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Baker Act Symposium
12 Jul
2

Mental Health Watchdog Hosts Baker Act Defense Attorney Symposium

Baker Act SymposiumThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) hosted a conference on the Florida mental health law for defense attorneys for the purpose of discussing strategies to effectively serve families and to eradicate violations of the law at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater.

Commonly called the Baker Act, Florida’s mental health allows for men, women and children to be taken into custody and held for involuntary psychiatric examination across the state and in the 15 years from 2001/2002 to 2015/2016 the number of Baker Acts more than doubled with 194,354 initiations. [1]

The symposium, attended by attorneys from Jacksonville to Fort Myers, covered changes to the mental health law, significant case law and successful actions for defending the rights of citizens being held under a Baker Act.

“Over the past several years important changes have been made to the Baker Act which specifically better protect the rights of children and hosting this symposium was important so that these attorneys could share their successful actions in defending clients being held for involuntary psychiatric examination,” said Diane Stein, President of the Florida chapter of CCHR.

“We intend to keep helping attorneys working in this vital area as much as we can,” said Ms. Stein. “We owe this to the victims of Baker Act violations that happen in our state every day.”

While the original stated intention of the Baker Act was to protect the rights of citizens sent for involuntary psychiatric examination, it has become a source of great abuse prompting CCHR Florida to not only host this symposium but to launch a public information campaign in 2016 to educate Floridians on their rights under this law. As part of this campaign, CCHR hosts a seminar regularly delivered at their center in downtown Clearwater by attorney Carmen Miller who, as a former Assistant Public Defender in the Thirteenth Circuit in Tampa, has a great deal of experience on the mental health law. Now in the private sector, Ms. Miller specializes in cases of those who have been Baker Acted. To learn more about the Baker Act or to reserve a seat at the next seminar please call 727-442-8820 or visit http://www.cchrflorida.org/events/.

Sources:

[1] Baker Act Annual Report http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

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Sad Copy
03 Jul
0

CCHR Warns Officials About Forced Drugging and Illegal Baker Acting in Florida

Sad CopyIn response to the recent Investigations and federal court filings exposing the documented psychotropic abuse of immigrant children held at Shiloh Treatment Center south of Houston, as well as other such centers, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is warning officials in Florida that this rights violation is also happening across the state to non-immigrant children.

Shiloh is a government contractor that houses immigrant minors. Investigations led by Reveal News Organization have found multiple instances of children being held down, injected, and told they would not be released or see their parents unless they took medication. Children were also told that they were “only receiving vitamins” rather than mind-altering psychotropic drugs. [1]

“We see these abuses of forced psychiatric drugging in Florida quite distinct from immigration issues. Children of legal Florida residents are picked up every day without their parents’ knowledge or permission under the Baker Act,” states Diane Stein, of the Florida chapter of CCHR. “Unfortunately all too often the parents of these children are bullied into consenting to have their children treated with threats of the child being taken away from them.”

According to legal findings researched by the Reveal investigations, this “treatment” scenario threatens to “create a zombie army of children forcibly injected with medications that make them dizzy, listless, obese and even incapacitated.”

Several parents and the children themselves told attorneys the drugs rendered them “unable to walk, afraid of people and wanting to sleep constantly”, according to affidavits filed in U.S. District Court in California.

One child described trying to open a window and being hurled against a door by a Shiloh supervisor, who then choked her until she fainted. Another child told a story of being grabbed by two staff and injected with a drug to calm her down despite her objections.

Forensic psychiatrist Mark J. Mills was asked by Reveal to assess the medical records of the children involved and he reported to the news organization that “The facility should not use these drugs to control behavior… That’s like what the old Soviet Union used to do.”

“The harm that is done to illegal immigrant children is inhumane,” states Diane Stein. “And we are committing similar crimes against children of our own citizens in Florida every day.”

CCHR Florida has filed hundreds of complaints with state agencies on the involuntary psychiatric examination, called a Baker Act, of children over the past few years and some of these complaints also involve the drugging of children without parental knowledge or consent.

The Baker Acting of children in Florida is a well known problem one for which a Task Force was formed in 2017 to get to the root cause of why almost 33,000 Baker Acts were initiated on children in 2015/2016. However this notoriety has not resulted in changes to the law that would protect the rights of children and parents. For this reason, CCHR Florida holds regular events to educate families on their rights and has been working with law enforcement and school districts across the state to create uniformity in the initiation and execution of a Baker Act on a child. For more information on the Baker Act and forced psychiatric drugging please call 727-442-8820 or visit the center in downtown Clearwater at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave.

Sources:

[1] “Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims” by Matt Smith and Aura Bogado, June 20, 2018, https://www.revealnews.org/

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07 Jun
2

Are PTSD Suicides Connected to Psychiatric Drug Treatment?

June has been designated PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this designation is to increase awareness of “a mental health problem that may develop after a person has been exposed to … traumatic events.”

Events that may prompt being labeled with PTSD include threats to one’s life such as assault, wartime combat, terrorism, natural or human-made disasters. The listed symptoms include “distressing dreams, persistent thoughts and recurring flashbacks about the traumatic event or events, numbing or avoidance of memories of the trauma and triggered emotional responses.” [1]

But according to some there is a dark side to the PTSD Awareness campaign, that centers on the issue of treatments, and whether some of these are in fact causing more harm than good.

Today, some 80% of veterans labeled with PTSD receive psychotropic drugs; 89% of these are given antidepressants, with 34% treated with antipsychotics – drugs so dangerous many of them are labeled with the strictest warnings issued by the FDA. All told, the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration collectively spend $9 billion a year on their mental health budgets.[2]

Simultaneously with the drugging of our veterans, twenty American armed force veterans are committing suicide every day. In 2014, more than 7,400 took their own lives. And although military veterans make up only 9 percent of the population, they account for 18 percent of all suicides.[3]

In the past “PTSD” was called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.” But psychiatric diagnosis has redefined the condition as a “mental disorder”, thus making the sufferers eligible for billable psychiatric drug treatment.

Concurrently, the epidemic of suicides among U.S. military has increased in parallel along with the diagnoses of PTSD and the prescribing of psychiatric drugs, many of which are known to cause suicidal side effects.

The increase of dosing U.S. military veterans with psychiatric drugs is unprecedented. In less than a decade, from 2005 to 2011, The US Department of Defense increased its prescriptions of these pharmaceuticals almost seven times. This equates to thirty times faster than the civilian population. Currently, one in six American service members are on at least one psychiatric drug.

Former US Army Sergeant Joel Kort had this to say about the PTSD-type treatment he received as a soldier, “I didn’t see the emergence of psychiatry in the Army until I suffered my own injury, and then it was like a flood. It was a flood of doctors and it was a flood of meds…. I know that I’ve been on Ambien, Seroquel, Paxil—that was one of the big ones. A very dangerous drug…called Abilify. It kind of puts whatever meds you’re on, on steroids.” [3]

Since 1945, military personnel have been subject to aggressive psychiatric experimentation. Over 73 years ago, psychiatrist and Brigadier General J.R. Rees observed: “The army and the other fighting services form rather unique experimental groups since they are complete communities and it is possible to arrange experiments in a way that would be very difficult in civilian life.”

American soldiers in World War II were subjected to psychiatric experimentation when electroshock, insulin shock and varieties of mind-altering drugs were tried out on psychologically wounded soldiers.

Today the mental “diagnosis” is carried out by a licensed psychiatrist for “a preponderance of the evidence” since there are no medical tests for the condition. The criteria and naming of the disorder is decided by committee vote for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so as to make it an insurable and billable condition.

“In Florida alone, two of our veterans commit suicide every day”, said Diane Stein, President of Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida. “Suicidal ideation is a black-box warning on the labels of psychiatric medications given for PTSD to military vets. These medications have never been shown to reduce risk or incidence of suicide – on the contrary. Shouldn’t this information be part of “PTSD Awareness Month?”.[4]

Sources:

[1] https://www.awarenessdays.com/us/awareness-days-calendar/national-ptsd-awareness-day-in-the-usa-2018/

[2] https://www.cchrint.org/issues/the-hidden-enemy/

[3] https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2016/07/07/new-va-study-finds-20-veterans-commit-suicide-each-day/

[4] https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/data-sheets/Suicide-Data-Sheet-Florida.pdf

[5] http://www.cchrflorida.org/new-york-times-exposes-antidepressant-scandal-antidepressants-are-addictive/

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Raining Drugs
30 May
0

America the Drugged: A Nationwide Prescription Drug Epidemic

Raining Drugs

Americans use more antidepressants that any of the 25 countries reviewed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

According to the Florida Medical Examiners Annual Report for 2016, drug related deaths increased in the state by 22% over 2015 and 5,725 of the deaths investigated were opioid-related deaths. That opioid use and abuse has become an epidemic in Florida and across the country is known, Florida recently joined Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee in lawsuits against major opioid manufacturers whose products have sparked the opioid crisis and cost many billions of dollars in health costs and countless personal tragedies. [1]

However opioids are just a symptom of a bigger problem, a nationwide prescription drug epidemic warns the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health.

In 2016 Florida medical examiners investigated 27,383 deaths and the toxicology reports from these investigations revealed that drugs were present in 11,910 of these deaths. This report goes on to break down what drugs were found and if the drugs found were simply present or the actual cause of death.

When compared to 2015 it was determined that 24% more people were found to have one or more prescription drug in their system at the time of death and that 40% more Floridians died with at least one prescription drug in their system that was identified as the cause of death.

“It was shocking to learn that the five most frequently occurring drugs found in these examinations were alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, cannabinoids and morphine,” said Diane Stein, President of the Florida chapter of CCHR. “Benzodiazepines are addictive psychiatric drugs with dangerous side effects such as suicide and they were the cause of 1,421 deaths compared to oxycodone which was the cause in 723 deaths.” [2]

CCHR warns that recent information from the health research firm Quintile IMS, reporting that the number of prescriptions for adults and children rose 85 percent between 1997 and 2016 in America, from 2.4 billion to 4.5 billion a year, demonstrates that the reliance on prescription drugs by the medical and psychiatric professions is the real epidemic and that simply targeting opioids will not solve this deadly problem.[3]

“As an example, Americans use more antidepressants that any of the 25 countries reviewed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We are not just talking about opioids here we are talking about psychiatric drugs,” said Stein. “An investigation into the rampant prescription of mind altering drugs is long overdue.” [4]

To learn more about the drugging of America, please contact CCHR at 1-800-782-2878.

Sources:

[1] Pam Bondi files lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/05/15/pam-bondi-files-lawsuit-against-five-large-manufacturers-of-opioids/

[2] Oral Benzodiazepines Names, Side Effects, and Addiction

https://www.medicinenet.com/benzodiazepines_sleep-inducing-oral/article.htm#is_it_ok_to_drink_alcohol_or_take_similar_drugs_to_benzodiazepines_together_(drug_interactions)?

[3] Americans Taking More Prescription Drugs Than Ever

https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20170803/americans-taking-more-prescription-drugs-than-ever-survey

[4] Something startling is going on with antidepressant use around the world

http://www.businessinsider.com/countries-largest-antidepressant-drug-users-2016-2

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Antidepressants Kill
17 May
0

CCHR Calls Traditional Observance of Mental Health Month into Question

Antidepressants KillStarted in 1949 by Mental Health America, “Mental Health Awareness Month” – as observed by mental health advocacy groups – is purported as a means of educating the populace on mental health issues for the purpose of education and providing support for those labeled as mentally ill. Yet this observance has been put into question by alarming statistics showing the number of people taking psychiatric drugs in the United States including the drugging of children and parallel increases in child and adolescent suicide rates. As an example, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of antidepressant use alone in the U.S. among people ages 12 and older increased by almost 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008. [1]

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a watchdog group with Florida offices in the Tampa Bay area, has extensively researched statistics on child psychotropic medications in the U.S. and reports that the total number of children 17 and under taking psychotropic prescription drugs in the U.S. today is 8,389,000. [2]

Of these, 4,130,000 children are between 6 and 12 years old, on powerful mind-effecting prescription drugs.

Many children may be on these medications far longer than their parents expect. Last month in an investigative story on psychotropic drugs, the New York Times headline reported that “Most People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit.” [3]

WND reported in February this year, after the Parkland shooting, that “A disturbing number of perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications.” [4]

NBC News reported on April 22 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finding that  suicides in the U.S. are at the highest level in “almost three decades”. [5]

“During Mental Health Awareness Month we want to make it known that over 8 million children in this country are on prescribed psychotropic drugs known to be addictive and to prompt violent ideations,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “And if mental health strategies are effective, why are the suicide rates climbing every year?”

Columnist Art Levine, author of Mental Health Inc., reported in Newsweek last week “grievous harm, too often fatal, continues to be inflicted on thousands of children and adults due to the overprescribing of psychiatric medications”.  Mr. Levine lost his mother to over-prescription of psychotropic medications. [6]

In May 2016, even the Mayo Clinic staff were advising parents on child suicidal tendencies from antidepressant medications. “Why do antidepressants have warnings about suicidal behavior in children?” was the question asked by Clinic Staff as the authors. [7]

“What warning signs should you watch for when your child is taking antidepressants?” the article continued. It lists talk of suicide or dying, attempts to commit suicide, self-injury, agitation or restlessness among disturbing effects of psychiatric medication in children.
“Rather than patting ourselves on the back over campaigns to end the stigma of mental health,” said Ms. Stein, “we should be finding out why pharmaceuticals for kids are being promoted so heavily to parents and teachers. We need to deal with the fact that this is not working.”

“When our children are drug-free and suicide-free, then we can celebrate mental health,” she added.

Sources:

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624

[2] https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/children-on-psychiatric-drugs/

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/health/antidepressants-withdrawal-prozac-cymbalta.html

[4] http://www.wnd.com/2018/02/media-ignoring-1-crucial-factor-in-florida-school-shooting/

[5] http://www.newsweek.com/psychiatric-drugs-overprescribed-americans-opioids-683628

[6] https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/u-s-suicide-rates-reach-30-year-high-especially-for-women-672031299528

[7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/in-depth/antidepressants/art-20047502

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CCHR
26 Apr
0

Mental Health Watchdog Warns Officials on Baker Act Rights Abuses

CCHRWith reports surfacing that the number of citizens being Baker Acted is on the rise following the school shooting in Parkland, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is cautioning those charged with executing an involuntary psychiatric examination to pay heed to the potential for misuse and abuse. [1]

During fiscal year 2015/2016 there were 194,354 involuntary Baker Act examinations in Florida. This figure is more than double the number of men, women and children who were Baker Acted during fiscal year 2001/2002 and is significantly more than the 21.80 percent change in Florida’s population over the same time period.

This alarming increase prompted CCHR, a mental health watchdog organization that investigates and exposes human rights violations in the mental health industry, to issue a warning to state officials on the abusive use of the Baker Act law as illustrated by hundreds of complaints received by CCHR from Floridians across the state.

“Prior to the tragedy in Parkland the number of Baker Acts was already skyrocketing and based on the complaints we receive on our hotline about 60% of the people being taken into custody and sent for an involuntary psychiatric examination never met the criteria for a Baker Act in the first place,” reported Diane Stein, President of the CCHR Florida chapter.

The Baker Act law lays out three criteria for the involuntary examination of a person and all three criteria must but met, yet CCHR has found that the majority of citizens and even those authorized to initiate a Baker Act don’t know or understand these criteria.

In response, CCHR Florida regularly hosts a seminar on Baker Act Rights delivered by attorney at law Carmen Miller who as a former assistant public defender has personal experience in representing Baker Act clients in civil and criminal hearings. During the seminar, Ms. Miller provides those in attendance with information on the Baker Act and on their rights under this law while answering questions on how a person can protect themselves from the abusive use of the mental health law. [2]

“Over the past few years we have participated in or hosted hundreds of events for the sole purpose of educating people on their rights and exposing abusive psychiatric practices such as the prescribing of dangerous drugs that have known side effects such as suicide, aggression and homicidal ideation,” said Stein. “Thomas Jefferson said that ‘an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people’ and I believe it is CCHR’s duty to help make sure every Floridian understands their rights.” [3]

For more information on the next Baker Act Rights seminar please call 727-442-8820 or visit the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida.

 

Sources:

[1] Local Officials, Organizations are Seeing an Increase in Baker Act use in SWFL

http://www.helloswfl.com/other_stories/local-officials-organizations-are-seeing-an-increase-in-baker-act-use-in-swfl/

[2] Voices for Humanity: A Stand for Rights in the Sunshine State https://www.scientology.tv/series/voices-for-humanity/diane-stein.html

[3] Psychiatric Drugs: Create Violence and Suicide https://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/violence-report.pdf

 

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Antidepressants are Addictive
19 Apr
1

New York Times Exposes Antidepressant Scandal: Antidepressants are Addictive

Antidepressants are Addictive

Antidepressants are Addictive

Despite of protest from over 40 psychiatrists, the New York Times has published an in-depth investigative report of improper labeling and prescribing of antidepressants in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere.

The article is headlined, “Most People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit.”

According to the Times’ own analysis of federal data, long-term usage of antidepressants is surging in the U.S., to the point where 15.5 million Americans have been taking them for five years or more. This rate had doubled since 2010 and tripled since 2000.

Nearly 25 million adults have been on antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.

The Times data makes a clear case that the reason for the mounting long-term usage rates of these drugs – which were only researched and marketed for short term periodic use – is because people are unable to quit. In essence, antidepressants are addictive.

“Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about”, the Times researchers conclude.[1]

“Some people are essentially being parked on these drugs for convenience’s sake because it’s difficult to tackle the issue of taking them off,” said Dr. Anthony Kendrick, a professor of primary care at the University of Southampton in Britain.
The Times points out that in the U.S., physicians have “wide latitude” in prescribing an approved drug as they choose. The fact that no long-term data was available did not impede U.S. doctors “placing tens of millions of Americans on antidepressants indefinitely.”

The article quotes Dr. Allen Frances, a professor emeritus at Duke University, who says “Most people are put on these drugs in primary care, after a very brief visit and without clear symptoms of clinical depression. Usually there’s improvement, and often it’s based on the passage of time or placebo effect.”[2]

Diane Stein, President of Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, had another explanation. “Psychiatric drugs are a massive pharmaceutical cash cow,” said Stein. “One needs to follow the money. From 2011 to 2015 $175.4 billion was spent on psychiatric drugs in the U.S. This is truly an outrage on a national scale.”[3]

CCHR is a human rights group founded in 1969 jointly by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz and the Church of Scientology. In Florida, it is particularly active in addressing illegal abuses of the Baker Act which may include enforced drugging of children without parental consent if an emergency treatment order is issued.

For this particular report, the Times had access to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, with data compiled over the last two decades. “Over all, more than 34.4 million adults took antidepressants in 2013-4, up from 13.4 million in the 1999-2000 survey”, the Times reports.

Victoria Toline, 27, of Tacoma WA took nine months to taper off Zoloft. “I had to drop out of school,” she reported in the article. “My life’s been on hold. Basically that’s all I have been doing, dealing with the dizziness, the confusion, the fatigue, all the symptoms of withdrawal”, said Ms. Toline. “I couldn’t finish my college degree,” she said. “Only now am I feeling well enough to try to re-enter society and go back to work.”

Drugmaker Eli Lilly responded to news inquiries with a statement of continuing commitment to their antidepressant products, reported the article. However, the company declined to say how common withdrawal symptoms are.
Some readers expressed shock to learn that nearly 7 percent of American adults have taken prescription antidepressants for at least 5 years.

“CCHR has been warning of the dangers of antidepressant abuse since 200 lawsuits were filed in relation to Prozac in 1990”, said Ms. Stein. “We took a lot of heat for it, but what we warned about then is painfully obvious today.”[4]

Sources:

[1] New York Times, April 7, 2018. Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit by Benedict Carey and Robert Gebeloff https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/health/antidepressants-withdrawal-prozac-cymbalta.html

[2] New York Times, April 9, 2018. Opinion – Letters to the Editor – Withdrawing from Antidepressants. 4 letters from psychiatrists and one psychiatric nurse, one signed by 39 Columbia psychiatrists https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/opinion/antidepressants.html

[3] Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk https://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/violence-report.pdf

[4] CCHR: Exposing the Dangers of Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Drugs— Despite FDA/Psychiatric Pharmaceutical Cover-Ups
http://www.cchr.org/sites/default/files/Exposing_the_Dangers_of_Antidepressants_Despite_Cover-Ups.pdf

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CCHR campaign launched to educate law enforcement, policy makers and school officials about violence- and suicide-inducing drug risks.
23 Mar
0

Mental Health Watchdog Releases New Report on Link Between Psychotropic Drugs & School/Mass Shootings

CCHR campaign launched to educate law enforcement, policy makers and school officials about violence- and suicide-inducing drug risks.

CCHR campaign launched to educate law enforcement, policy makers and school officials about violence- and suicide-inducing drug risks.

The mental health watchdog group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)International is offering Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and school officials a free copy of its compelling new report about a common denominator found in many mass shootings: psychotropic drugs. The report, called Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: School Shootings & Other Acts of Senseless Violence, provides information on more than 30 studies that link antidepressants, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, mood stabilizers and sedative hypnotics to adverse effects that include hostility, mania, aggression, self-harm, suicide and homicidal thoughts.

The 64-page report details more than 60 examples of school and mass shootings, stabbings and senseless violent acts committed by those under the influence of psychotropic drugs or experiencing serious withdrawal from them.

Jan Eastgate, President of CCHR International, said, “The goal of this report is to help law enforcement, educators and policy makers to learn how psychotropic drugs are a hidden link to the prevalence of violence and suicide in the community. Facts, statistics, studies and expert opinion in the report show the medical concerns about the rise of senseless acts of violence coincident with the increase in psychotropic drug prescriptions and usage.

“Psychiatric drugs create dependence, suicide and violence in a percent of individuals taking them. That is a documented fact. The disastrous consequences are felt by all. As so many lives are at stake, it is vital that each person who is in a position to take action avail themselves of this information to help protect our communities.”

Experts Speak Out About Psychotropic Drugs, Violence & Suicide

Some of the information the report covers:

  •  An Australian judge said an antidepressant was the “overwhelmingly probable” reason for turning a peaceful, law-abiding man into a brutal killer of his wife.[1]
  • A Wyoming jury awarded $8 million to the relatives of a man who, with no history of aggressive or suicidal behavior, went on a shooting rampage killing three family members after taking an antidepressant. The jury determined that the drug was 80 percent responsible for the crime and “can cause some people to become homicidal and/or suicidal.”[2]
  • A Harvard Medical school psychiatrist says: “The irritability and impulsivity” from antidepressants “can make people suicidal or homicidal.”[3]
  • An affiliate professor of Biology at Loyola University Maryland says: The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well-established.”[4]
  • A leading international psychopharmacology expert and professor of psychiatry reports: “Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best-kept secret.”[5] He also believes that an estimated 90 percent of school shootings, over more than a decade, were linked to SSRI antidepressants.[6]
  • 27 international drug agency warnings link psychiatric drugs to the adverse effects of violence, mania, psychosis or homicidal ideation; 49 warn of self-harm or suicide/suicidal ideation and 17 report addiction or withdrawal effects.[7]
  • The Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has at least 1,530 cases of homicide/homicidal ideation associated with psychiatric drugs.
  • Researchers took the FDA ADR data and identified 25 psychotropic drugs that are disproportionately associated with violence.[8]
  • A New York forensic psychologist says that most of the young murderers he has personally examined had been “in ‘treatment’ and were using prescribed stimulant/amphetamine type drugs before and during the killing events. These medications did not prevent but instead contributed to the violence….”[9]

Drug Withdrawal Effects Create Havoc

  • The Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry in the UK has determined: “Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can be disabling and can cause a range of severe physical and psychological effects which often last for months and sometimes years….” [emphasis added][10] 
  • A study in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported: “It is now accepted that all major classes of psychiatric medication produce distinctive withdrawal effects….”[11]
  • Withdrawal effects from sedative hypnotics, also known as benzodiazepines, can last weeks and sometimes months or years, and include increased anxiety, perceptual distortions, depersonalization, paranoid thoughts, rage, aggression, and irritability, according to leading British expert with the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne.[12]

Psychiatric Drug-Induced “Suicide by Cop”

Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D., head of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, says there is a whole new vocabulary today as a result of widespread antidepressant use, with terms such as “road rage,” “murder/suicide,” “going postal” and “suicide by cop.”[13] For example, a suicidal veteran fired 11 shots during an encounter with police in Spokane, Washington, admitting during his trial that he had unloaded his gun (in the air) before walking out into the alley where he intended to provoke the police to shoot him as part of a “suicide by cop” plan. He’d been prescribed an antidepressant documented to cause suicidal thoughts.[14]

CCHR is clear that not every violent killer has been on or withdrawing from a psychotropic drug at the time of committing a crime, but in many cases such drugs emerge when learning of the killer’s background. “It begs the question whether in taking the drug or when the drug or other treatment failed them, did this help propel them on a path towards the destruction of others?” the report poses.

CCHR says that in any official response to the Vegas concert shooting, Texas Church Shooter and Parkland Florida school shooting, LEOs, educators and legislators should not lose sight of the fact that there is a driving force behind someone picking up a gun, knife or even making a bomb to carry out violent and deadly acts. And there is sufficient evidence to investigate the role of prescribed mind-altering drugs in inducing altered states of mind in a percentage of people taking these drugs.

Some of the recommendations in the report include:

  • Legislative hearings should be held to fully investigate the correlation between psychiatric treatment and violence and suicide.
  • Toxicology testing for psychiatric drugs should be mandatory in cases where someone has committed a mass shooting or other serious violent crime, the information from which would become part of a national database that all branches and levels of law enforcement could access.

Eastgate summarizes: “The information in this report is not to excuse violent crimes and make the perpetrator blameless, but to demonstrate why there may be a much different type of violent behavior that police and the community face today compared to 50 years ago. All psychotropic drugs are called that because they are mind-altering or mind-turning. For some of those taking them, the consequences can be serious for them and the community. CCHR wants to educate as many officials and educators as possible in launching this report.”

CCHR Urges: Take Action Against Violence in Our Schools and Community

Law Enforcement Officers and School Officials wishing a free printed copy of: Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: School Shootings & Other Acts of Senseless Violence can email media@cchr.org or contact Amber Rauscher at (323) 467-4242.

References:

[1] Sarah Boseley, “Prozac class drug blamed for killing,” The Guardian (London), 2 May 2001, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/may/26/sarahboseley.

[2] Jim Rosack, “SSRIs Called on Carpet Over Violence Claims,” Psychiatric News, Vol. 36, No. 19, 5 Oct. 2001; David Healy,Andrew Herxheimer, and David B Menkes, “Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law,” PLoS Medicine, Sept. 2006, 3(9): e372, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1564177.

[3] “FDA Mulls Antidepressant Warnings,” Daily Press, 21 Mar. 2004, http://articles.dailypress.com/2004-03-21/news/0403210207_1_dr-joseph-glenmullen-corey-baadsgaard-school-shootings-and-murder-suicides.

[4] Patrick D. Hahn, “Antidepressants: a deadly treatment?,” Baltimore Sun, 11 Apr. 2015, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-antidepressants-violence-20150411-story.html.

[5] John Horgan, “What ‘60 Minutes’ Gets Wrong in Report on Mental Illness and Violence,” Scientific American, 2 Oct. 2013, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/what-e2809c60-minutese2809d-gets-wrong-in-report-on-mental-illness-and-violence.

[6] “Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings, WND, 18 Dec. 2012, http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/psych-meds-linked-to-90-of-school-shootings/#i1JviHwg3g2T7KSt.99.

[7] https://www.cchrint.org/school-shooters.

[8] Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, Dec. 2010, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015337.

[9] David Kirschner, Ph.D., “Mass shooters received only limited treatment,” The National Psychologist, 10 Sep 2014, http://nationalpsychologist.com/2014/09/mass-shooters-received-only-limited-treatment/102638.html.

[10] “Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can be disabling and can cause a range of severe physical and psychological effects…,” Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, 15 Mar. 2015, https://ravimid.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-can-be-disabling-010314-1.pdf.

[11] Joanna Moncrieff, M.B.B.S., David Cohen, and Sally Porter, “The Psychoactive Effects of Psychiatric Medication: The Elephant in the Room,” J Psychoactive Drugs, Nov. 2013; 45(5): 409–415, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118946.

[12] C. Heather Ashton, DM, FRCP, “Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdraw,” Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2002, http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzcha03.htm.

[13] Ann Blake Tracy, “Suicide & Death Can Lurk in Each SSRI Pill,” http://www.rense.com/general77/lurk.htm.

[14] “Man seeking ‘suicide by cop’ found guilty of assault,” The Spokane-Review, 11 Feb. 2016, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/feb/11/man-who-encouraged-spokane-police-to-shoot-him-fou/; Jeff Humphrey, “Army vet gets nine years for suicide by cop attempt,” KXLY, 3 Mar. 2016, http://www.kxly.com/news/local-news/spokane/army-vet-gets-nine-years-for-suicide-by-cop-attempt_20161121034442715/176407731.

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22 Mar
0

Mental Health Fraud is a Booming Business in Florida

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to investigating and exposing abusive and fraudulent psychiatric practices in the mental health industry, is bringing attention to the need for an effective system to verify mental health billing validity and, therefore, stop what is viewed as an epidemic in the area of insurance billing fraud.

Florida remains one of the top states for mental health insurance fraud. Recently, Sam Konell, a longtime liaison between mental health clinics and Miami-Dade’s criminal court, was sentenced on February 22nd to 5 years in prison for funneling state-court defendants to a corrupt clinic. One clinic, the Greater Miami Behavioral Healthcare Center, fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $63 million in exchange for personal kickbacks to Konell’s pocket. In fact, Konell personally profited an extra $432,829 (on top of his regular salary), costing taxpayers an estimated $25 million.[1]

In October 2017, Shawn Thorpe, President of Coastal Bay Behavioral Health in Jacksonville, faced charges for $1.4 million in Medicaid fraud. Thorpe partnered with Ruben McLain, a man who secretly operated under a false name since he was already banned from Medicaid remuneration due to earlier fraud crimes. Thorpe and McLain knew each other for years before they developed their partnership, yet it took $1.4 million of theft before authorities caught on. Worse still, Philip Esformes, owner of over 30 Miami-area nursing and assisted living facilities, stole $1 billion from taxpayers together with a hospital administrator and physician’s assistant. Their elaborate billing fraud scheme was the largest ever brought before the U.S. Justice Department.[2][3]

“Florida’s well documented history of health care fraud, including that of mental health, necessitates a better system for detecting and preventing fraud,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “Millions of dollars are stolen from taxpayers before anyone gets caught, not to mention thousands of vulnerable patients are abused like cash cows to profit unscrupulous administrators and criminal clinicians.”

Florida’s involuntary examination law is another example of potential fraud given the fact that a person sent for examination, known as a Baker Act, can be held for up to 72 hours before it is determined whether they even met the criteria for incarceration in the first place and the psychiatric facility still bills insurance for the stay. There were more than 194,000 Baker Act initiations in Florida during fiscal year 2015/2016 and with a reported average length of stay at 4.5 days not only is Baker Acting hugely profitable but the possible insurance billing fraud could be in the tens of millions of dollars every year.[4][5]

The gray area of what constitutes mental illness and the vulnerability of mental health patients appears to contribute to the ease with which fraud can be committed. As a prime example the manual psychiatrists use, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, grows every year with new disorders that are largely voted into existence by popular opinion and void of any scientific basis yet these “disorders” all come with an insurance billing code so that the psychiatrist can label a person and get paid for controversial “mental illnesses” such as Caffeine Intoxication Disorder.[6][7]

“Without a better system altogether for detecting psychiatric insurance billing fraud Florida will see the epidemic of fraud continue and the taxpayer foot the bill,” said Stein.

For more information on psychiatric fraud or to report abuse please call CCHR Florida at 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org.

[1] http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article201667554.html
[2] http://www.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-10-14/pair-faces-fraud-charges-tied-medicaid-payments-jacksonville-mental-health
[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/22/1-billion-alleged-medicare-fraud-money-laundering-scheme-leads-to-florida-arrests.html
[4] http://www.votersopinion.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Baker-Act-Overview-2013.pdf
[5] http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf
[6] https://www.cchrint.org/issues/dsm-billing-bible/
[7]https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/DSM/APA_DSM-5-Contents.pdf

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Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect
27 Feb
0

Psychiatric Drugs and School Shootings

Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect

Photo Credit: www.780am.com.py

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights(CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to investigating and exposing abusive psychiatric practices in the name of mental healing, is calling upon Florida lawmakers to first investigate the plausible link between psychiatric drugs and violence before taking the advice of mental health professionals to increase funding and amend the mental health law.

Recently the nation and the world was shaken by an act of lethal violence when Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 students and teachers. Although there can be many reasons for this horrific tragedy, CCHR warns that the prevalence of psychotropic drug use amongst America’s children may be driving a percentage of these young people to commit acts of violence.

For the past 20 years, CCHR has been investigating and exposing the correlation between mass murder, violent crime, suicide and psychiatric drugs. During this time CCHR has reported that those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs have committed at least 36 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence.[1] This correlation is not surprising when you consider that prescribed psychiatric drugs, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs, have been documented by 27 international drug regulatory agency warnings, including the U.S. FDA, to cause side effects of mania, hostility, violence, and even homicidal ideation in a percentage of those prescribed.[2]

The apparent link between psychiatric drug-violence is also frequently made public by law enforcement. It was the case with 12-year-old Jose Reyes, who opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Nevada in October 2013, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. The police investigation revealed that he had been prescribed the generic form of the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) and had it in his system at the time of death.[3] It was also true for 15-year-old Hammad Memon, who shot and killed another student at his middle school in Huntsville, Alabama in February 2010. Memon had a history of treatment for ADHD and depression and was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions” and had been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist.[4] And the story was the same for 15-year-old Kip Kinkel of Springfield, Oregon who murdered his parents on the morning of May 21, 1998 before heading to school, where he killed two students and wounded another 25. Kinkel had been prescribed Prozac.

According to CCHR an investigation into the link is long overdue when you take into consideration that between 2004 and 2012 the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program, known as MedWatch, received a staggering 14,773 reports of psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects, including 1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania, and 8,219 cases of aggression.

“Throwing money at a mental health system that keeps failing and continues to use drugs that may induce violent and suicidal behavior in a percentage of those taking them will not prevent another tragedy,” stated Diane Stein, President of the Florida chapter of CCHR. “Cruz is a prime example of this failure – he was apparently medicated and in the mental health system but this did nothing to stop him.”[5]

Instead CCHR is urging Florida lawmakers to immediately look into the connection between psychiatric drugs and the deadly events that transpired in Parkland.[6]

1. https://www.cchrint.org/school-shooters/
2. https://www.cchrint.org/2017/10/10/another-mass-shooting-another-psychiatric-drug/
3. http://mynews4.com/news/local/sparks-middle-school-shooter-had-prozac-in-system-day-of-shooting
4. http://www.wbrc.com/story/15069575/did-accused-killers-doctor-dad-prescribe-medication-to-son
5. https://www.buzzfeed.com/briannasacks/authorities-were-called-to-alleged-florida-school-shooter?utm_term=.ngEY3ZN70#.rczQp3bNw
6. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/school-shootings-mental-health-watchdog-says-psychotropic-drug-use-by-school-shooters-merits-federal-investigation-300601826.html

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