American Psychiatric Association (APA) Under Fire Again For Pharma Ties

Watchdog Releases More Damning Evidence Against APA With Undercover Footage from Psychiatrists’ Offices

 

SAINT LOUIS: Documents obtained by U.S. News and World Report confirm that the American Psychiatric Association failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of its task force members, charged with updating and expanding psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), comprised of subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new “mental disorders” and bill insurance companies.

 

The psychiatric watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says the scandals relating to the DSM, long considered the cash cow of disease mongering, go much deeper than conflicts of interest or failure to disclose pharmaceutical ties, and the group has released a new video (http://cchr.org/dsm/) featuring undercover footage of psychiatrists using the DSM to randomly dole out powerful and dangerous drugs to unsuspecting patients.

 

The video, including interviews with experts explaining how the DSM lacks any scientific basis, also contains footage of psychiatrists attending the annual American Psychiatric Association convention admitting that psychiatry has no physical tests to diagnose psychiatric disorders, no chemical imbalance tests, and no idea how to cure anyone.

 

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or CCHRSTL@cchrstl.org.

STATE-OF-THE-ART TOURING EXHIBIT OPENS TO EXPOSE PSYCHIATRY AS AN “INDUSTRY OF DEATH”

With mounting drug regulatory agency warnings, a new exhibit exposes thousands of child deaths from psychiatric drugs in U.S.

 WHO:  Join the psychiatric watchdog group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to open a chillingly informative exhibit, “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.”  Free to the public, it warns about the more than 100,000 deaths in psychiatric institutions around the world each year and over 15,000 deaths of children taking psychiatric drugs in the United States.
 
WHAT:  The 185-foot, state-of-the-art exhibit, which is being shown internationally in more than 30 countries, features 15 display panels that incorporate audio-visual presentations depicting human rights abuses by psychiatry and carries statements from health professionals, academics, legal and human rights experts, and victims of psychiatric brutalities. It traces the origins of psychiatry, the role psychiatrists have played in the oppression of blacks and minorities, the roots of their eugenics programs and the pivotal part they played in the Holocaust. It also reveals how psychiatric drugs are behind the spate of school shooting sprees and how millions of federal dollars allocated to screen American schoolchildren for “mental disorders” could increase both child deaths and acts of school violence. The Food and Drug Administration has warned that psychiatric drugs prescribed to children could cause aggression, hostility, psychosis, mania, homicide, suicide and death.
 
WHEN:  Saturday, January 5 through Saturday, January 19, 2008, 10 AM to 8 PM
WHERE:  7900 Olive Blvd., University City, Missouri 63130
CONTACT:  CCHR St. Louis (314) 727-8307
 
ORGANIZATION:  CCHR was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, and has successfully achieved hundreds of legislative protections against psychiatric abuse.
 
VISIT ALSO: 
The CCHR exhibit at the Smart Living Expo, America’s Center downtown St. Louis, Saturday, January 5 (10 AM – 6 PM) and Sunday, January 6 (11 AM – 5 PM). Admission is free.
The CCHR exhibit in the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda, Jefferson City, MO, Monday, January 21 and Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 8 AM – 5 PM. Admission is free.

Consumers Call for Removal of Fraudulent “Chemical Imbalance” Claims from Drug Advertisements

SAINT LOUIS: In the midst of a national debate over direct-to-consumer advertising, consumers are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exercise the new authority granted to them with the recent passage of the FDA reform bill. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act, signed into law by President Bush in September, gives the FDA the power to levy up to $500,000 in fines against pharmaceutical companies for false and misleading ads.

 

The mental health watchdog group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says that nowhere is this need for regulation more essential than in the deceptive ads for drugs designed to alter mood and behavior. According to CCHR, the “chemical imbalance” theory fed to the public through advertisements in order to rationalize the widespread use of psychiatric drugs—documented to cause suicide, homicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke and sudden death—is a marketing tool and is not based on scientific evidence.

 

In his book Blaming the Brain (1998), neuroscientist Elliot Valenstein wrote, “Although it is often stated with great confidence that depressed people have a serotonin or norepinephrine [brain chemicals] deficiency, the evidence actually contradicts these claims.”

 

An article in the November issue of the journal Society entitled, “The Media and the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression,” reaches a similar conclusion. Authors Jonathan Leo and Jeffrey Lacasse write, “The advertisement takes a correlation between serotonin shortage and psychological stress—and even this is highly questionable and unverifiable in any individual case—and makes a leap of faith to the conclusion that depression is caused by a serotonin imbalance…And the marketing did not stop with depression; eventually we were told that whatever our problems might be, whether anxiety, excessive shyness, depression, or the inability to pay attention, the underlying cause was a faulty transmitter level which could be rectified with a pill.”

 

Despite the controversy over advertising directly to consumers—a practice permitted only in the United States and New Zealand—spending on these advertisements reached $4.5 billion in 2006. This year, following the passage of stronger drug safety legislation, a crackdown has already begun on the fraudulent marketing of antidepressants. In December, the FDA released a letter to drug manufacturer Wyeth criticizing their ads for the antidepressant Effexor, saying that the ads minimize the risks and overstate the effectiveness of the drug.

 

CCHR applauds this move but urges that the FDA do more to regulate the misleading messages. A 2003 Consumers Union analysis of several years of drug ads found “a broad and disconcerting range of misleading messages” including “ads that minimized the product risk” and “exaggerated its efficacy”. Leo and Lacasse conclude in a 2005 essay in the Public Library of Science Medicine, entitled “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature,” that “The incongruence [disagreement] between the scientific literature and the claims made in FDA-regulated SSRI [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor – newer antidepressant] advertisements is remarkable, and possibly unparalleled.”

 

CCHR is joining consumers in calling for a ban on fraudulent claims by drug manufacturers—the most egregious being the fraudulent and unproven claim that depression is due to a “chemical imbalance” and that antidepressants work to correct this imbalance. Psychiatrists themselves admit there are no tests, such as brain scans, x-rays, urine samples or any chemical imbalance tests, which can verify the existence of psychiatric disorders. Click here for more information about the chemical imbalance hoax.

 

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or www.CCHRSTL.org.

Psychiatry: Re-defining life’s every problem as a mental disorder

Radio Interview with Dr. Thomas Szasz

13 December 2007
Download the audio file here (with German translation):
http://www.dissidentenfunk.de/archiv/s0712/audio/hi/t06.mp3
Text of the program here (English):
http://www.dissidentenfunk.de/archiv/s0712/#t19trackinfo
The German version of the interview is here:
http://www.dissidentenfunk.de/archiv/s0712/t06/print

Thomas Szasz: Hello.

René Talbot: Hello Thomas, this is René.
Thank you very much for the time you want to spend for this interview.

T.S.: You are welcome.

R.T.: I have prepared some questions. The first question is: What is distinctive about your new book “Coercion as cure – A critical history of psychiatry”, which came out this year?

T.S.: What is distinctive about it is that no one has ever written a history of psychiatry based on the premise that there is no mental illness. All histories of psychiatry rest on the unquestioned belief that mental illness exists the same way that bodily illness exists and that doctors are trying to diagnose and cure it. This is nonsense. We ought to ask: What does the history of psychiatry look like if there is no mental illness?  This is like asking, “What does the history of (a monotheistic) religion look like if there is no God?” The answer then is that there are people who worship or do not worship God, there are churches, there are priests, and there is of course religious belief and religious disbelief and religious persecution. The answer for psychiatry is similar. There is voluntary psychiatry for people who want to go to psychiatrists and “worship” mental illnesses and cures; and they can get drugs, or electroshock, or psychoanalysis, or whatever the “soul doctors” are permitted to give them; and then there are people who reject psychiatry and on whom so-called “services” are imposed by force. Today, neither psychiatrists nor the media distinguish – are allowed to distinguish! — these diametrically opposite phenomena. I maintain that until society – the legal system – makes this distinction, the psychiatric situation will remain unchanged. And once the distinction is made, coercive psychiatry will be, will have to be, abolished – just as coercive religion has been abolished.

R.T.: Yes, there is a history of atrocities and cruelties and torture.

T.S.: Of course. That goes for any system of ideology based on a fiction plus force. The point is, there is the fiction of mental illness and there are psychiatrists who are agents of the state – just as there was, and is, the fiction of god and there are priests who used to be agents of the state but no longer are!

R.T.: The history of psychiatry and its interpretation is always also connected with evaluations, questions of good and bad.

T.S.: Absolutely!

R.T.: Thus it also directly concerns the interests in contemporary psychiatric practice. What reactions have you had to your book?

T.S.: There has been only one review, which is very hostile, in a conservative, right-wing magazine called The Weekly Standard, I can send you a copy.

R.T.: And what was your opinion on this reaction?

T.S.: I expected this or no reviews at all. What else can psychiatrists do with my book except dismiss it?

R.T.: A new question: In the preface to the German translation of “The Myth of Mental Illness” you write: “Of all academic disciplines and sciences is perhaps none deeper rooted in the German language and culture than psychiatry. Kahlbaum, Kraepelin and Bleuler, Freud, Adler and Jung and many other founders of modern psychiatry wrote in German. Even if German has been overtaken by English since the nineteen-thirties as an idiom of psychiatry: it nevertheless remains the native language of this profession.” What specifically do you see in the history of German psychiatry?

T.S.: What I had in mind is an interesting difference between German and English. In English, we have the word “mind,” used both as noun and verb. We speak of “mental illness.” In German, there is no word congruent with “mind.” There is Geist = spirit, and Seele = soul. This, I think, is one of the reasons why German psychiatry has been closer to philosophy, to religion, to the spiritual aspects of man, than has Anglo-American psychiatry, which has aspired to be materialistic, scientific, medical in the technical sense.

R.T.: So from the language difference developed a different kind of history of psychiatry in Germany, do you think?

T.S.: Ironically, not. It is not different at all. The history of psychiatry is the same all over the world. Everywhere it rests, first, on the fiction of mental illness (undefined as a disease, in fact used as a euphemism of misbehavior, unwanted behavior, like homosexuality or drunkenness); and second, it rests on coercion, the power of the psychiatrist to lock up the patient. In medicine, patients are treated with their consent. In psychiatry, persons – who often do not want to be patients – are treated without their consent. These simple facts are constantly denied, obscured, evaded.

R.T.: They change the bottle but it is always the same wine.

T.S.: Absolutely! Correct! That is why I titled my book “Coercion as Cure”: because the crucial issue and term is coercion, the use of force authorized by the state.

R.T.: That is the central issue.

T.S.: That is the central issue in my work and that’s why it doesn’t matter whether the state is a communist state, a Nazi state, an American state, a British state, all use psychiatry as an arm of the coercive apparatus of the state

R.T.: that legitimates this coercion and violence.

T.S.: Right. It is always a state in the modern world. Again, note the analogy to religion: In the pre-modern world religion legitimated the use of force. In the modern world, the secular state does so.

R.T.: Two chapters of your book “Coercion as Cure” are dedicated to drugs, whose introduction and dominance in psychiatry occurred during your professional career. You distinguish between drugs individuals want and drugs individuals do not want, between drugs the state permits and drugs the state prohibits. Is there, in your opinion, besides the side effects, any effect at all of the psychotropic – so-called therapeutic – drugs?

T.S.: In this connection, we should not use the word “side-effect.” Drugs have certain biological and behavioral effects. Some effects are desired by patients or doctors or politicians, and some effects are not desired. We have to be very clear about this. “Desirable” and “undesirable” are not medical terms. They are terms that refer to cultural, social, medical contexts, personal preferences, political considerations, and so forth. Is morphine a good drug or a bad drug? If a patient is dying of cancer and is in pain, then it’s a good drug. If he is an ambitious politician who wants a bigger job, then he fights the “war on drugs” and declares opium poppies to be “enemies” that must be destroyed. Meanwhile, he or some member of his family may be secretly “abusing” heroin.

R.T.: In other words, are there no side-effects only effects?

T.S.: Side-effects are simply unwanted effects. In war, the death of enemy soldiers is an effect. The death of our soldiers is a side effect. One of the points I make in “Coercion as Cure” is that, in the case of all mind-altering drugs we must distinguish between the drugs that some people want to take and that some people do not want to take. Also, we must keep mind that many of the drugs people want to take are all illegal and if you buy or sell them you go to prison.

R.T.: Not all, alcohol is not forbidden.

T.S.: Not alcohol now! But there was a time, not so long ago, when alcohol was prohibited in the United States. It is still prohibited in Islamic states. I was referring to opiates, the war against drugs, the war in Afghanistan – and contrasting it with the “war for psychiatric drugs,” the drugs many people don’t want to take and are forced to take!

R.T.: Can you tell us something about the next projects you are working on?

T.S.: Yes, I can tell you, but the issues I address are too complicated for an interview. The title of my next book sums up what I have tried to do for more than fifty years: “Psychiatry: The Science of Lies”. “Die Wissenschaft der Lüge”. Mental illness is deception, self-deception, a lie. Psychiatry as a medical specialty is a lie. Psychotherapy is a lie. Again, there is the analogy, for an atheist, with religion as fable or myth or repression, or lie.

R.T.: I hope very much that your book “Coercion as cure” will be translated.

T.S.: Thank you. I hope so too, but I don’t count on it. Our western culture has grown increasingly uncritical of psychiatry during the past fifty years. “The Myth of Mental Illness” was translated into German. “Insanity” was not. “Liberation by Oppression” was not. The advent of the use of drugs for supposedly treating so-called mental illnesses has made psychiatry look like medicine.

R.T.: Yes, because it is a typical method in medicine to use drugs to treat diseases.

T.S.: Right. If you go to a doctor, he gives you drugs. Now the same thing happens: you go to a doctor, you say you are nervous and he gives you a drug and then it’s called psychiatric treatment. This didn’t exist when I went to medical school.


Gesendet am 13.12.2007 im Dissidentenfunk (www.dissidentenfunk.de)


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CCHR was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and the internationally acclaimed author of more than 25 books, Dr. Thomas Szasz, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse. His classic The Myth of Mental Illness (1961) made him a figure of international fame and controversy. Many of his works – such as Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, – are regarded as among the most influential in the 20th century by leaders in medicine, law, and the social sciences.

Psychiatry’s diagnoses are not based on science. Subjective opinion determines that everything in life is now a “mental disorder” for which you can be “treated” and billed.

Sound medical attention, good nutrition, a healthy, safe environment and activity that promotes confidence, will do far more for a troubled individual than the brutality of repeated drugging and other psychiatric abuses.

Sexual Exploitation Common Among Mental Health Practitioners

Psychiatric Watchdog Group Offers Assistance to Victims, Urges Filing Report

SAINT LOUIS: Psychiatry Professor Carolyn Quadrio of the University of New South Wales presented research at the World Psychiatric Association conference in Melbourne on Dec 1 showing between 7% and 10% of male therapists have had sexual relations with a patient.

This study is only the latest in a long line of evidence that psychiatrists and psychologists routinely sexually exploit vulnerable patients, according to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). Too often, says the group, mental health practitioners who molest their patients escape criminal prosecution because the cases are handled by licensing boards, which treat it merely as “professional misconduct”. CCHR, an international psychiatric watchdog group, strongly advises patients to report any sexual abuse by psychiatrists and psychologists to the police.

Professor Quadrio’s findings correspond with an earlier Canadian study, which found that 10% of psychiatrists admitted to sexually abusing their patients. 80% of those were repeat offenders. Another study, by British psychologists Tanya Garrett and John Davis, found that almost 40% of psychologists knew of others in their profession who’d had sex with patients—yet only 13% of the psychologists who knew of such stories had taken any action.

As a public service to law enforcement agencies, health care fraud investigators, licensing boards and the general public, CCHR has tracked more than 1,000 mental health workers convicted of crimes and has created a database of these criminals, found at www.psychcrime.org. CCHR also actively alerts the media to mental health workers in their area who have been disciplined for sexual assault of patients.

Two weeks ago, a former psychologist was fired from a high school teaching position in Florida after CCHR provided information about her previously undisclosed past: The psychologist, Constance Reynolds, had lost her license in Montana after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a patient who died in her care.

Laws exist in 19 states making therapist sexual exploitation a crime, though this should be otherwise prosecutable as sexual assault or rape. If you have been molested or abused by a mental health practitioner, file a complaint to the police and fill out CCHR’s psychiatric abuse report form at www.cchr.org/abuse or call 800-869-2247. CCHR may be able to help you find legal assistance.

How Many Antidepressant-Induced Massacres Will It Take To Get Federal Investigation?

Watchdog Says Omaha Mall Shootings Reflect Why They Launched Startling PSAs

SAINT LOUIS: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins, who killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha, Nebraska mall, appears to be the latest kid killer under the influence of psychiatric drugs (click here for CNN video) documented to cause violence, mania, psychosis, suicide and “homicidal ideation.”

With ten recent school shooters under the influence of psychiatric drugs, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) a mental health watchdog, says the government can no longer ignore the violence inducing effects of these drugs and must launch a federal investigation. With 39 dead and 84 wounded from these ten recent drug-induced shootings alone, CCHR produced a series of three startling new Public Service Announcements, called “Get the Facts – Fight Back”, depicting the consequences of prescribing violence and suicide inducing psychiatric drugs to children and teens (click here to watch PSAs).
The group says the evidence of drugs causing violence, murder and homicide is overwhelming – yet ignored due to billions in drug company/psychiatric profits. In September 2006, Dr. David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, and colleagues published the findings of their study of the antidepressant, Paxil, in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine stating: “We’ve got good evidence that the drugs can make people violent and you’d have to reason from that that there may be more episodes of violence.” (link)
Fox National News reporter Douglas Kennedy exposed the link between school shooters and antidepressant/psychiatric drug use in his ground breaking expose “Deadly Drugs” as far back as 2002. (link) 
 

Despite the deadly side effects, antidepressants are commonly prescribed to children and teens, raking in $20.6 billion in profits worldwide in 2006. In the meantime, the senseless drug-induced violence continues, taking a heavy toll on our nation’s children and teens.
CCHR launched the PSAs to help galvanize the public to demand a federal investigation of the violence inducing effects of psychiatric drugs before more children and innocent bystanders are murdered.  The group fought for more than a decade against vested psychiatric and pharmaceutical interests to have black box suicide warnings added to antidepressants, and was the first to expose the suicidal effects of the drugs in 1991 – 13 years before the government took action and finally issued the black box suicide warnings on all antidepressant drugs in 2004. Click here to watch a video of the 1991 FDA hearing on antidepressants and violence/suicide.

CCHR has also published a report Psychiatric Drugs and Anger Management Curricula—A Perspective on School Violence, which can be found by clicking here.

ADHD Study is Misleading, Charges Watchdog Group

 

Stimulant Side Effects, Not “ADHD”, May Be to Blame for Slow Brain Development

LOS ANGELES:  A Nov 16 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on delayed brain development in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is misleading, claims a psychiatric watchdog group.

Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), examining a series of brain images of more than 400 children (half of them “ADHD”), concluded that some regions of the brain of children with ADHD matured several years later than normal. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says the researchers underplayed the fact that 66% of the ADHD subjects studied had been on powerful stimulants (as reported in the study), warned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cause suppression of growth—which could logically include brain development. With stimulant “treatment” the only physical variable, and ADHD never validated as a real disease, it is likely that the stimulant drugs, not ADHD, are to blame for the slow brain maturation reported by study authors Philip Shaw, et al.

Earlier researchers have also ignored the probable connection between the drugs and problems with brain size and growth. At a 1998 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on ADHD, 14 MRI studies of people treated for ADHD were reviewed. The presenters reported on-average 10% brain atrophy (shrinkage) in ADHD subjects—however, pediatric neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman pointed out that the vast majority of the ADHD subjects had been treated long-term with stimulants—the only physical difference from the control group—suggesting that it was the drugs, not the so-called disorder, that was causing the brain atrophy. In the end, the NIH Panel concluded: “…there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”

In fact, researchers have repeatedly failed to prove any physical abnormality that can validate the existence of ADHD. In 2003, Jonathan Leo, Professor of Anatomy at the Western University of Health Sciences and Professor David Cohen of the School of Social Work at Florida International University, reviewed 33 brain-imaging studies of ADHD-diagnosed subjects. They confirmed that every study concerned medicated children, a major variable because stimulant drugs “cause very persistent changes in the brain.” They also reviewed a widely touted 2002 NIMH study that included unmedicated subjects and claimed that unmedicated ADHD children had significantly smaller brains. However, the comparison group was two years older and taller, so naturally the smaller children had smaller brains.

In 2000, a study published in The Lancet claimed ADHD was linked to an over-production of dopamine. This was passed off as “fact”, even though the study involved only six adult subjects diagnosed with ADHD—all of whom were most likely to have been on long-term drug treatment, particularly stimulants. Critical details as to precisely what drugs they had been on or for how long were not provided, but the authors stated that one month before the brain scanning commenced, the subjects were taken off any drug that may affect the dopamine system. Stimulant drugs administered for ADHD affect the dopamine system. Based on this alone, the scanning differences found between the ADHD subjects and the normal subjects were likely to have been caused by drug treatment.

Despite all the research done in an attempt to prove otherwise, there remain no physical tests that can validate the existence of ADHD.  Even the American Psychiatric Association admits in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition IV, that there are “…no laboratory tests that have been established as diagnostic” for ADHD.  Instead, the diagnosis is entirely subjective—based on a checklist of “symptoms” that sound a lot like normal childhood behavior: “Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair,” “Difficulty engaging in activities quietly” and “Acts as if driven by a motor.” Even with this lack of scientific basis for the so-called disorder, vested interests such as CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), which received more than $1 million in pharmaceutical funding in 2004-2005 alone, aggressively promote ADHD and the drugs used to “treat” it. Now, as many as 10% of children are alleged to have ADHD—many of whom are prescribed cocaine-like stimulants.

In addition to suppressed growth, the FDA warns that the drugs can cause psychosis, aggression, heart attack, stroke and sudden death.  Many parents, however, remain unaware of the risks of ADHD stimulants and other prescribed psychotropic drugs. To increase public awareness of the dangers of these drugs, CCHR has launched a new phase in its “Fight For Kids” campaign, with the slogan, “Get the Facts. Fight Back.” Their first Public Service Announcement series warns of the suicide and violence inducing side effects of antidepressants, prescribed to millions of children, and has already been translated into 15 languages. The group says it will be releasing additional PSA series on dangerous psychiatric “treatments” for children.

To view the first series of PSAs, go to www.CCHRSTL.org. 

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.

New CCHR Interview with Former Eli Lilly Drug Chemist

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) U.S. President Bruce Wiseman interviews chemist Shane Ellison in this new “Take America Back” radio show exposing the corruption within the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries.

Ellison abandoned his career in manufacturing drugs for Eli Lilly when he discovered that the drugs he was making were not intended to cure real diseases. Instead, he discovered that “illnesses,” including ADHD and depression, were being invented and marketed to the population so that drugs could be sold to virtually any healthy individual. Ellison explains that the drugs often cause the very symptoms they are supposed to “cure”. After leaving the pharmaceutical industry, Ellison became an authority on therapeutic nutrition, starting a company that offers nutritional supplements and writing a book called Health Myths Exposed.

Wiseman points out that the black box warnings on antidepressants exemplifies how the drugs can cause serious side effects, including what they allegedly cure—antidepressants allegedly alleviate depression but in fact can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Confirming that none of the drugs are curing depression whatsoever, Ellison likens antidepressants to a chemical lobotomy. With Pharma money and their lobbyists heavily influencing politicians, the host warns that two bills are currently pending in Congress forwarding the profitable lie that psychiatric diagnoses are real and need “treatment”. Wiseman urges listeners to contact their federal representatives and insist that these measures are not passed: The Mental Health Parity Bill, which mandates that insurance cover psychiatric treatment equally with physical treatment, and the Mother’s Act, which supports “mental health screening” of new moms.

Click here to listen to the show.

STATE HOSPITALS ARE STILL SNAKEPITS OF PATIENT ABUSE, BETRAYAL OF THE PUBLIC

Numerous state psychiatric hospitals have recently been exposed for violations and/or deficiencies in patient care and safety, including several that have come under U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. The reports show that these facilities are not safe, sanitary or rehabilitative places. The DOJ reports in particular found near-identical violations and deficiencies in each facility it investigated—including inappropriate, excessive or inadequately documented use of seclusion and restraints, as well as drugs being used as chemical restraints.
 

The number of hospitals and the range of similar abuses throw up a red flag that says “systemic patient civil rights abuses.”
 

Often referred to as “snakepits” in the early 1900’s, for prevalence of violence and degradation and absence of rehabilitation, today’s state mental institutions don’t appear to have changed much.
 

The reports:
 

+       A 2007 Missouri state audit turned up “hundreds of people who work with the state’s most vulnerable residents have a history of child abuse and neglect or other criminal activity. … The audit turned up nearly 700 cases of people with questionable backgrounds working with the elderly, mentally ill and foster children at various state-run and state-licensed residential centers.” 129 people with probable cases of child abuse and neglect were working at facilities run or licensed by the Department of Mental Health; 447 similar cases were found in the Department of Health and Senior Services; another 105 similar cases were found in the Department of Social Services. [xii]
 

+       A 2006 investigation into the Missouri Department of Mental Health by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that “Mentally retarded and mentally ill people in Missouri have been sexually assaulted, beaten, injured and left to die by abusive and neglectful caregivers in a system that for years has failed at every level to safeguard them.” The investigation found rampant abuse and neglect of mentally retarded and mentally ill residents in state centers and in private facilities the state supervises. Since 2000, there have been 2,287 confirmed cases of abuse and neglect with 665 injuries and 21 deaths. [xiii]
 

+       Investigators from the Connecticut state Department of Public Health visited the Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH, Connecticut’s oldest and largest public psychiatric hospital) on September 12, 2007 to look into a patient suicide by hanging—the fourth suicide at the hospital in as many years. While the suicide is tragic enough, the investigators found additional problems at the facility and cited it on behalf of the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, which provides millions of dollars of funding annually to CVH. Among the problems found was that patients are often restrained as “first resort” and as a staff convenience. [i]
 

+       In August 2007, a Delaware state investigative committee held a four-hour hearing into abuses at the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC). Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers addressed the committee in excruciating detail about the physical and sexual abuse of their loved ones—patients of the DPC. A former DPC attendant was arrested following a police investigation into a patient whose jaw was broken in three places, on both sides of his mouth. DPC officials at first claimed the patient tripped and hit his chin on a bed frame. In August, state troopers also arrested another former attendant accused of raping a patient. [ii]
 

+       A May 2007 study of conditions at the Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta, commissioned by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, uncovered numerous violations, including physical restraints of patients for no documented reason. The Department of Human Resources’ report follows an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that reported at least 115 patients at Georgia’s state hospital had died under suspicious circumstances between 2002 and 2006. The newspaper also found 194 confirmed cases of physical or sexual abuse. In the state hospital in Savannah, surveyors found, among other things, failure to document the reasons for the use of restraint or seclusion and the use of movies screenings and bingo counted as patient therapy sessions (indicative of fraud). [iii]
 

+       A May 2006 report by the U.S. DOJ on California’s Patton State Hospital found that its psychiatry and psychology services “substantially depart from generally accepted professional standards of care and expose patients to…risk of harm and actual harm.” The report runs down a litany of the facility’s failures, including failure to properly diagnose; routine prescribing of inappropriate or unsafe medications without clinical justification; use of restraints and seclusion as a first course of action and the “strikingly high” use of PRN (pro re nata, “as needed”) medication as a form of chemical restraint. Further, it found the hospital failed to foster a safe environment for patients, citing 500 patient-on-patient acts of violence in the preceding six months and a recent trend of suicide and attempted suicide by hanging. [iv]
 

+       Another May 2006 DOJ report on St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC found that the facility “fails to provide its patients with a reasonably safe living environment…patients are subjected to assaults and harm from elopements and suicides…are subjected to undue seclusion and restraints.” One particularly egregious finding was that the hospital’s forensic unit restrained or secluded patients for 1,387 hours on weekends compared to 63.62 hours during the week, which “indicates and over-reliance on…seclusion and restraints to compensate for shortage of staff…on weekends.” The DOJ’s 66-page report details deficiencies and violations and failures to meet the standard of care across all areas investigated. [v]
 

+       The DOJ’s July 5, 2005 report on Vermont State Hospital not surprisingly found, among other things, that the institution “consistently uses seclusion and restraint as an intervention of first resort”; “often uses seclusion and restraint for the convenience of staff and/or as initial punishment” and that “Over 90% of restraint incidents at Vermont State Hospital involve strapping patients down to a bed in five-point restraints in a seclusion room – the most restrictive and dangerous form of intervention.” Similar to the aforementioned facilities, the DOJ found deficiencies, violations and departures from standard practice in all areas investigated. [vi]
 

+       In March 2004, the U.S. DOJ released the findings of their investigation of all four North Carolina state hospitals, which include inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion and failure to ensure reasonable safety of patients. It cites several instances of patients being on combinations or high doses of psychotropic drugs in the absence of any justification in their records. It also reported that nearly half of all North Carolina state hospital patients have a regular or PRN order for benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) but no justification for such use in patients’ records. “This practice constitutes chemical restraint, which is in violation of federal regulations…and does not conform to generally accepted professional standards,” the report states. It also reported that two of the hospitals forcefully administer drugs intramuscularly (via syringe) when patients refuse oral medication—a violation of patients’ federal constitutional rights—and that in some cases, the forced intramuscular drug is different than the one they refused to take. [vii]
 

Sadly, these abuses are merely the tail end of psychiatry’s long history of patient abuse and failure. A large book could easily be written on the continual state hospital abuses committed, investigated, prosecuted and documented. Here are just a few from the last 60 years to show that, psychiatrically speaking, times have not changed:
 

+       In the early part of last century, both public and government concern over deteriorating conditions inside U.S. mental institutions caused the American Medical Association to act. In 1931, the AMA hired a physician named John Grimes to conduct an investigation. He came back with an unexpectedly disturbing portrait of overcrowding and woefully inadequate patient diet. Facility attendants were found to conduct themselves like prison guards rather than facilitators of rehabilitation. Dr. Grimes concluded that the primary purpose of state hospitals was not medical but “legal.” [viii]
 

+       In 1944, an Ohio grand jury investigating conditions at Cleveland State Hospital, where several patients had died after being beaten with belts, key rings, and metal-plated shoes, summed up the state of affairs: “The atmosphere reeks with the false notion that the mentally ill are criminals and subhumans who should be denied all human rights…” [ix]
 

+       In May 1969, then-Illinois State Attorney Edward Hanrahan issued a report at the request of then-Governor Richard Ogilvie, on conditions at the Chicago State Hospital and the Tinley Park Mental Health Facility that found that “All varieties of crime were discovered at both institutions…. Patients were assaulted, murdered and raped by fellow inmates and employees.” [x]
 

+       In April 1987, Pennsylvania State Public Welfare Secretary John F. White, Jr. formed a special task force to investigate Byberry State Hospital, a now-closed state institution with one of the most horrifying records of patient death and abuse. In September of that year, the group issued their report in which it said that patients were being neglected, beaten and sexually abused. The report called for “immediate and drastic action to reverse the history of neglect, poor management, absence of treatment and rampant abuse.” [xi]
 

It is tempting to blame “the system” in situations like these. Certainly the psychiatric system—as evidenced by nothing more than what has been exposed in America’s public psychiatric institutions—routinely and utterly fails its patients and the public but it is individuals that commit abuses. Individuals condone environments where abuse is the norm. Such individuals can and should be identified; their crimes against patients documented and criminal charges brought.
 

Such abuse also prompts the question “What is the state paying for?” According to DOJ’s findings and other reports, it appears that, broadly speaking, government and the public are being defrauded because these reports show that these facilities are generally failing to meet the standard of care. They are paid to provide such a standard and, in providing less or providing harmful “care,” they commit fraud in general. The state hospital purpose appears to be one of keeping people institutionalized at the state’s expense with no concept or intention of improvement or rehabilitation. One could conclude that the system exists in this condition not for the benefit of patients but for the purpose of keeping psychiatrists and mental health staff employed—paid with tax dollars.
 

Judging from foregoing reports, the state hospital appears to be a most fruitful source of criminal prosecution for patient abuse and fraud and should be high on any Medicaid administrator, fraud investigator, personal injury/civil rights attorney and law enforcement’s list.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. The CCHR documentary, “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death,” exposes the origin of abuses in the early mental asylums and in the state hospitals right up to the present. You can purchase a copy at www.cchr.org.


[i] “Another investigation finds big problems at psychiatric hospital,” Associated Press, 19 Sept. 2007
[ii] “Families tell of beatings, assaults,” The News Journal, 22 Aug. 2007
[iii] “Report blisters mental hospital…”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9 May 2007
[iv] “Re: Patton State Hospital, Patton, California,” Report to California Governor Schwarzenegger by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, 2 May 2006
[v] “Re: CRIPA Investigation of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C.,” Report to Washington, D.C. Mayor Williams by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, 23 May 2006
[vi] “Re: CRIPA Investigation of the Vermont State Hospital, Waterbury, Vermont,” Report to Vermont Governor Douglas by U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, 5 July 2005
[vii] “Re: North Carolina’s Public Mental Health Hospitals, Dorothea Dix…,” Report to North Carolina Governor Easley by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, 17 Mar. 2004
[viii] John Maurice Grimes, Institutional Care of Mental Patients in the United States (self-published, 1934), xiv, pp. 15-43, 95-99 and Albert Deutsch, The Shame of the States (Harcourt, Brace, 1948), pp. 57-58 (as cited in Robert Whittaker, Mad in America [Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, MA, Dec. 2001], p. 70)
[ix] Ibid. p. 71
[x] “Murder, vice in hospital, report says,” Daily Telegraph, 29 May 1969
[xi] William Ecenbarger, “The shame that was Byberry,” The Philadelphia Enquirer,” 10 July 1988
[xii] “Care centers hire many on abusers list,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 15 November 2007
[xiii] “There’s failure at every level of care,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10 June 2006

Antidepressant-Induced School Shootings Spread to Europe

Finnish School Shooter Joins List of Drug-Induced Kid Killers including Eric Harris, Kip Kinkel and Jeff Weise

ST. LOUIS: The mental health watchdog group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says the antidepressant-induced school shootings plaguing the U.S. have now spread to Europe; Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen is the tenth recent school shooter reported to be taking psychiatric drugs documented to cause violence, suicide, psychosis and mania. The death toll from these recent school shooters under the influence of mind-altering drugs now totals 39 dead and 84 wounded. Increases in these senseless acts of drug-induced suicide and violence prompted the watchdog to launch a new series of Public Service Announcements, warning parents to “Get the Facts. Fight Back.”

According to news reports, 18-year-old gunman 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. CCHR maintains that drug-induced tragedies such as this demonstrate the urgent need for more public awareness of the deadly side effects of the psychiatric drugs being prescribed to children—the reason for their new public service announcements that have been translated into 15 languages.

An estimated 63,000 suicides have been attributed to antidepressants, and after decades of denial from the psychiatric/mental health industry, the FDA finally required all antidepressants to warn of suicide risks for children and teens in 2004. Yet despite documented side effects of mania, psychosis, violence and homicidal ideation, and 10 recent school shooters documented to be under the influence of such drugs, the mass drugging of children and teens continues.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.

* Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2000: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

* 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.

* 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”.

* 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.

* 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 Trazadone.

To view the PSAs, go to www.cchr.org/psas/. For a detailed report on psychiatric drugs and violence read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Drugs and Anger Management Curricula—A Perspective on School Violence.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or cchrstl@cchrstl.org.