psychiatric drugs.”
In an effort to raise awareness about these issues, CCHR’s 2013 documentary, The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda, was shown to congressional staff in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee room on Capitol Hill in May 2014. It has been shown to veteran groups in D.C. and to National Guardsmen in California, aired on six U.S. TV stations and mailed to thousands of military personnel.
CCHR submitted a white paper on military drugging to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “A Review of How Prescribed Psychiatric Medications Could be Driving Members of the Armed Forces and Vets to Acts of Violence & Suicide” became part of the Congressional Record and was posted on the U.S. Veterans’ Affairs Committee website.
CCHR also collected 15,000 signatures encouraging Congress to investigate connections between psychotropic drugs, active-duty and veteran suicides, and violence. In May last year, hundreds protested in New York against the American Psychiatric Association for turning a blind eye to psychotropic drugs and hundreds of sudden deaths of soldiers and vets.
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