Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

Missouri Foster Care Proposed Legislation

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

[See our previous newsletter on drugging foster care children in Missouri.]

Here is another piece of proposed legislation for protecting foster care children from being needlessly poisoned by psychiatric drugs. Contact your state legislators about this. (This applies to any state, not just Missouri.)

FOR THE STATE OF MISSOURI

PROPOSED REGULATION

Entitled: “CHEMICAL ABUSE: ENDANGERING THE HEALTH OF A CHILD OR YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE.”

WHEREAS: Child endangerment refers to an act or omission that renders a child subject to psychological, emotional or physical abuse. The child who is subjected to such endangerment is called an abused child or a neglected child. Endangerment that results in serious physical illness or injury is a felony.1

WHEREAS: Reckless Endangerment consists of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. The accused person isn’t required to intend the resulting or potential harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions.2

WHEREAS: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2010 (CAPTA) defines “child abuse and neglect” as meaning, “at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act,” which “results in death, serious physical or emotional harm…”3

WHEREAS: Psychotropic medications have adverse effects including: stroke,4 pancreatitis5, obesity, with children taking atypical antipsychotics adding eight to fifteen percent to their weight after the drugs for less than 12 weeks.6 A variety of drugs targeted towards the central nervous system are associated with cardiac side effects, including arrhythmia and sudden death.7 Type 2 diabetes is associated with some atypical antipsychotics.8 Symptoms of psychosis or mania, particularly hallucinations, are linked to methylphenidate (ADHD) drugs9, suicidality10, violent behavior11, agitation, hostility and impulsivity in antidepressants12, akathisia (drug-induced restlessness) in antidepressants and antipsychotics13, tardive dyskinesia (permanent impairment of voluntary movement) and other movement disorders14, and gynecomastia (female breast growth in boys prescribed the antipsychotic Risperdal).15 Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a severe iatrogenic and potentially fatal complication of antipsychotics.16 At least 20 psychotropic drugs have been linked to violent behavior, with reports of homicide, physical assaults, cases indicating physical abuse, homicidal ideation, and cases described as violence-related symptoms.17 Mood stabilizer drugs are associated with behavioral problems, including aggression and hyperactivity.18

WHEREAS: Foster children are being given cocktails of these powerful drugs and federal inspectors found more than half the children nationwide were poorly monitored.19 The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that between 20 and 39 percent of foster care children are prescribed psychotropic drugs.20 The Congressional Research Service found the number of children in foster care taking a psychiatric drug was more than four times the rate among children overall.21 One in nine children in foster care is prescribed antipsychotics, with potential life-debilitating and life-threatening effects.22

RECOMMENDATION

AMEND: Foster Care regulations to protect foster children and youths from the prescription of psychotropic drugs that can result in physical abuse or injury or endanger the child’s health.

The regulation addresses any child or youth under the care of state Child and Family Services in respect to: i) psychotropic drugs prescribed and administered them, ii) off-label prescribing, and iii) the observation of serious adverse effects of the prescribed psychotropic drugs and neglecting or failing to discontinue the medication, and where such acts result in disfiguring, physically damaging or life-threatening injury or effect to the child or youth. Therefore:

a) Such an act shall be considered chemical abuse.

b) Chemical abuse shall constitute “child abuse,” punishable in accordance with state child abuse laws.

 

References

1 “Child Endangerment Law and Legal Definition,” https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/child-endangerment/

2 “Reckless Endangerment Law and Legal Definition,” https://definitions.uslegaLcom/r/reckless-endangerment/

3 http://www.childsworld.ca.gov/res/OCAP/CAPTA-FactSheet.pdf

4 http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/lawsuit/adderall.html#.UzJJqs7Xlqw

5 “Pancreatitis Risk Seen in Schizophrenia Drugs,” The New York Times, 2 Sept. 2003, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/02/health/pancreatitis-risk-seen-in-schizophrenia-drugs.html

6 Duff Wilson, “Weight Gain Associated with Antipsychotic Drugs,” The New York Times, 27 Oct 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/business/28psych.html

“Drugged as Children, Foster-Care Alumni Speak Out, Use of Powerful Antipsychotics on Youths in Such Homes Comes Under Greater Scrutiny,” The Wall Street Journal, 23 Feb 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/artic!es/SB10001424052702303442704579361333470749104

7 http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0301/p617.html; “Psychotropic Drugs, Cardiac Arrhythmia, and Sudden Death,” J Clin Psychopharmacol, 2003;23: 58-77; http://resources.childhealthcare.org/resources/Psychotropic_Meds__Arrhythmia_and_Sudden_Death.pdf

8 http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUarticles/antipsychdiabetes.htm; http://www.jabfm.org/content/16/3/251.full.pdf

9 https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

10 https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM173233.pdf; https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

11 https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

12 “Worsening Depression and Suicidality in Patients Being Treated with Antidepressants Medications,” US Food and Drug Administration Public Health Advisory, 22 Mar. 2004.

13 “Worsening Depression and Suicidality in Patients Being Treated with Antidepressants Medications,” US Food and Drug Administration Public Health Advisory, 22 Mar. 2004.

14 “Anti-Psychotic Drugs Like Risperdal Overprescribed in Foster Children,” The Legal Examiner, 6 May 2014, http://newyork.legalexaminer.com/fda-prescription-drugs/anti-psychotic-drugs-like-risperdal-overprescribed-in-foster-children/

15 http://www.drugwatch.com/risperdal/

16 “Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome in Children and Adolescents on Atypical Antipsychotic Medication: A Review,” J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2009 Aug; 19(4): 415-422, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861947/

17 Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, December 2010.

18 Elisabetta Patorno, et al., “Anticonvulsant Medications and the Risk of Suicide, Attempted Suicide, or Violent Death,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 303, No. 14, April 14, 2010; http://jama.jamanetwork.com/articJe.aspx?articleid=185674 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20388896.

19 “Federal study finds alarming use of antipsychotics among nation’s poor children, foster kids,” CalNews.com., 30 Mar. 2015, https//calnews.com/2015/03/30/federal-study-finds-alarming-use-of-antipsychotics-among-nations-poor-children-foster-kids/

20 Kelly Patricia O’Meara, “Congress Saying Foster Kids are ‘Over-drugged’ is Like Saying Nuclear Waste is ‘Overly-toxic,’” 3 June 2014, http://www.cchrint.org/2014/06/03/congress-saying-foster-kids-are-over-drugged-is-like-saying-nuclear-waste-is-overly-toxic/

21 Op. Cit., Kelly Patricia O’Meara, “Congress Saying Foster Kids…”

22 “New study finds that drugs for schizophrenics are regularly dispensed to foster kids,” Business Insider, 9 June 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/many -foster -kids-medicated-with-antipsychotics-2016-6

Take Action – Missouri Legislature – Involuntary Commitment

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Periodically we let you know the progress of various proposed legislation making its way through the Missouri General Assembly and suggest ways for you to contribute your viewpoint to your state Representative and state Senator.

You can find your Representative and Senator, and their contact information, by entering your 9-digit zip code here.

This time, we’d like to discuss Senate Bill SB221, “Authorizes legal counsel for the Department of Mental Health to have standing in certain hearings involving a person unable to stand trial due to lack of mental fitness”, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Riddle (R, District 10).

“This act provides that after a person accused of committing a crime has been committed to the Department of Mental Health due to lack of mental fitness to stand trial, the legal counsel for the Department shall have standing to participate in hearings regarding involuntary medications for the accused.”

First off, we’d like to say that Involuntary Commitment (also called civil commitment) is a crack in the door of constitutional freedoms, and should be abolished.

This bill would modify Section 552.020, RSMo (Missouri Revised Statutes) which establishes this type of involuntary commitment in the state. The main topic of this statute states, “No person who as a result of mental disease or defect lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or her or to assist in his or her own defense shall be tried, convicted or sentenced for the commission of an offense so long as the incapacity endures.” Instead, the person is incarcerated against their will in a psychiatric facility. In effect, they are put in jail without a trial. This is often called NGRI, “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.”

Here (in italics) is the main requested change in the law: “If the court determines that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed, the criminal proceedings shall be suspended and the court shall commit him or her to the director of the department of mental health. After the person has been committed, legal counsel for the department of mental health shall have standing to file motions and participate in hearings on the issue of involuntary medications.

In other words, once the person becomes an involuntary ward of the state in a psychiatric facility, then the Department of Mental Health can force the person to be placed on psychiatric drugs by petitioning the court.

When any psychiatric facility has full legal power to cause your involuntary physical detention by force (kidnapping), drug you senseless, subject you to physical pain and mental stress (torture), leave you permanently mentally damaged (cruel and unusual punishment), with or without proving to your peers that you are a danger to yourself or have committed a crime (due process of law, trial by jury) then, by definition, a totalitarian state exists.

Because of their ubiquity and far–reaching powers, involuntary commitment laws lay a truly concrete foundation for totalitarianism. And they are not, it must be stressed, a threat of what might be, but a present danger — representing America’s gaping breach in the otherwise admirable wall of individual Constitutional rights.

Involuntary commitment laws hike federal, state, county, city and private health care costs under the strange circumstance of a patient–recipient who cannot say no.

And we have not even mentioned yet that the involuntary psychiatric drugs that this proposed change in the law sanctions are harmful and addictive, and are known to cause violence and suicide.

The person who pleads NGRI to a crime needs effective justice and rehabilitation, not psychiatric drugs.

Contact your Missouri state Representative and Senator, and let them know what you think about this.

For more information click here.

Washington University in St. Louis Shocks Pregnant Women

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Mark Wrighton, the Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), wrote in the Spring 2017 Washington magazine, “One of the [Leading Together fund raising] campaign’s priorities is to advance human health.”

This is a laudable goal, but it is belied by the University’s strong support of the psychiatric industry and the reprehensible actions of psychiatrists on the university payroll.

The WUSTL interest in Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and other harmful psychiatric “treatments” [Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)] is not superficial, it is widespread throughout the psychiatric department, and is a primary area of education for medical students.

Approximately 150,000 people get ECT every year in the US, with 2,000 shock treatments being done every year by WUSTL psychiatrists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Complications after treatment usually increase with the age of the patient; small surprise there. WUSTL psychiatrists say that, “ECT is considered a safe treatment modality in pregnant women in whom a number of medications may be associated with risk to the fetus.”

“The main inpatient psychiatry facility has 48 beds and is divided into three locked units — intensive care floor, step-down floor and a geropsychiatry floor. The units are located on the 15th floor of the main Barnes-Jewish teaching hospital and are closely integrated into all of the specialty care inpatient units (e.g., surgery, internal medicine, neurology) of the hospital. The 15th floor also houses an ECT suite where approximately 2,000 treatments are done each year.”

Medical Residents are trained in these procedures. “A major emphasis of our program is intensive clinical training underscoring diagnostic skills, somatic treatments including psychopharmacology, ECT, and experimental procedures such as rTMS and VNS.”

“Residents evaluate patients referred to the Treatment-resistant Depression and Neurostimulation Clinic and work on the ECT service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, providing ECT consults to the inpatient psychiatric services and to outpatients referred by their outpatient psychiatrist.”

These procedures are subjects of intensive research. “Faculty and staff of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine conduct federally funded and industry-sponsored research through the Center for Mood Disorders.” — These procedures include ECT, TMS, and VNS.

Dr. Charles Zorumski says, “Our clinical studies are examining the benefits and risks of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in various groups of patients with psychiatric disorders, including the use of ECT as a maintenance therapy.”

Dr. Pilar Cristancho boasts that she won an award in 2008 at the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society, 6th Annual Colloquium of Scholars for “Electroconvulsive Therapy for treatment of severe major depression during pregnancy.” She also conducts research for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on pregnant women.

Dr. Michael Jarvis expresses his interest in “suicide and treatments for significant psychiatric illness such as Electroconvulsive Therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.”

ECT can cost between $300 and $2,500 per session, there is apparently no set standard; a primary cost driver would be how much hospital support is required for the patient. With eight as the average number of treatments per patient, this means a course of ECT treatment will cost between $2,400 and $20,000. Medicare allowed charges are roughly $88 per session.

A TMS patient will usually have 20-30 treatments, typically in the range of $400-500 per session for a total cost of about $15,000.

The cost of implanting a VNS device is approximately $30,000 and up.

Predictably, the psychiatrists of WUSTL insist that ECT is safe and effective. Realistically, would you stick your finger in an electrical socket on purpose? Let alone your brain?

A prominent constitutional attorney was presented with a Human Rights Award at the 48th Anniversary celebration of the mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). The event, held in Los Angeles on March 4th, included hundreds of guests from around the world honoring the awardees for their work in the field of mental health reform. Among his accomplishments, Constitutional attorney Jonathon W. Emord is currently challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s (FDA) bizarre and dangerous proposal to reduce the risk classification of the electroshock treatment (ECT) device, which would make the brain-damaging procedure more widely used, including endangering children.

In accepting the award, Mr. Emord said, “ECT devices are a throw-back to an age of primitive torture, of ignorance and barbarism, where bludgeoning those with depression and psychoses into a lack of consciousness and awareness was considered therapeutic. This past year CCHR has done more than any other organization to fight against FDA’s indefensible proposal to make Electroshock Therapy devices far more available for psychiatric use, a move that would expand the horrors and compound the problems facing patients in need…Electroshock must be banned.”

Click here for more information about ECT and other horrifying psychiatric treatments.

This is Your Brain on TMS

Monday, March 6th, 2017

TMS is now available in St. Louis, according to local TV commercials promoting this crippling form of brain stimulation.

Techniques such as “transcranial magnetic stimulation” (TMS) are psychiatry’s latest experiment in treatment of the “mentally ill.”

In TMS, a magnetic coil is placed near the patient’s scalp and a powerful and rapidly changing magnetic field passes through skin and bone and penetrates a few centimeters (up to 2.5 inches) into the outer cortex (outer gray matter) of the brain and induces an electrical current. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) can cause seizures or epileptic convulsions in healthy subjects, depending upon the intensity, frequency, duration and interval of the magnetic stimuli.

With ECT and psychosurgery under intense critical public scrutiny, psychiatry is now feverishly searching for a new “breakthrough miracle” – and TMS is one of the new catch phrases.

The TMS St. Louis web site (http://www.tms-stlouis.com/) says “Deep TMS Therapy is an FDA-cleared depression treatment for patients with depression who have not benefited from antidepressant medications.” Well, that makes every patient in mental health care eligible for TMS, since patently none of them have benefited from the drugs.

Why do some people say it “works”?

No one denies that people can have difficult problems in their lives, that at times they can be mentally unstable. Unfortunately, not only do psychiatrists not understand the etiology (cause) of any mental disorder, they cannot cure them. In effect, psychiatrists are still saying that mental problems are incurable and that the afflicted are condemned to lifelong suffering.
Psychiatric treatments such as TMS, however, are unworkable and dangerous, and while they may temporarily mask some symptoms they do not treat, correct or cure any physical disease or condition.

TMS may temporarily relieve the pressure that an underlying physical problem could be causing but it does not treat, correct or cure any physical disease or condition. This relief may have the person thinking he is better but that relief is not evidence that a psychiatric disorder exists. Ask an illicit drug user whether he feels better when snorting cocaine or smoking dope and he’ll believe that he is, even while the drugs are actually damaging him. Some depression treatments can have a “damping down” effect. They suppress the physical feelings associated with “depression” but they are not alleviating the condition or targeting what is causing it.

The brain is your body’s most energy–intensive organ. It represents only three percent of your body weight but uses twenty–five percent of your body’s oxygen, nutrients and circulating glucose. Therefore any significant metabolic disruptions such as TMS can impact brain function.

The brain stimulation breaks the routine rhythmic flows and activities of the nervous system. The nerves and other body systems are forced to do things they normally would not do. The human body, however, is unmatched in its ability to withstand and respond to such disruptions. The various systems fight back, trying to process the disruption, and work diligently to counterbalance its effect on the body.

But the body can only take so much. Quickly or slowly, the systems break down. Human physiology was not designed for this type of brain stimulation. Tissue damage may occur. Nerves may stop functioning normally. Organs and hormonal systems may go awry. This can be temporary, but it can also be long lasting, even permanent. Like a car run on rocket fuel, you may be able to get it to run a thousand miles an hour, but the tires, the engine, the internal parts, were never meant for this. The machine flies apart.

Side effects (adverse reactions) of TMS may include headache, scalp discomfort, facial muscle spasms, lightheadedness, fainting; altered endocrine, immune or neurotransmitter systems; loss of consciousness; seizures; mania; hearing loss; and, if the patient is depressed, the “treatment” may induce or exacerbate suicidal feelings. Adverse reactions are often delayed – i.e. may appear long after the patient has left the doctor’s office.

You may hear that TMS is called “noninvasive”, but it does impact the brain in ways that are not fully understood. One could say it is “noninvasive” in the same way that ECT is noninvasive – i.e. it doesn’t break the skin. Scorch marks not included. Little is known about the long-term side effects. Cognitive impairment has also been observed in some cases. Using different stimulation intensities and/or patterns may also have significant effects on the long-lasting outcomes.

Typical treatment involves a 40-minute session, five days a week, for four to six weeks. The cost can range from $6,000 to $10,000.

Physically intrusive and damaging practices such as TMS violate the doctor’s pledge to uphold the Hippocratic Oath and “Do no harm.”

New high-tech “treatments” for the brain will continue to be used to create the appearance of scientific progress, but in the end, psychiatry will be no closer to identifying any causes or effecting any cures; instead, their betrayal and brutality in the name of mental health continues. Psychiatry has proven only one thing — without the protection of basic human rights, there can only be diminished mental health.

Persons in desperate circumstances must be provided proper and effective medical care. The correct action on a seriously mentally disturbed person is a full, searching clinical examination by a competent medical doctor to discover and treat the true cause of the problem. Mental health facilities should have non-psychiatric medical experts on staff and be required to have a full complement of diagnostic equipment, which could prevent more than 40% of admissions by finding and treating undiagnosed physical conditions.

Click here for more information about the brutal reality of abusive psychiatric practices such as electroshock, TMS, deep brain stimulation, and psychosurgery.

Hidden Side Effects

Friday, February 24th, 2017

A short article in the January, 2017 Scientific American indicates that “Researchers don’t always share the whole picture when it comes to the safety of drugs and other medical treatments.”

It goes on to say that “Approximately half of studies published on new medical treatments leave out at least some of the adverse effects they uncovered.”

Starting now, U.S. investigators conducting clinical trials will have to make all their findings publicly available, according to a new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Refer to the Trials Tracker here, to see who isn’t reporting all their clinical trial data.

The Trials Tracker currently shows the top 290 trial sponsors who have missing clinical trial data. Since 2006, 45% of all known trials are missing published data. Trials with negative results are twice as likely to remain unreported as those with positive results.

For example, in Missouri the Washington University School of Medicine has completed 141 trials of which 67 are missing published results; the University of Missouri-Columbia completed 31 trials of which 16 are missing results. Of the pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer has run 471 trials of which 62 are missing results; AstraZeneca completed 408 with 68 missing; Eli Lilly and Company ran 292 with 15 missing; Novartis Pharmaceuticals ran 534 with 201 missing; GlaxoSmithKline ran 809 with 183 missing; Bayer ran 267 with 106 missing; Takeda ran 211 with 72 missing.

The high level data does not show the drug or device under investigation, and drilling down to the base data does not show the class or type of drug. But as an example, we searched for Ritalin (methylphenidate) and found four completed clinical trials with no published results. We can only assume the results were negative.

Click here for the truth about psychiatric drugs.

Take Action – Missouri Legislature – Foster Care

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Periodically we let you know the progress of various proposed legislation making its way through the Missouri General Assembly and suggest ways for you to contribute your viewpoint to your state Representative and state Senator.

You can find your Representative and Senator, and their contact information, by entering your 9-digit zip code here.

This time, we’d like to discuss Senate Bill SB160, which Creates the Foster Care Bill of Rights, sponsored by Senator David Sater (R, District 29).

“This act establishes and enumerates the Foster Care Bill of Rights. The Children’s Division shall provide every school-aged foster child and his or her foster parent with an age-appropriate orientation and explanation of the bill of rights, as well as make them readily available and easily accessible online. Additionally, every Children’s Division office, residential care facility, child placing agency, or other agency involved in the care and placement of foster children shall post the bill of rights in the office, facility, or agency.”

This foster care bill of rights is primarily concerned with familial stability, which we think is a good thing. We would like to suggest an amendment aimed at reducing the amount of harmful psychotropic drugs regularly given to foster children in Missouri’s care.

Missouri Foster Care serves individuals age 0 to 21; not all states provide care to age 21. In FY2014 Missouri extended Medicaid benefits up to age 26 for individuals who have aged out of foster care. Medicaid pays for the psychotropic drugs given to foster children.

The high rates of psychotropic medication use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system.

Studies suggest that appropriate prescribing practices, that is, adhering to FDA-approved use and accepted clinical guidelines, may not always be followed for certain Medicaid populations such as the high-risk populations of children in foster care. In actual fact, multiple studies and reports have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive medication use. Children in foster care are often prescribed more than one psychotropic medication at the same time. A review in Missouri once found some children in foster care prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs.

Psychotropic Drug Classes given to children in Missouri foster care (contact CCHR STL at CCHRSTL@CCHRSTL.ORG  for the complete report, or download it from cchrstl.org/foster.shtml):

ADHD
Antianxiety
AntidepressantAntipsychotic_Combo
Antidepressants_MAOIs
Antidepressants_SSRIsAndSimilar
Antidepressants_Tricyclics
Antipsychotics_FirstGeneration
Antipsychotics_SecondGeneration
Barbiturates
Bipolar Disorder
InsomniaNarcolepsySleepDisorders

Total foster care drug costs in Missouri have averaged roughly $16 Million per year, with a total for the five years 2010-2014 over $81 Million. All of these psychotropic drugs given to Missouri foster care children between the ages of 0 and 26 are harmful and can have serious side effects including violence and suicide.

The top costs are for ADHD drugs and Antipsychotics for all ages. ADHD drug costs appear to be increasing year over year. Babies less than a year old are more commonly given Barbiturates, one presumes as a remedy for insomnia. Barbiturates are highly dangerous because of the small difference between a
normal dose and an overdose.

For all these reasons, CCHR would like to see an amendment for SB160 to this effect:

Foster Children have the right:
(a) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances unless authorized by a physician,
(b) To be informed of the risks and benefits of psychotropic medication in an age appropriate manner,
(c) To tell their doctor that they disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(d) To go to the judge with an advocate of their choice and state that they object to any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(e) To refuse the administration of psychotropic or other medication unless immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm,
(f) To refuse the off-label prescription of psychotropic drugs and at-risk polypharmacy,
(g) To have prescribing doctors disclose any financial ties they have to pharmaceutical companies in writing in an age appropriate manner.

Contact your Missouri state Representative and Senator, and let them know what you think about this. Such an amendment to the proposed legislation would certainly strengthen the rights of foster children and reduce the administration of psychiatric drugs, since they are all inherently damaging to young children and should not be held as standards of care.

For more information click here.

Drugging Children in Missouri Foster Care

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The high rates of psychotropic medication use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system.

Studies suggest that appropriate prescribing practices, that is, adhering to FDA-approved use and accepted clinical guidelines, may not always be followed for certain Medicaid populations such as the high-risk populations of children in foster care. In actual fact, multiple studies and reports have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive drug use. Children in foster care are often prescribed more than one psychotropic drug at the same time. A review in Missouri once found some children in foster care prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs.

Missouri Foster Care serves individuals age 0 to 21; not all states provide care to age 21. In FY2014 Missouri extended Medicaid benefits up to age 26 for individuals who have aged out of foster care.

In Fiscal Year 2015, Department of Social Services MO Healthnet (Medicaid) spent $1,254,900,000 for pharmacy services for 883,672 people, approximately 60% of whom were children. There were an average of 13,033 children monthly in Foster Care (19,429 individuals for the year.) The total 2015 state population of children under 18 was 1,399,075.

(Data is primarily from the Missouri Department of Social Services and Child Division reports available on the state website dss.mo.gov, as well as various Medicaid-related publications, and sites such as the Medicaid Statistical Information System.)

Average number of MO Children in Foster Care per month by Fiscal Year:

FY Avg # of Children per Month Total Individuals per Year
2003 12,246
2004 11,634
2005 11,402
2006 10,904
2007 10,571
2008 9,760
2009 9,532
2010 9,785
2011 10,536 16,493
2012 11,059 17,160
2013 11,257 18,289
2014 12,104 18,290
2015 13,033 19,429

You can see that over the last four years, Missouri has been experiencing an increase in the Foster Care population, which in 2015 was the highest in the previous 12 years; indicating at the very least unmanageable caseloads.

The average age of a child in Missouri Foster Care is 10 years old, and spends an average of 24 months in foster care.

In 2014, for example, there were 7,259 Children entering or reentering state custody. There were 24,388 children, in or out of foster care, who were receiving public mental health services (meaning they were likely on one or more psychotropic drugs.)

For 2008, Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit statistics for Missouri from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show 122,274 children 5 years of age or younger; 121,095 ages 6 to 14; and 54,645 ages 15 to 20. This includes children in foster care. The top drug group for all these prescriptions in terms of cost was antipsychotics.

Missouri consistently ranks nationally in the bottom one-third of overall health status as compared to other states. Nationally, about 14 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries used a psychotropic medication during calendar year 2011. In 2011, Medicaid spent about $8 billion in fee for service for psychotropic medications—30 percent of the program’s total fee-for-service drug spending.

Some General Observations from the Data
1. Top costs are for ADHD drugs and Antipsychotics for all ages.
2. ADHD drug costs appear to be increasing year over year.
3. Babies less than a year old are more commonly given Barbiturates, one presumes as a remedy for insomnia. Barbiturates are highly dangerous because of the small difference between a normal dose and an overdose.
4. Total foster care drug costs have averaged roughly $16 Million per year, with a total for the five years 2010-2014 over $81 Million.

Drug Classes given to children in Missouri foster care (ask us for a copy of the full report):
ADHD
Antianxiety
AntidepressantAntipsychotic_Combo
Antidepressants_MAOIs
Antidepressants_SSRIsAndSimilar
Antidepressants_Tricyclics
Antipsychotics_FirstGeneration
Antipsychotics_SecondGeneration
Barbiturates
Bipolar Disorder
InsomniaNarcolepsySleepDisorders

 

Recommendations / Model Legislation
§ As an example, there are currently close to 63,000 children and youth in California’s Child Welfare System. Refer to this model legislation from California:
California Assembly Bill AB-1067
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1067
Approved by the Governor 09/30/16.
Requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to convene a working group to develop standardized information about the rights of all minors and nonminors in foster care, and expands requirements regarding the distribution of information regarding these rights.

§ As another example, see this draft copy of suggested California legislation to expand the rights of children in foster care regarding the use of psychotropic drugs:
http://www.cchrstl.org/documents/Draft%20CA%20Foster%20Care%20Bill.pdf
A bill to amend the existing Foster Child Bill of Rights (WIC 16001.9) to strengthen the rights of foster children to participate in any decision to require mental health treatment and psychotropic medication. The state of California finds that Foster Children are subjected to excessive diagnosis and treatment by psychotropic medications, and hereby amends the Foster Child Bill of Rights to include the following additional protections for children under the care of Child Protective Services.
Section 16001.9 (a) 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
(5) (a) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances unless authorized by physician,
(b) To be informed of the risks and benefits of psychotropic medication in an age appropriate manner,
(c) To tell their doctor that they disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(d) To go to the judge with an advocate of their choice and state that they object to any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(e) To refuse the administration of psychotropic or other medication unless immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm,
(f) To refuse the off-label prescription of psychotropic drugs and at-risk polypharmacy,
(g) To have prescribing doctors disclose any financial ties they have to pharmaceutical companies in writing in an age appropriate manner.

§ Go here to download more information about drugging foster care children:
http://www.cchrstl.org/documents/facts_about_foster_care_children.pdf

Suicides in Missouri

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

The Columbia Missourian newspaper thinks that training various professionals in how to recognize and treat suicidal impulses would help prevent suicides in Missouri.

Not to say they are wrong, but they are missing some information about the causes of suicide.

They say that in Missouri, one person dies by suicide every 8.5 hours, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Missouri; Missouri is ranked 18th out of the 50 states for the highest suicide rate. Nationally, 117 people die by suicide every day.

Mental health groups are lobbying to pass laws requiring mental health professionals to undergo specific suicide prevention training. We suspect these are the groups that would benefit monetarily from providing the training.

Of course, what they don’t say is that there is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence and suicide: 22 international drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation as potential side effects of psychotropic drugs.

Despite these international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs causing violence and suicide, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence. Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects.

For example, The Commission of the European Communities in 2005 issued the strongest warning against child antidepressant use stating that the drugs were shown to cause suicidal behavior including suicide attempts and suicidal ideation.

In 2009 the U.S. FDA required warnings on some antidepressants for symptoms of suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Congressman Ron Paul in 2013 said, “Right now we’re suffering from an epidemic of suicide in some of our veterans, and we have a lot of violence in our schools and somebody just did a study in which they took the last ten episodes of violence where young people went and took guns and irrationally shot people, all ten of them were on psychotropic drugs.”

The Eli Lilly corporation for nearly fifteen years covered up their own internal investigation that showed that anyone on Prozac is twelve-times more likely to attempt suicide than those using other antidepressants.

Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, author of Prozac Backlash, says antidepressants could explain the rash of school shootings and mass-suicides over the last decade.

Rather than reducing suicide, a review of published SSRI antidepressant clinical trials determined that they increase the risk of suicide. Suicide is the major complication of withdrawal from Ritalin and similar amphetamine-like drugs.

Suicide and violence have been escalating among youths. Too often this has been falsely attributed to their “mental illness,” when, in fact, the very methods used to “treat” such “illness” are the cause of the problem. In a report that Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in August 2013, it stated, “Antidepressant medications have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.”

A study of 950 acts of violence committed by people taking antidepressants found 362 murders, 13 school shootings, 5 bomb threats or bombings, 24 acts of arson, 21 robberies, 3 pilots who crashed their planes and more than 350 suicides and suicide attempts.

Furthermore, an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) said it had “found no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality.” Which speaks against the Columbia Missourian‘s push for suicide training.

In the U.S. Military, potentially up to 50 percent of those committing suicide had at some point taken psychiatric drugs and up to nearly 46 percent had taken them within 90 days. The suicide rate increased by more than 150 percent in the Army and more than 50 percent in the Marine Corps between 2001 to 2009. From 2008 to 2010, military suicides were nearly double the number of suicides for the general U.S. population, with the military averaging 20.49 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to a general rate of 12.07 suicides per 100,000 people.

Yet the practice of prescribing seven or more drugs documented to cause cardiac problems, stroke, violent behavior and suicide (to veterans) is still prevalent.

What causes violence in people who take psychiatric drugs? One reason may be a common side effect called akathisia commonly found in people taking antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants. Akathisia is a terrible feeling of anxiety, an inability to sit still, a feeling that one wants to crawl out of his or her skin. Behind much of the extreme violence to self or others we see in those taking psychiatric drugs is akathisia.

It is not just the taking of antidepressants that can cause extreme violence. Withdrawal from antidepressants can cause extreme violence too.

The first step toward creating less violence and self-harm is to recognize the role that psychiatric drugs play. “Given the nature and potentially devastating impact of psychotropic medications…we now similarly hold that the right to refuse to take psychotropic drugs is fundamental.” [Alaska Supreme Court, 2006]

The bottom line — by all means train professionals about suicide; but include the real causes, and don’t push psychiatric drugs as the solution.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

According to PDMP proponents, because some people abuse prescription drugs, the government should track all people who use them – regardless of whether a person has committed any crime. We call this “inspection before the fact of any wrongdoing,” or “pre-crime,” the tendency in criminal justice systems to focus on crimes not yet committed.

In this year’s Missouri legislative session House Bill 1922 was introduced by Rep. Jay Barnes (R, 60), called “Prescription Abuse Registry”. Fortunately the bill was referred to the Health Insurance Committee with no further action.

Individuals 18 years and older who have been reported to the Department of Health and Senior Services by a health care provider or their parent or child that they believe such individual has abused controlled substances would be listed in the registry.

So far, Missouri is the only state without a PDMP.

Wait, that’s not all. Senate Bill 768 was introduced by Sen. Rob Schaaf (R, 34), called the “Prescription Drug Monitoring Act”. According to this bill, the Department of Health and Senior Services would be required to establish and maintain a program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances by all licensed professionals who prescribe or dispense these substances in Missouri to anyone aged 18 or older. This bill was heard by the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee with no further action.

Not to be deterred by defeat in the Missouri legislature, the St. Louis County Council passed its own version of a PDMP in March 2016, saying that it is too easy for people to become addicted to prescription drugs. And the City of St. Louis passed its own PDMP version in May.

The problems with PDMPs stem from our right to privacy and due process as protected by amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Ninth Amendment says that “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This has been interpreted as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments. The Fourteenth Amendment says that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

While we certainly wish no citizen to suffer from the very real and harmful effects of drug addiction, we also recognize that when the government interferes with an individual’s self determinism, even a self-destructive self determinism, we are sliding down the slope to Big Brother knows all, tells all, and controls all.

We much prefer the route of education and rehabilitation, where we beef up society’s efforts to handle drug problems with appropriate education and effective rehabilitation; not to mention curbing the abuse of psychiatric drugs and concomitant psychiatric fraud and abuse.

When psychiatrists or doctors prescribe dangerous, potentially life-threatening and addictive psychotropic drugs to children and adults, they should be charged with reckless endangerment because these drugs are documented to cause side effects including, but not limited to, suicide, mania, violence, heart problems, stroke, diabetes, death and sudden death.

For example, most of the ADHD literature prepared for public consumption does not address the abuse potential or actual abuse of methylphenidate (Ritalin.) Instead, methylphenidate is routinely portrayed as a benign, mild substance that is not associated with abuse or serious side effects. In reality, however, there is an abundance of scientific literature which indicates that methylphenidate shares the same abuse potential as other Schedule II stimulants. Regarding PDMP then, why not just correct the literature, instead of counting how many times a Ritalin prescription is filled? This would be a more productive way to address Ritalin abuse.

Start by educating yourself, your family, your legislators, your associates and acquaintances, about the dangers and abuse potential of psychiatric drugs.

The Greater Good

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

What are the limits that the State can do claiming “The Greater Good?”

Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. To pass a strict scrutiny review, the legislature must have passed the law to further a “compelling governmental interest,” and must have narrowly tailored the law to achieve that interest.

The concept of “strict scrutiny” arises from the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The situations we are considering here are any attempts by the legislature to require that a child or adult be forced to take psychotropic drugs, or indeed to be forced to accept any kind of psychiatric treatment, including involuntary commitment.

There are not many issues in the field of mental hygiene law which raise more controversy than that of involuntary commitment and treatment. The courts have unequivocally recognized that involuntary treatment, meaning involuntary or “civil” commitment and enforced drugging, by the government is a substantial deprivation of liberty, and therefore falls under the aegis of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, there has continued to be a legal erosion of this principle by passing laws stipulating the rules of due process in such cases, all intended to give the State more power to enforce their own considerations of what is the greater good.

Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 632 Section 300 is an example. To paraphrase,  if a mental health coordinator has reasonable cause to believe, as the result of personal observation or investigation, that the likelihood of serious harm by a person to himself or others as a result of a mental disorder is imminent unless the person is immediately taken into custody, the mental health coordinator must request a peace officer to take the person into custody and transport them to a mental health facility.

We no longer have any compelling governmental interest, since it is one person’s judgment or opinion, not the government’s; and the due process of law in this case is just one person’s judgment or opinion, sanctioned by a law that clearly was tailored to bypass strict scrutiny.

The fact that these actions are couched in such doublespeak as “to prevent him from committing harm” is unfortunate, for it hides the evil intention to incapacitate the individual.

For more information, click here.