Lobbies in Congress for mass mental health screening

May 12, 2005
        Wealthy special interests, including the powerful pharmaceutical industry, have launched a major lobbying campaign in Congress to counter the growing grassroots rejection of mass mental health screening. The new lobbying effort is in response to the growing support for HR 181, the Parental Consent Act, by a coalition of groups, including EdAction. HR 181 would blunt the power of government and drug companies to subject all of our children to vague, subjective testing and increased drugging Mass mental health screening is a dangerous development, and it must be stopped. Parents understand this.

Following is a letter from one of the many national groups within the coalition supporting HR 181:

Lobbying Campaign for Child Mental Health Screening is Advertising Gimmick for PhRMA
 Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
        The big guns of America's mental health establishment including  the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill -- are making a united front in support of mass mental health screening of American children--as recommended in the  New Freedom Commission report. Get the facts here.
        The stakeholders in this campaign (see below) have an enormous vested interest in inflating the roster of children and adults who get labeled "mentally ill"--employment for their members, increased budgets from pharmaceutical donations and government grants, and power.  This unholy coalition of special interest groups is lobbying Congress in opposition to Congressman Ron Paul's efforts to stop this Orwellian initiative by denying federal funding for it.
        Cong. Ron Paul's bill, HR 181: "The Parental Consent Act of 2005" strikes a vital blow for parents who oppose government interference with their parental authority, and strengthens the fundamental right of parents to direct and control the upbringing and education of their children.  This bill already has 33 co-sponsors. (Click here to view.)

        Congress is beginning to act to reverse the dangerous and tyrannical trend of schools requiring the drugging of children in order to receive an education.  In the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law, schools can no longer require that special education students be forcibly drugged with powerful controlled substances like Ritalin and Adderall in order to be in school or receive services. 
        A separate bill that would have afforded that same protection to all students passed the US House 425-1, but was blocked in the Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who appeared to be acting at the behest of the pharmaceutical lobby.  Rep. John Kline (R-MN) introduced an expanded version of that bill, HR 1790. This legislation would prohibit coercion by schools to require that ANY student be on ANY psychotropic drug.  The bill would cover not only controlled substances like Ritalin associated with violence and cognitive toxicity, but also antidepressants like Prozac that are associated with suicide, violence, and withdrawal; and antipsychotic medications that are associated with diabetes.  This legislation already has 18 co-sponsors and is a priority of the NAACP for this session of Congress. 

        Needless to say, the huge amount of lobbying resources available to the organizations lobbying against parental right to say no--have the backing of the pharmaceutical industry.  Criticisms of President Bush's New Freedom Commission's recommendations for mass mental health screening of Americans have come from numerous quarters: parents, physicians, academics, journalists, civil and human rights groups.

Critics have pointed out:         The story of Aliah, a 13- year-old girl, perfectly illustrates the outcome of mental health screening of children.
        After psychologists from the University of Texas visited her school to conduct a mental health screening for sixth- and seventh-grade girls, Aliah's life took a dramatic turn.  

        Over the next year, after being forcibly removed from school by police and child protection officials as a result of this screening, Aliah spent a total of nine months in a state mental hospital and residential treatment facilities. For five of those months, she was allowed no contact with her family.  In hospital, she was placed in restraints more than 26 times and medicated -- against her will and without  her parents' consent--with at least 12 different  psychiatric drugs, many of
them simultaneously.
        Aliah's story was published in Mother Jones which has graciously provided  free access to the entire article, "Medicating Aliah ," to AHRP and AHRP Infomail recipients: Use access code: MJZL6Y. 

        AHRP asks the organizations that support mental health screening of American children and adults to disclose exactly how much financial support they receive from the pharmaceutical industry.

Organizations for Ron Paul's Parental Rights bill, HR 181, do not take money from drug companies.:

Able Child    
American Association of Physicians and Surgeons
International Center forthe Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP)
Psych Rights
We Hold these Truths
TheLiberty Committee
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP)
Concerned Women for America
Following are the Campaign Partners who support screening Americanchildren for mental disorders:
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/HyperactivityDisorder
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (FFCMH)
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
National Association of County Behavioral Health Directors (NACBHD)
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH)
National Empowerment Center (NEC)
National Mental Health Association (NMHA)
National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse
Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPANUSA)
United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA)