SHUT UP AND TAKE YOUR DRUGS
President George W. Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health is pushing for nationwide screening based on a similar program created while he was governor of Texas.
One of the main goals of the president's commission is to ensure "early mental health of young children, improve and expand school mental health programs, screen for mental disorders in primary health care, across the life span and connect to treatment and supports."
The Bush administration, long tied in an unholy, generational alliance with the pharmaceutical companies, hopes to pattern this massive effort to get more Americans on drugs after the Texas Medical Algorithm Project (TMAP) in effect since 1995. This summer the British Medical Journal, daring to do what no U.S. publication would do, showed the connection between the pharmaceutical industry and the dangers associated with the TMAP program. Investigators and medical professionals were fired for calling attention to the abuses (including patient deaths) associated with TMAP. Under TMAP it was not unusual for some people to be placed on more than five psychiatric drugs at once.
What will happen under this national push to gain more market share for the drug companies? As with TMAP, people refusing drugs for what are diagnosed as a wide array of "disorders" can expect not only to be forced to take powerful and extremely dangerous neuroleptics, but also to receive shock treatment.
Sound like something out of "Cuckoos Nest"? Electro Convulsive Therapy or ECT is alive and well and sparking fear in the hearts of Americans each and every day. While you might think this Frankenstein-like "treatment" is a relic of the dark, dank asylums of the past, think again. Forced ECT happens here. It is an all too- often- used modality for "severely" depressed people. And get this- virtually every state has loopholes allowing shock therapy and drugs to be administered over the objections of the "patient". (A note here; psychiatric professionals have long railed against the term "person" or "consumer" when referring to those they deem to need their "medical" attention.) Bush policy advisor on the New Freedom Commission, and his appointee on the Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, psychiatrist Sally Satel has stated "coercive treatment" is essential. Satel, never one to oppose giving shrinks the power to do extreme mental makeovers on people, shows just how chilling the climate in this administration is getting by adding there's an "overemphasis" on patient "rights" that "people need to be protected from themselves" and that often "coercion" is essential.
Bush's advisor Satel adds this horrifying hint at her "Me Doctor- You Subject" mentality when she adds: "My capacity as a physician has often been frustrated by laws that prevent me from doing my job". This is the type of influence that makes the president's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health one of his worst civil and human rights abuses to date. And that's saying something. (I wonder whether Satel (or Bush for that matter) ever read that reference in the Bill of Rights to " the right of the people to be secure in their persons…."?)
This plan by the Bush administration to test all Americans for "mental illness"(just imagine all the ways that could be defined!) hasn't gone unnoticed by those whose lives have been made "chemical hell" through forced psychiatric drugging. MindFreedom International, an umbrella group for over 100 advocacy groups says the New Freedom Commission has got to be stopped. They think this is nothing but a plan "cooked up" by the pharmaceutical companies. Group director David Oakes says "we demand President Bush start (the screening) with himself. We will provide the mental health professional to do the screening". As a matter of fact they have secured the professional services of just such a professional. Patch Adams. The real one. The Virginia medical doctor who's life story was made into a popular movie starring Robin Williams said " I'll see him for free".
The president's plan to track down people(especially kids and teens) looking for "emotional" and "mental" problems only gets more terrifying when you add new drug-delivery technologies to the mix.
University of Pensylvania professor and psychiatrist Steven Seigel has developed an implant for time releasing neuroleptic, antipsychotic medications like Haldol. The device, the size of a quarter, if approved and marketed could replace the locked wards of the mental institutions with what has been called a "chemical straitjacket". Imagine, added to the president's mental health screening plan, an inch-wide implant that can deliver- for periods up to a year- powerful mind-numbing drugs that are reported to cause structural brain damage ( Seigel was asked to implant himself with the device and drug Haldol for a year. He reportedly just smiled and turned away).Inherently coercive, these drugs and their time release delivery systems eclipse even the most far-fetched mind control conspiracy theories out there.
The implant is now being pitched to the FDA as a method of delivering the drug Haldol. A few of Haldol's side effects include confusion, disorientation, blurred vision, worsening glaucoma, facial tics, jitters and drug-induced Parkinsonism. It is a drug that has been described by former(forced) users as " torture".
Implant inventor Seigel says his device is intended to "empower patients to relieve them of the burden of having to remember to take their drugs". Why keep this good old American ingenuity all to ourselves? The good Doc Seigel has his sights set on selling the implant to "developing countries worldwide." Another special American gift to the underprivileged of the world, I suppose. And just think of the places it would go! Prisons! Daycare Centers! Nursing Homes!
Yes, indeed, the current administration is hell-bent on funding the ever-expanding use of mind-controlling, mind-numbing drugs. Your money will now go to fund hundreds of millions of dollars MORE for mental health schemes than last year's budget allowed for.  The American Psychiatric Association (which, by the way just LOVES what Bush is doing with your money!) boasts of the increase in funding which, of course , translates into more money for them and their pharmaceutical buddies, in their July issue of Advocacy News. The publication also mentions that the Bush administration is "appreciative" of their efforts to quash mass media's coverage of the negative aspects and abuses inherent in the New Freedom Commission.
I'll leave you with the words of psychiatrist-inventor Steven Seigel: "There is still a segment of the population that has a profound mistrust of psychiatry. We need people to understand that we are not trying to do things to them but do things for them".
1, British Medical
Journal, Summer/ 2004
© 2004 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved
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Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows. E-Mail M123STAR@aol.com
This plan by the Bush administration to test all Americans for "mental illness"(just imagine all the ways that could be defined!) hasn't gone unnoticed by those whose lives have been made "chemical hell" through forced psychiatric drugging.