Psychiatry and Cannabis

There is an abundance of research literature highlighting the harmful effects of cannabis (marijuana), yet a large number of psychiatrists still advocate for additional research in the hope that they can find some beneficial use for it.

Some Cannabis History

The demonization of cannabis was an extension of the demonization of Mexican immigrants in the early 1900’s. The idea was to have an excuse to search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively banned its use and sales. While the Act was ruled unconstitutional in 1969, it was replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 which established Schedules for ranking substances according to their dangerousness and potential for addiction. Cannabis was placed in the most restrictive category (Schedule I.)

In 1967, a group of prominent psychiatrists and doctors met in Puerto Rico to discuss their objectives for psychotropic drug use on “normal humans” in the year 2000. In what could well be a sequel to Huxley’s novel — only it wasn’t fiction — their plan included manufactured “intoxicants” that would create the same appeal as alcohol, marijuana, opiates and amphetamines, producing “disassociation and euphoria.” The rise of such psychotropics was likely related to the illegality and relative unavailability of other psychedelic drugs.

Psychiatry Promoting Cannabis

Partly due to the questionable legality of marijuana, it was not generally available as a psychiatric treatment, although various psychiatrists have promoted it for such.

In the 1840’s French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau promoted marijuana as a medicine. Psychedelic drugs were studied for mental health conditions in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and a renewed push for their research and use is currently underway. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), was founded in 1986 by Rick Doblin specifically to promote marijuana and psychedelics as “medicines.”

In 1992, Australian psychiatrists called for heroin, cocaine and marijuana to be sold legally in liquor stores.

Another example is the psychiatric research paper “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Psychosis” from 2016.

This quote expresses the psychiatric hope for cannabis: “Australian psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, renowned for his debunked and dangerous theory that pre-drugging adolescents with antipsychotics can prevent psychosis, now plans to prescribe medical cannabis to treat ‘anxious’ 12 year olds.”

This quote expresses another point of view: “…medicinal marijuana research suggests a joint a day might keep your psychiatrist away,” said Dr. Jeremy Spiegel, a psychiatrist on the east coast.

Rachna J. Patel, a psychiatrist in California, treats patients with marijuana.

The Harm that Cannabis Does

However, in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association said, “There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder.” The research was starting to show significant harm from cannabis use.

Here are some relevant quotes about the harmful effects of cannabis:

“There’s consistent evidence showing a relationship over time between heavy or repeated cannabis use (or those diagnosed with cannabis use disorder) and an experience of psychosis for the first time.”

“The heaviest users of cannabis are around four times as likely to develop schizophrenia (a psychotic disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly) than non-users. Even the ‘average cannabis user’ (for which the definition varies from study to study) is around twice as likely as a non-user to develop a psychotic disorder.”

Use of cannabis to treat depression appears to exacerbate depression over time.”

“Cannabis can activate latent psychiatric issues.”

Cannabis is not a safe drug. Depending on how often someone uses, the age of onset, the potency of the cannabis that is used and someone’s individual sensitivity, the recreational use of cannabis may cause permanent psychological disorders.”

Cannabis Addiction

Today, psychiatrists are embracing all things marijuana because they are getting so many patients with marijuana-related problems such as addiction and psychosis. “Marijuana-related problems fall well within the scope of psychiatric practice: many patients use marijuana, which is likely to affect their psychiatric symptoms and response to treatment.”

In fact, marijuana addiction is such a significant problem that there are 31 entries in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) related to this addiction:

Cannabis intoxication
Cannabis intoxication delirium
Cannabis intoxication delirium, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication delirium, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication delirium, Without use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, Without use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, Without use disorder
Cannabis use disorder
Cannabis use disorder, Mild
Cannabis use disorder, Moderate
Cannabis use disorder, Severe
Cannabis withdrawal
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, Without use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, Without use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, Without use disorder
Unspecified cannabis-related disorder

So there is a shift in psychiatry from treatment of mental health problems with cannabis to treatment of cannabis addiction. They go where the money is.

Psychiatrists and other behavioral health professionals need to better understand the relationship between cannabis and mental disorders so that they can respond to increasing medical and recreational marijuana use among their patients.”

Unfortunately, the last thing any psychiatric treatment has achieved is rehabilitation from addiction.

Since the 1950’s, psychiatry has monopolized the field of drug rehabilitation research and treatments. Its long list of failed cures has included lobotomies, insulin shock, psychoanalysis and LSD.

Due to their drug rehabilitation failures, psychiatry redefined drug addiction as a “treatable brain disease,” making it conveniently “incurable” and requiring massive additional funds for “research” and to maintain treatment for the addiction. This has led to Medication-Assisted Treatment, where the drugs used to treat addiction are as addictive as the original ones.

The Latest Bandwagon, CBD

Since there is so much harm done by the THC in cannabis, many psychiatric researchers are putting their bets on cannabidiol (CBD), which is a cannabinoid lacking THC — such as psychiatrist José Alexandre S. Crippa of Brazil, who says “that cannabinoids may, in the future, become an important option in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and disorders.”

Research findings in “Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial” “suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia.”

Diana Martinez, Columbia professor of psychiatry, said, “If cannabidiol is moved off of Schedule I, a lot more research will be able to happen.”

Robert D. McMullen, a psychiatrist in New York, “remains hopeful that we will be able to develop substances that are going to target types of anxiety and depression with these cannabinoids but we haven’t reached that point yet.”

“While there are trials that suggest potential benefit of cannabinoids for [various psychiatric conditions], insufficient conclusion could be made due to the low quality of evidence…” [November 30, 2017]

Again, expressing the psychiatric hope: “While it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, we know that it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication, so it could represent a new class of treatment.”

The jury is still out about the science and any potential benefit (or harm) of CBD, but the competition to get there first is intense, due to the potential of billions of dollars in taxes, pharmaceuticals, research funds, and other economic and psychiatric vested interests.

Psychiatric Drug Pushers

The history of psychiatry makes it clear that over many, many years they have been pushing dangerous drugs as “medicines.”

LSD moved into psychiatric ranks in the 1950’s as a “cure” for everything from schizophrenia to criminal behavior, sexual perversions and alcoholism. Ecstasy was used in the 1950’s as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Benzodiazepine tranquilizers became known as “Mother’s Little Helper” in the 1960’s. The cocaine-like addictive stimulant Ritalin (known among children as “Vitamin R”) is still in use for childhood behavioral problems, and suicide is a major complication of withdrawal from this and similar amphetamine-like drugs.

Today at least 17 million people worldwide are prescribed minor tranquilizers. Coincidentally, the world today is suffering from massive social problems including drug abuse and violence. We don’t have enough data yet about CBD to know its long-term effects; but then, we didn’t originally know about the long-term destructive effects of LSD, Ecstasy, benzodiazepines, Ritalin, and so on when they were first pushed onto an unsuspecting society.

These drugs can only chemically mask problems and symptoms, they cannot and never will be able to solve problems. The true resolution of many mental difficulties begins, not with a checklist of symptoms, but with ensuring that a competent, non-psychiatric physician completes a thorough physical examination.

People in desperate circumstances must be provided proper and effective medical care. Medical, not psychiatric, attention, good nutrition, a healthy, safe environment and activity that promotes confidence will do far more than the brutality of psychiatry’s unproven drug treatments.

You May Be Seeing Things That Aren’t Really There

But You Can See The Wool Being Pulled Over Your Eyes

Hallucinations and delusions are possible complications of Parkinson’s disease (PD). They are often referred to as PD psychosis. It’s estimated to occur in up to 50 percent of people with PD.

Hallucinations during PD can be frightening and debilitating. There are many factors that can contribute to hallucinations in people with PD, but the majority of cases occur as side effects of PD drugs.

Psychotic symptoms are related to high levels of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is often one of the adverse reactions of psychiatric drugs.

There are many drugs that may contribute to hallucinations or delusions in people with PD, including sedatives and anti-seizure drugs.

Another danger is that a person experiencing PD psychosis may be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and prescribed antipsychotics which may cause serious side effects and can even make hallucinations and delusions worse.

In 2016 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antipsychotic drug pimavanserin (Nuplazid) specifically for use in PD psychosis because it does not alter levels of dopamine in the brain as much as other antipsychotics.

However, Acadia Pharmaceutical’s antipsychotic drug pimavanserin is now facing public scrutiny and fiscal uncertainty after a report from CNN in April 2018 detailed the deaths of more than 700 patients prescribed this drug since June 2016. You may be seeing advertisements for pimavanserin (Nuplazid) now in an attempt to reverse its negative publicity.

The exact mechanism of action of pimavanserin is unknown; however, it messes with the level of serotonin in the brain like other antipsychotics do. Special dosing requirements are necessary when other drugs being given along with pimavanserin have strong CYP450 interactions.

Nuplazid carries the black box warning “Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death.” It also has a known adverse reaction of hallucinations with 5% of those taking it, which is exactly what it is supposed to prevent. Since no one knows how it is really supposed to work, it is just a guess based on what is observed during clinical trials, with the hope that its side effects won’t be too drastic, and that enough of it can be sold before the outcry against its adverse side effects becomes loud enough to ban it.

It’s just another harmful psychiatric drug whose purpose is to make money at the expense of vulnerable people, and make more patients for life due to its damaging side effects. Click here for more information about these harmful psychiatric drugs.

Mental Health and Social Justice

Social Justice: Fair and just relations between the individual and society, assigning rights and duties in the institutions of society, so that people receive basic societal benefits in return for their cooperation and participation.

In the Health Care field, social justice often means affordable access to ethical and effective health care.

In the field of Human Rights, we defer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

In Mental Health Care, we promote the Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights. All human rights organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles of CCHR and the standards against which human rights violations by psychiatry are relentlessly investigated and exposed. Under the banner of the Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, tens of thousands of people around the globe have joined CCHR and taken to the streets to protest psychiatric drugging and other inhumane mental health practices.

Through stigmatizing labels, unscientific diagnoses, easy seizure commitment laws and brutal, depersonalizing “treatments,” thousands around the world suffer under psychiatry’s coercive system every day. It is a system that exemplifies human rights abuse. Modern psychiatry still has no scientific veracity and knows and admits it, but keeps up the charade for the sake of profit.

By depicting those they label mentally ill as a danger to themselves or others, psychiatrists have convinced governments and courts that depriving such individuals of their liberty, is mandatory for the safety of all concerned. Wherever psychiatry has succeeded in this campaign, extreme abuses of human rights have resulted.

One of CCHR’s primary concerns with psychiatry is its unscientific diagnostic system. Unlike medical diagnosis, psychiatrists categorize symptoms only, not disease. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) published by the American Psychiatric Association is notorious for low scientific validity.

Understanding this fraudulent diagnostic premise, we can see why psychiatry and psychology, entrusted with billions of dollars to eradicate the problems of the mind, have created and perpetuated them. Their drug panaceas cause senseless acts of violence, suicide, sexual dysfunction, irreversible nervous system damage, hallucinations, apathy, irritability, anxiousness, psychosis and death. And with virtually unrestrained psychiatric drugging of so many of our schoolchildren, it is no surprise that the largest age group of murderers today are our 15–to–19–year–olds.

Drugging children with addictive, violence-causing mind-altering psychotropic drugs is the “social justice” currently being employed by the psychiatric mental health industry. The rationale is, the drugged kids will now be able to compete with children from wealthier families who attend better schools. Rutgers psychiatrist Ramesh Raghavan, formerly at Washington University in St. Louis, chillingly said, “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal [to ‘level the playing field’ in low-income neighborhoods], which is psychotropic medicine.”

The whole basis for this “social justice” program in low-income communities—that the ADHD drugs will improve school performance of kids and “level the playing field,” so they can compete academically with children from wealthier families—this whole program is based on a lie to begin with.

Meddling with the brains of children via these chemicals constitutes criminal assault, and it’s time it was recognized for what it is.

CCHR believes that everyone has the right to full informed consent regarding psychiatric drugs and other psychiatric treatments. Find out more by clicking here.

Crime and Mental Distress

A recent news report suggests that “Having a mental illness makes people more vulnerable to becoming the victims of a crime.”

We wondered about this, because it sounds just like the incessant and inane psychobabble coming out of the “psychology today” brain mill.

These results are suspicious because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists “Victim of crime” as a mental disorder. So it’s hard to imagine that both “mental illness causes being a victim of crime” and “being a victim of crime causes mental illness.” It’s a no-win situation, and the fact that the DSM is a fraudulent machine used to sell psychiatric drugs does not make it more palatable.

The DSM-5 also has fourteen other diagnoses about being a victim in various abusive situations, and thirteen diagnoses about being the perpetrator of abuse or violence. It would seem that both victims and perpetrators are the focus of a lot of attention; so many ways to prescribe psychiatric drugs known to cause violence.

The study authors are using these questionable results to assert that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of crime, giving the benefit of doubt to those who commit violence and further contributing to the perception of the “dangerous environment” so necessary to the existence of coercive psychiatry.

They are trying to prove that school shooters are not mentally ill, because this taint goes against the massive psychiatric public relations campaign to “stop the stigma of mental illness,” which is really a campaign underwritten by pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs.

The fact is, the real criminals here are psychiatrists and psychologists.

The soaring crime rate began to rise when psychiatrists and psychologists infiltrated the fields of education and law. When you put criminals in charge of crime, the crime rate rises.

If psychiatrists and psychologists actually knew what they were doing, the crime rate would drop. Instead, they conduct sham research about the relationship between crime and mental illness, instead of actually curing people and cementing the safety and security of society.

Real criminals would want to obfuscate the issues and point the finger away from themselves. Guess what? When the criminal mind accuses others, he is likely disclosing his own type of crime. And the fact is, psychiatric drugs cause violence, proven again and again as psych-drug-addled school shooters rage on.

Criminals think everyone else is a criminal, since they cannot envision people being decent. Psychiatrists and psychologists, focusing their attention on crime and illness, fail to observe human decency, and think there is nothing else but crime, deceit, and violence — all to be suppressed with harmful and addictive drugs, electroshock, psycho-surgery, involuntary incarceration, and restraints.

Recommendations

1. Legislative hearings should be held to fully investigate the correlation between psychiatric treatment and violence and suicide.

2. Toxicology testing for psychiatric and even illicit drugs should be mandatory in cases where someone has committed a mass shooting or other serious violent crime.

3. Train law enforcement officers, school security and teachers in the adverse effects of psychotropic drugs in order to recognize that irrational, violent and suicidal behavior in persons they may face could be influenced by these drugs.

4. No student shall be forced to take any psychotropic drug as a requisite of their education, in alignment with Title 20 of United States Code: Chapter 33, “Education of Individuals with Disabilities,” Subchapter II, (25) “Prohibition on mandatory medication.”

Psychiatric Drugs, School Violence, and Big Pharma Cover-Up

A study published June 12, 2018 from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that more than one-third (37.2%) of U.S. adults may be using prescription drugs that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide.
[JAMA. 2018;319(22);2289-2298. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6741]

Information about more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014 was analyzed, along with more than 200 commonly prescribed drugs. However, many of these drugs are also available over the counter, so these results may underestimate the true prevalence of drugs having side effects of depression.

In other words, the use of prescription drugs, not just psychiatric drugs, that have depression or suicide as a potential adverse reaction is fairly common, and the more drugs one takes (called polypharmacy), the greater the likelihood of depression occurring as a side effect. “The likelihood of concurrent depression was most pronounced among adults concurrently using 3 or more medications with depression as a potential adverse effect, including among adults treated with antidepressants.”

Approximately 15% of adults who used three or more of these drugs concurrently experienced symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts, compared with just 5% for those not using any of these drugs. Roughly 7.6% of adults using just one of these drugs reported a side effect of depression or suicidal thoughts during the study period, and 9% for those using two of these drugs. These results were the same whether the drugs were psychotropic or not. Depression was determined by asking nine questions related to the symptoms defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

“Commonly used depression screening instruments, however, do not incorporate evaluations of prescribed medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect.” In other words, so-called depression screening tests can register false positives when the person is taking one or more of roughly 200 prescription drugs.

We thought we should dig a little deeper into this phenomenon.

First, understand that there is no depression “disease”. A person can certainly have symptoms of feeling depressed, but this is not a medical condition in itself. An example of a medical condition with a symptom of depression would be a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. You don’t fix it with an antidepressant; you fix it with vitamin B1. There are hundreds of medical conditions that may have mental symptoms, just as there are hundreds of drugs that can cause or worsen these symptoms. Finding the actual causes with appropriate clinical tests and then fixing what is found is the correct way to proceed.

This leads to a topic known as CYP450, which stands for Cytochrome P450 enzymes. Cytochrome means “cellular pigment” and is a protein found in blood cells. Scientists understand these enzymes to be responsible for metabolizing almost half of all drugs currently on the market, including psychiatric drugs.

These are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, which is the breakdown of drugs in the liver or other organs so that they can be eliminated from the body once they have performed their function.

If these drugs are not metabolized and eliminated once they have done their work, they build up and become concentrated in the body, and then act as toxins. The possibility of harmful side effects, or adverse reactions, increases as the toxic concentration increases. The ballpark estimate is that each year 2.2 million Americans are hospitalized for adverse reactions and over 100,000 die from them.

Some people are deficient in CYP450 or have diminished capacity to metabolize these drugs, which may be a genetic or other issue. Individuals with no or poorly performing CYP450 enzymes are much more likely to suffer the side effects of prescription drugs, particularly psychiatric drugs known to have side effects of depression, violence and suicide.

These metabolic processes are immature at birth and up to three years old, and this may result in an increased risk for drug toxicity in infants and young children. Furthermore, certain drugs or certain excipients in vaccines may inhibit activation of CYP450 enzymes, again resulting in an increased risk for the accumulation of non-metabolized drugs and the resultant increase in adverse side effects such as depression, violence and suicide.

The side effects caused by a CYP450 deficiency and its subsequent failure to metabolize any one of hundreds of drugs can then be misdiagnosed as a mental illness, the patient then being prescribed more psychiatric drugs in a mistaken attempt to treat those side effects, further complicating the problems.

It is estimated that 10% of Caucasians and 7% of African Americans are Cytochrome P450 deficient.

The psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries have been aware of this phenomenon for some time, yet they have continued to push psychiatric drugs at an ever increasing rate, and the dramatic increase in symptoms of depression, suicide, and school violence is a direct result.

No one should be prescribed these types of drugs without adequate testing for a CYP450 deficiency, in order to determine their risk potential for adverse reactions. The test is not “standard of care” so one has to ask for it; but beware, they will still recommend an alternative drug if the original one cannot be easily metabolized. Better yet, stop prescribing all psychiatric drugs and find out with proper medical, clinical tests what the real problems are and treat those. Full informed consent is always indicated.

Any psychiatrist or pharmaceutical company that has knowingly withheld evidence about the relationship between CYP450 enzymes and drug side effects should be subject to both prosecution and litigation.

Medical students should be educated about these relationships.

For more information click on any of the links in this newsletter.

Nuedexta, PCP in Disguise

Nuedexta (dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate) marketed by Avanir Pharmaceuticals is FDA approved for the treatment of PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), a so-called neurological condition thought to cause involuntary, sudden, and frequent episodes of crying and/or laughing, observed with patients having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), strokes, or traumatic brain injury. It was originally approved in 2010 by the FDA for such emotional instability.

Dextromethorphan may cause serotonin syndrome, a buildup of an excessive amount of serotonin in the body, and this risk is increased by overdose, particularly if taken with other serotonergic agents, SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants.

Side effects of serotonin syndrome can be altered mental status, muscle twitching, confusion, high blood pressure, fever, restlessness, sweating, tremors, or shivering. Use of Nuedexta with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants increases the risk of these side effects.

These are not all the possible side effects.

The quinidine in the formula is used to suppress metabolism of the dextromethorphan in order to increase the bioavailability of the dextromethorphan, and is not part of the treatment for PBA. Dextromethorphan acts on the central nervous system, but the mechanism by which dextromethorphan exerts any therapeutic effects in patients with PBA is totally unknown — it’s just a guess from clinical observations that it might have such a symptomatic effect.

Dextromethorphan, derived from an opioid analgesic, is sometimes referred to as DXM or the poor man’s PCP (phencyclidine, or Angel Dust), and is also used recreationally — acting as a dissociative anesthetic producing hallucinogenic states, delusions, or paranoia. At high concentrations, DXM can result in a false-positive for PCP on a drug screen. It is a nonselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Its previous primary use since 1958 is as a cough suppressant. Regular use over a long period of time can cause withdrawal symptoms. DXM is often used as a substitute for marijuana, amphetamine, and heroin by drug abusers, and its use as an antitussive (cough suppressant) is now known to be less beneficial than originally thought.

We think that part of the danger of this drug is that it can be prescribed for various symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) just because of its claims of symptomatic relief — in spite of the fact that its mechanism of operation is unknown, its use can be severely abused, and its side effects can be fatal; and the symptoms of its side effects as well as the original medical issues can lead to the prescription of other dangerous and addictive psychiatric drugs.

Examples of DSM diagnoses that may be involved are “Histrionic personality disorder”, “High expressed emotion level within family”, “Adjustment disorder, With mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct”, and “Unspecified mental disorder due to another medical condition”.

Nuedexta is not thought of or advertised as a psychotropic drug, but exposing its camouflage one can now see that essentially it is psychoactive and should be avoided — another example of a psychiatric drug disguised as a legitimate medical drug.

Click here for more information about dangerous psychiatric drugs.

The Manufactured Crisis of Prescription Drug Prices

“Manufactured Crisis – How Devastating Drug Price Increases Are Harming America’s Seniors”

This report was prepared in 2018 by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Minority Office as requested by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

It examines the history of rising drug prices between 2012 and 2017 for the twenty brand-name drugs most commonly prescribed for seniors.

Drugs were identified using data from Medicare Part D, and average prices were statistically calculated to come up with annual weighted average wholesale acquisition costs.

Of the twenty drugs in the report, two are used off-label for psychiatric purposes:
§ Lyrica (pregabalin), approved for controlling epileptic seizures and neuropathic pain, is also used off-label as an anti-anxiety drug; it carries a warning that it may cause suicidal thoughts or actions.

§ Synthroid (levothyroxine), a synthetic thyroid hormone approved for hypothyroidism, is also used off-label as an antidepressant, although a specific, causally significant hormonal deficiency has not been identified for depression; it has potential side effects of hair loss, mental and mood changes such as depression, easily broken bones, heart problems, and seizures.

A Lyrica prescription rose in average cost between 2012 and 2017 from $264 to $600 (a 127% increase), while the number of prescriptions rose from 9.1 million to 10.3 million (a 14% increase).

A Synthroid prescription rose in average cost between 2012 and 2017 from $96 to $153 (a 60% increase), while the number of prescriptions dropped from 23.0 million to 18.4 million (a 20% drop).

The report concludes, “Soaring pharmaceutical drug prices remain a critical concern for patients and policymakers alike. Over the last decade, these significant price increases have emerged as a dominant driver of U.S. health care costs.”

Frankly, we do not have a particular bone to pick about the cost of prescription drugs; what does concern us more is the off-label use of medical drugs for fraudulent psychiatric conditions, and the seriousness of their potential side effects. If this concerns you as well, please let Senator McCaskill know your thoughts about this.

We recommend informed consent for any treatment plan. Protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing information about possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, as well as information about alternative treatments.

Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit

The New York Times had an article April 7, 2018 discussing the fact that antidepressants are actually addictive and have withdrawal symptoms. Quotes are from this article.

“As far back as the mid-1990s, leading psychiatrists recognized withdrawal as a potential problem for patients taking modern antidepressants.”

On the other hand, CCHR has been making this known since 1969. Psychiatrists have been loathe to admit the addictive nature of antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs, and euphemistically call the side effects of withdrawing from psychiatric drugs “discontinuation syndrome”.

Drug addiction in the 1960’s became an increasing problem, and when investigated it was found that psychiatrists were pushing drugs and addicting people as a “cure.”

“Long-term use of antidepressants is surging in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal data by The New York Times. Some 15.5 million Americans have been taking the medications for at least five years. The rate has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000.”

Nearly 25 million adults have been on antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.

“Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.”

We recommend Informed Consent. Protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing information about possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, as well as information about alternative treatments.

“Antidepressants are not harmless; they commonly cause emotional numbing, sexual problems like a lack of desire or erectile dysfunction and weight gain.”

“Patients who try to stop taking the drugs often say they cannot. In a recent survey of 250 long-term users of psychiatric drugs — most commonly antidepressants — about half who wound down their prescriptions rated the withdrawal as severe. Nearly half who tried to quit could not do so because of these symptoms.”

“The truth is that the state of the science is absolutely inadequate … We don’t have enough information about what antidepressant withdrawal entails, so we can’t design proper tapering approaches.”

Polypharmacy is another significant problem, wherein a patient is prescribed many, possibly negatively-interacting drugs, often by multiple doctors who might be unaware of each other’s prescription orders. Often, these are drugs that the patient has been taking for a long period; they may be affecting the patient’s health negatively or are simply no longer beneficial. This is often addressed by deprescribing, which is the process of reducing the medication burden of a patient who might no longer need one or more of their prescriptions. Deprescribing principles are intended to improve health care for the patient by minimizing the harm and costs associated with polypharmacy, and minimizing the withdrawal effects of stopping one or more drugs.

Medications that may be considered for discontinuation include drugs that are no longer indicated, drugs that pose a risk for untoward side effects, drugs that interact adversely, drugs that are given to mitigate the side effects of another drug, and addictive drugs that have withdrawal side effects. However, addictive drugs should never be discontinued abruptly, since the withdrawal side effects can be severe.

For more information about how to safely withdraw from these harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, download and read the booklet Coming Off Psych Drugs Harm Reduction Guide.

Did You Know You Have Been Paying for Drug Company Ads?

Drug companies have too much influence in Washington, D.C. – so it figures we’re one of the only nations in the world that allows both advertising of prescription drugs to consumers and for those ads to be subsidized by taxpayers.

Under current law, drugmakers can fully deduct the cost of television, online, magazine, and radio ads from their taxes—-all while continuing to hike drug prices for all Americans. You might be tired of paying for it with your taxes.

In 2015 alone, drug companies in the U.S. spent more than $6 billion on fully tax-deductible advertising expenses.

According to the Internal Revenue Code “ordinary and necessary” business expenses are tax deductible, including most advertising costs.

The direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs, however, should not be treated the same as other advertising, since in many cases it disperses deceptive information, hinders the patient-doctor relationship, encourages patients to choose drug-based solutions over lifestyle-based ones, reduces the amount spent on research and development, and increases spending on drugs without a corresponding health benefit.

In the case of psychotropic drugs, clearly these ads dispense deceptive information, as we have repeatedly written about. In the face of these compelling public policy justifications, the Tax Code could be revised to deny tax deductions for DTCA. While the First Amendment protects free speech, this protection does not require Congress to continue to subsidize DTCA.

Hence Senate Bill S.2478 has been introduced into Congress – “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to deny the deduction for advertising and promotional expenses for prescription drugs” [115th Congress, 2017-2018].

The real problem with the psycho-pharmaceutical industry is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, stigmatize unwanted behavior as  “diseases,” and prescribe harmful and addictive drugs to keep patients in the mental health care system. Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax – unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. Why are we continuing to subsidize their advertising? Contact your U.S. Senators to support S.2478.

Mental Health “Care” Coming to Your Community

News articles extolling “Community Mental Health” continue to be published across the United States and abroad. We thought you should know more about this.

These articles generally discuss funding, either the lack or availability of public funding, for various mental health care programs — such as Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC), police Crisis Intervention Teams, Suicide Programs, Veterans Programs, Mental Health Courts, Emergency Management or Crisis Counseling, Violence Prevention, School Safety, or other public/private ventures in the mental health care industry. They also generally complain about the lack of a sufficient number of psychiatrists or psychologists in relation to the target population. Let us help put the record straight about this.

History of CMHC

In 1955, a five-year inquiry by the U.S. Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health recommended replacing psychiatric institutions with Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). According to Henry A. Foley, Ph.D., and Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D., authors of Madness in Government, “Psychiatrists gave the impression to elected officials that cures were the rule, not the exception,” a claim that the psychiatric industry could not and still cannot substantiate.

The advent of Community Mental Health psychiatric programs in the 1960s would not have been possible without the development and use of neuroleptic drugs, also known as antipsychotics, for mentally disturbed individuals. Neuroleptic is from Greek, meaning “nerve seizing”, reflective of how the drugs act like a chemical lobotomy.

These community facilities and programs were promoted as the solution to all institutional problems. The premise, based almost entirely on the development and use of neuroleptic drugs, was that patients could now be successfully released back into society as long as they were taking these drugs. Ongoing service would be provided through government-funded units called Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC). These centers would tend to the patients from within the community, dispensing the neuroleptics that would keep them under control. Governments would save money and individuals would improve faster. The plan was called “deinstitutionalization.”

The first generation of neuroleptics, now commonly referred to as “typical antipsychotics” or “typicals,” appeared during the 1960s. They were heavily promoted as “miracle” drugs that made it “possible for most of the mentally ill to be successfully and quickly treated in their own communities and returned to a useful place in society.”

These claims were false, as neuroleptics are now known to have devastating side effects. In an article in the American Journal of Bioethics in 2003, Vera Sharav stated, “The reality was that the therapies damaged the brain’s frontal lobes, which is the distinguishing feature of the human brain. The neuroleptic drugs used since the 1950s ‘worked’ by hindering normal brain function: they dimmed psychosis, but produced pathology often worse than the condition for which they have been prescribed — much like physical lobotomy which psychotropic drugs replaced.”

Author Peter Schrag wrote in Mind Control, by the mid-seventies enough neuroleptic drugs and antidepressants “were being prescribed outside hospitals to keep some three to four million people medicated fulltime – roughly ten times the number who, according to the [psychiatrists’] own arguments, are so crazy that they would have to be locked up in hospitals if there were no drugs.”

After a decade of the Community Mental Health program, consumer advocate Ralph Nader called it a “highly touted but failing social innovation.” It “already bears the familiar pattern of past mental health promises that were initiated amid great moral fervor, raised false hopes of imminent solutions and wound up only recapitulating the problems they were to solve.”

As for the funding of CMHCs and psychiatric outpatient clinics, the fact is that psychiatry’s budget in the United States soared from $143 million in 1969 to over $9 billion in 1997 – a more than 6,000% increase in funding, while increasing by only 10 times the number of people receiving services. The estimated costs today are over $11 billion.

If collecting these billions in inflated fees for non-workable treatments wasn’t bad enough, in 1990 a congressional committee issued a report estimating that Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) had diverted between $40 million and $100 million to improper uses, and that a quarter of all CMHCs had so thoroughly failed to meet their obligations as to be legally subject to immediate recovery of federal funds.

Psychiatrists have consistently blamed the failure of deinstitutionalization on a lack of community mental health funding. In reality, they create the drug-induced crisis themselves and then, shamelessly, demand yet more money.

The CMHCs became legalized drug dealerships that not only supplied drugs to former mental hospital patients, but also supplied psychiatric prescriptions to individuals not suffering from “serious mental problems.” Deinstitutionalization failed and society has been struggling with the resultant homelessness and other disastrous results ever since.

Accompanying the psychiatric push for expanded community mental health programs is their demand for greater powers to involuntarily commit individuals. Psychiatrists disingenuously argue that involuntary commitment is an act of kindness, that it is cruel to leave the disturbed in a tormented state. However, such claims are based on the dual premises that 1) psychiatrists have helpful and workable treatments to begin with, and 2) psychiatrists have some expertise in diagnosing and predicting dangerousness. Both suppositions are patently false.

In spite of receiving huge increases in funding in the United States, psychiatry and psychology not only failed but managed to make things drastically worse; rates of drug abuse, suicide, illiteracy and crime continue to rise.

The real message is this: in spite of an investment of billions of dollars for psychiatric promises, the world has received nothing but presumptuous demands from psychiatric vested interests for more money.

Contact your local, state and federal authorities and legislators and demand that funding for psychiatric promises be revoked until the mental health industry can prove its effectiveness with actual cures.