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January 25, 2006

Taxpayer Funds Promote Child Screening & Drugging
The Abramoff scandal pales in comparison to the stench of the mental health establishments influence over government, causing our children to be labeled in infancy and creating a never-ending market for psychiatric drugs.
Sadly, here is another case where the rhetoric of government officials and agencies bears no resemblance to reality and the truth.  This time it involves our children being labeled mentally ill in infancy by vague and politically motivated criteria and becoming lifelong dependents on ineffective and dangerous medications. The cost of these deceptions to our children, our freedoms of conscience and religion, our parental authority, and our treasure will be incalculable.

During the October 17th, 2005 meeting with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrator (SAMHSA) administrator Charles Curie, Mr. Curie made some significant statements. The statements were made to EdWatch, AHRP, and other members of the coalition of national groups opposing universal mental health screening and psychiatric drugging that are recommended in the New Freedom Commission (NFC) report. The recommendations are being implemented and funded by the federal government, state laws, and private and government grants.

Curie admitted the lack of scientific validity of the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) psychiatric drug program. He also stated that TeenScreen is no longer a model program. The facts are, however, that both TMAP and TeenScreen are still present and/or receiving federal funding. His other statements in the October meeting included: It took only a cursory review of the Action Agenda and other SAMHSA documents to see that none of these statements is true: The NFC report is the very foundation of the federal Action Agenda. This Agenda involves at least 13 different offices and agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and at least five different cabinet level departments. It includes the Department of Education, where many ineffective and dangerous federal mental health programs, like Foundations for Learning for 0-7 year olds (see Dr. Effrems description of this program) and the politically correct "Early Warning, Timely Response" (see the quote regarding intolerance from the Department of Educations website for this program) are already rampant from preschool to high school. 
The Action Agenda is the means to implement the NFC recommendations.  Both the Action Agenda itself and several other SAMHSA documents contain statements such as, CMHS [Center for Mental Health Services within SAMHSA] has contracted with a number of national mental health organizations to provide technical assistance to States in the development of activities and plans to implement the New Freedom Commission recommendations. [Emphasis added.]
Not only is there an enormous discrepancy between Mr. Curies statements and the facts, but the agency also admits in the Action Agenda and accompanying documents that it is using our tax dollars to recruit non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement the NFC recommendations:
Forty-five states have received technical assistance from these groups via SAMHSA. Parents in the state of Missouri even received training in how to lobby for more taxpayer funds to pay for these ineffective and dangerous programs.  Every one of the organizations listed above has a vested financial, power, or professional interest in expanding the mental health system and has been a wholesale, uncritical supporter of the screening and medication recommendations in the NFC report. These groups completely ignore contradictory scientific and medical evidence. The State Mental Health Program Directors and NAMI have received millions of dollars in grants from the pharmaceutical industry. 

NFC chairman Michael Hogan is the director of the Ohio Mental Health Department, which was one of the first to adopt TMAP (Texas Medication Algorithm Project). He is one of its most aggressive promoters, and he has traveled across the country - all expenses picked up by drug manufacturers. Hogan also served on an "Advisory Committee" of Janssen Pharmacia, manufacturer of the antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone) a TMAP-recommended first line treatment. Thanks to Hogan and the other state mental health program directors, TMAP has spread to at least a dozen states and is affecting thousands of children, as young as age three, in juvenile justice, foster care [1] and welfare programs.  The cost of these psychiatric drugs is bankrupting state Medicaid programs. Besides being exorbitantly expensive, the drugs are ineffective. Every large study not funded by the pharmaceutical industry has demonstrated this. The FDA has issued stringent black box warnings, as well, for fatal side effects of these drugs in some group of people.[2]

These points and more were discussed in a follow-up letter from the national coalition of concerned groups to SAMHSA on December 12, 2005.  Mr. Curies reply to that letter did not address a single one of these concerns.
It appears that SAMHSA was not really interested in answering the concerns of EdWatch, and others about these invalid and dangerous programs.  It also appears that interests of the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatric establishment are more important to their lapdogs in Congress and the bureaucracy than are the rights of parents, children and citizens.

The Abramoff scandal pales in comparison to the stench of the mental health establishments influence over so many areas of the federal government and, in turn, so many areas of state governments. Their influence causes our children to be labeled in infancy, and it creates a never-ending market for psychiatric drugs. The long term effects of these drugs on the brains of our children are unknown. They also create a market for other drugs used to treat the chronic side effects like obesity and diabetes, and they will be needed throughout the lives of those affected, enhancing drug company profits while bankrupting taxpayer funded programs. As these programs multiply, the use of politically motivated labeling and drugging for children who do not comply with the indoctrination of the federal curriculum will increase. Brave New World will appear less and less like fiction unless these programs are stopped.

What will you do to stop it?  Stay tuned for more of this story and for what you can do.

[1] Over 60% of foster children in Texas, nearly two-thirds in Massachusetts, and 55% of foster children in Florida are on as many as 16 different psychiatric drugs, starting as young as age 3.

[2] For a summary of the latest studies and medical information showing the dangers and ineffectiveness of psychiatric medications, see here.

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