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Under Reported

Just Say No to Bush's Drugs

October 02, 2004

By: Melissa Carr

Independent Media TV

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A little-known initiative by President Bush is quietly creeping through the United States. The proposal is based on recommendations from the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. It is part of the broader New Freedom Initiative for the disabled. The Commission convened in April 2002 and released its report with recommendations on July 2003. Although this proposal has been largely overlooked by the mass media, it plans to impact every American citizen in a very frightening way.

The report points to the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a model on which to base the national mental health agenda. TMAP was a pilot program under then-Governor Bush that standardized certain medications for certain mental illnesses in a flow chart fashion. The report also recommends that every citizen in the United States should be screened for mental illness, including children. It states, ?Each year, young children are expelled from preschool and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders.? It then suggests early detection is paramount in mental health and ?schools can help address mental health problems.? Beyond the classroom, the report suggests screenings should be addressed in primary care ?throughout the lifespan.?

So, the commission has determined that everyone should be tested for mental illness and a flow chart determines which medication should be used to treat it. Sound alarming? It should, especially upon hearing what Allen Jones has to say about it. Mr. Jones was employed as an investigator in Pennsylvania?s Office of Inspector General. He was investigating corrupt activities involving pharmaceutical companies offering honorariums to state officials. The OIG manager told him, ?Drug companies write checks to politicians?they write checks to politicians on both sides of the aisle,? and changed his assignment.

Jones decided to continue his investigation on his own time. And he discovered that TMAP, which Pennsylvania adopted in 2002 under then-Governor Tom Ridge, was in fact driven by pharmaceutical companies who were lavishing Texas politicians, as well as making sure their most expensive patented drugs (some with potentially lethal side effects) were listed as the designated treatments on the algorithms. Jones released a 66-page whistleblower report about the scandal in January 2004 and was subsequently fired by the OIG.

Included in his report is background information on each member of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, offering valuable insight on this group of individuals who decided all citizens should be screened and possibly medicated for mental illness. Among them you will find Michael Hogan, whose research institute relies heavily on pharmaceutical company grants. Another is Norwood Knight-Richardson, a Texas college buddy of Bush Sr. whom he appointed as then-Governor to the Texas drug and alcohol council during the establishment of TMAP. Knight-Richardson is also the director of a pharmaceutical delivery company that has significantly profited from contracts in post-war Iraq.

The Bush family has direct pharmaceutical connections as well. According to the British Medical Journal, Bush Sr. was a board member at Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and Bush Jr. appointed Lilly?s CEO, Sidney Taurel, as a member of Homeland Security Council.

One might have been able to write off Allen Jones? stunning report as a conspiracy theory, if it weren?t for the lawsuits of Dr. David Franklin and Dr. Stefan Kruszewski. Franklin, a former Warner-Lambert (now part of Pfizer) employee, was ?paid to lie to doctors? about prescribing the drug Neurontin in cases where it was neither clinically safe nor effective. Pfizer pleaded guilty to criminal fraud and agreed to pay $430 million in fines. That amount pales in comparison to the $2.9 billion in annual Neurontin sales.

Dr. Kruszewski was hired as a psychiatric consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services. In his current federal lawsuit, he alleges he was fired after he uncovered corrupt relations between Pennsylvania politicians and pharmaceutical representatives. Allegations of fraudulent medication billings to the United States government were also voiced. Even more disturbing, however, is his allegation that four children and one adult died while under the state?s care, and all were prescribed lethal combinations of anti-psychotic drugs. He was denied access to the autopsy records and later fired.

Illinois has been the first state to adopt the New Freedom Commission?s proposal. All children ages 0-18 and pregnant women must undergo mandatory mental health screenings. Iowa is moving towards adopting the proposal. On September 15, Congress voted 95-315 against a bill to cut federal funding for school mental health screenings.

The implications are astounding. Politicians are bedding with pharmaceutical companies at the detriment of the American people. But even more alarming is the concept of forced screenings and the desire to drug our children. If there are that many children suffering from mental illness, we need to examine our society to find out why. Prevention is the answer?NOT doping up young children with mind-altering psychotropic medications!

If this initiative proliferates, how long before parents of diagnosed children will be charged with negligence if they choose not to medicate their children? The New Freedom Initiative is another anti-freedom policy spawned by Bush that reeks of corruption and malicious intent, but is disguised a goodwill gesture towards the disabled. As with the Patriot Act, Bush applied a buzzword, freedom, and assumed it would enjoy support from the ignorant masses. It is now the responsibility of every American citizen to stand up and just say no to Bush?s drugs.

References: - Page 5. Legislation for the proposal has already been introduced in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada, with governors in Iowa and Florida also supporting the screenings.

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