Child Medication Safety Act, HR 1790
May 2, 2005


        Rep. John Kline introduced the Child Medication Safety Act (HR 1790) in Congress on April 21st with 16 co-sponsors, including Representatives Gil Gutknecht and Mark Kennedy. The Act protects children and their parents from being coerced into administering psychotropic medications in order to attend school.

            In this legislation, schools would be prohibited from requiring parents to put their children on powerful psychotropic medications. The legislation is very important because it allows parents to have their children educated, not medicated. It will prevent schools from forcing parents to use medication to keep their children in school, instead of getting the proper academic or other help for behavior difficulties that these children need. It also prevents the use of powerful drugs to enforce the acceptance of the psychosocial, non-academic standards of the federal curriculum on those who disagree by disguising resistance as academic under-performance.

        Dr. Karen Effrem has testified in Congress that medical literature demonstrates that these medications are overused, ineffective, have dangerous side effects, and most importantly that the "disorders" that they treat are vague social constructs -- that there are many other reasons for behavior and learning disorders that do not require medication.

        The World Health Organization, in its World Health Report, 2001, stated, 'Childhood and adolescence being developmental phases, it is difficult to draw clear boundaries between phenomena that are part of normal development and others that are abnormal.'

        The Surgeon General stated in 1999 that, 'The science is challenging because of the ongoing process of development. The normally developing child hardly stays the same long enough to make stable measurements. Adult criteria for illness can be difficult to apply to children and adolescents, when the signs and symptoms of mental disorders are often also the characteristics of normal development.'

        Last year Congress appropriated grants to local school districts to treat teenagers suffering from mental, emotional or behavioral disorders.This will result in more psychiatric drugging in schools. Congress also provided $7 million for grants for  additional interventions, which will also result in more screening and drugging of children and adolescents.  (See our July 26th update
 
        The Department of Education is spending $5 million on 'Mental Health Integration in Schools&apos, as well as $1 million for Senator Kennedyˇs disastrous early childhood mental health program called Foundations for Learning.   (See our update.)  One example of the need to prohibit coercion to medicate is demonstrated in an article just out -- Medicating Aliah.:
ALIAH GLEASON IS A BIG, lively girl with a round face, a quick wit, and a sharp tongue. She's 13 and in eighth grade at Dessau Middle School in Pflugerville, Texas, an Austin suburb, but could pass for several years older. She is the second of four daughters of Calvin and Anaka Gleason, an African American couple who run a struggling business taking people on casino bus trips...Aliah was a B and C student who "got in trouble for running my mouth."
First diagnosed by school personnel as having "oppositional disorder", Aliah was later screened for mental illness and taken to the  Austin State Hospital, a state mental facility, against her parents wishes. "What, if anything, was wrong with Aliah remains cloudy." The entire story is on-line. Other parents have testified before Congress of similar situations.


The following members of Congress are co-sponsoring HR 1790:

Rep Barrett, J. Gresham [SC-3]  Rep Boehner, John A. [OH-8] - 4/21/2005
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5]  Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 4/21/2005
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2]        Rep Gutknecht, Gil [MN-1] - 4/21/2005
Rep Hostettler, John N. [IN-8]  Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] - 4/21/2005
Rep Kennedy, Mark R. [MN-6]     Rep LaTourette, Steve C. [OH-14] - 4/21/2005
Rep Lewis, Ron [KY-2]   Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 4/21/2005
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6]  Rep Souder, Mark E. [IN-3] - 4/21/2005
Rep Wicker, Roger F.            Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] - 4/21/2005