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“CCHR has been issuing warnings on the dangers of these psychiatric drugs for decades,” said Diane Stein, President of the CCHR chapter in Florida. “Now we are seeing the start of a benzo epidemic to match the opioid epidemic.”
07 Sep
1

Fast-Rising Benzo Abuse Signals Another Psychiatric Drug Epidemic

“CCHR has been issuing warnings on the dangers of these psychiatric drugs for decades,” said Diane Stein, President of the CCHR chapter in Florida. “Now we are seeing the start of a benzo epidemic to match the opioid epidemic.”

“CCHR has been issuing warnings on the dangers of these psychiatric drugs for decades,” said Diane Stein, President of the CCHR chapter in Florida. “Now we are seeing the start of a benzo epidemic to match the opioid epidemic.”

Earlier this year, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) reported that benzodiazepines, commonly called benzos, were a factor in the deaths of Tom Petty, Prince, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and other creative artists. In the same article, CCHR, a non-profit mental health watchdog that has, for 49 years, worked to restore human rights and dignity to the field of mental health, also reported that in the United States more people die from psychiatric drug overdose than heroin overdose, citing the fact that in 2014, 10,574 people died of heroin overdose while 15,778 (nearly 50% more) died from an overdose of psychiatric drugs. Not surprisingly, the biggest killers were sedatives such as benzos, antidepressants, psychostimulants, and antipsychotics. [1]

According to NBC Health News, the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan are skyrocketing and while many doctors are unaware of their debilitating or deadly side effects, numerous experts are starting to compare the abuse of prescription benzos to the beginnings of a new opioid crisis.[2]

This crisis is prompting more people to come forward including filmmaker Holly Hardman who is producing a documentary called “As Prescribed” about the dangers of benzos. It took Hardman two years to taper off Klonopin, with major disturbing side effects. “People are given these medications for normal life experiences and don’t realize what can happen,” she says.

Additionally, Dr. Anna Lembke, chief of addiction medicine at Stanford University Medical Center, said complications such as dependency and addiction are fueling a hidden benzo epidemic similar to the opioid crisis and experts at the nonprofit Lown Institute of Brookline, Massachusetts are reporting that the withdrawal symptoms from benzos are even worse than opioids.[3]

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports 8,791 overdose deaths involving benzos in 2015, an 800% increase from 1,135 benzo deaths in 1999. Adults filling benzo prescriptions have been on a steady upswing since the late ‘90s, 13.5 million in 2013.[4]

“CCHR has been issuing warnings on the dangers of these psychiatric drugs for decades,” said Diane Stein, President of the CCHR chapter in Florida. “Now we are seeing the start of a benzo epidemic to match the opioid epidemic.”

Anyone wanting more information on the dangers of psychiatric drugs is encouraged to contact CCHR Florida at 727-442-8820 or visit the center located at 109 N. Fort Harrison Avenue in downtown.

Sources:

[1] HeartBreaker: Another Celebrity Lost to Benzo-Opioid Mix—Tom Petty’s Death Ruled Accidental Overdose, CCHR International, January 25, 2018 https://www.cchrint.org/2018/01/25/heartbreaker-tompettydeath-accidentaloverdose/

[2] Dangers of rising benzo prescriptions raise alarms of next drug crisis, by Avichai Scher and Ali Galante, NBC News, July 27, 2018 https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/dangers-rising-benzo-prescriptions-raise-alarms-next-drug-crisis-n895361

[3] As dangerous as opioids – Benzo overprescription becoming a crisis, Lown Institute,

http://lowninstitute.org/news/addictive-opioids-benzo-overprescription-becoming-crisis/

[4] Our Other Prescription Drug Problem, The New England Journal of Medicine, Anna Lembke, M.D., Jennifer Papac, M.D., and Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., February 22, 2018, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1715050

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05 Sep
0

CCHR’s “Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide” Report—a Wakeup Call on Mass Violence

How many more tragedies and lost lives will it take for governments to recognize that in addition to any other investigations and actions they take in relation to mass acts of violence, for the sake of our communities and families, the increasing reports of psychiatric drug and treatment histories in those committing such crimes, cannot be ignored? The mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) International, says the latest Florida shooting by David Katz on the heels of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida in February, are examples of tragedies that were long in the making.  CCHR points to failed psychiatric treatment and programs that may have exacerbated both killers’ mental decline.  At least one psychiatrist affiliated with Katz surrendered his license to practice in 2009 over immoral conduct with a female patient.

David Katz (24), from Baltimore, Maryland, allegedly killed two people and wounded 12 others before taking his own life at an e-sports tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday, 26 August 2018.  He underwent psychiatric “treatment” from at least as early as aged 12, according to his parents’ divorce records and a CNN report.  He was prescribed a number of psychiatric drugs, including antipsychotics and antidepressants, and according to a 2006 letter from the father’s attorney, had seen “a succession of psychiatrists.”

According to a media report, Katz’s parents fought over using drugs, including Abilify (aripiprazole) and Prozac (fluoxetine), to treat their son.  The father said his son was placed on two antidepressants, which he said at the time “pose significant and unknown risks to the children.”  Another report said he’d been prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram).

Katz’s mother, Elizabeth, is a Ph.D. and toxicologist who works for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA was hauled before Congress over its complicity in concealing evidence showing failed test results with emergent suicide-related behavior linked to SSRI antidepressants.  In 2004, the FDA was forced to place a “black box warning” on Prozac and similar antidepressants because of the risk of suicide to those aged 18 and younger. This warning was later increased to age 24.  These were among the drugs Katz was allegedly prescribed.

The father, Richard Katz, a NASA engineer, said his ex-wife had “an obsession with using mental health professionals and in particular psychiatric drugs to perform the work that parents should naturally do.”  He described one incident in which his son was handcuffed by police after locking himself in his mother’s car in an attempt to avoid going to a mental health appointment with her.

ABC News also reported that Katz had also been prescribed the antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone).  The adverse effects of antipsychotics can include aggressive behavior from drug-induced akathisia (inability to sit still).  The person may experience violent, aggressive impulses or feel suicidal, although they often can’t pinpoint the source of their distress, despite that akathisia can feel unbearable. Akathisia may begin within several days after treatment but usually increases with duration of treatment, occurring in up to 50% of cases within one month and 90% of cases within three months.

Court records pertaining to the parents’ divorce name two doctors, although they do not detail what, if any, treatment or drugs they may have prescribed or whether they were involved in Katz’s mental health evaluation. Dr. Bruce Shapiro (Maryland License number D19112) has his primary practice at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, at which he is currently the Vice President, Training.  Shapiro also has practicing privileges at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Saint Agnes Healthcare.  He is a professor in pediatrics and Chair in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In March 2007, court records showed that Richard Katz wanted to exclude an expert witness testimony of Dr. Michael Potash, which was granted on 26 April 2007.  Records show that in 2009, Potash surrendered his medical license in “lieu of defending the pending board charges under the grounds of immoral and unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine.” Dr. Potash died in 2015 but online records show that in 2010 a Sarah Eliott sued the psychiatrist over alleged medical malpractice involving the alleged misuse of the psychiatrist-patient relationship to obtain a sexual relationship, including in 2008.  According to a court filing, “During the course of this relationship, Dr. Potash prescribed a cocktail of prescription medications [including Xanax] to Ms. Eliott, leaving her in a confused and vulnerable state.”  Ms. Eliott filed a complaint with the Maryland State Board of Physicians that charged Dr. Potash on 8 October 2009. On November 12, 2009, he permanently surrendered his license.

Media reports say Katz spent 12 days at Sheppard Pratt psychiatric hospital in late 2007. Court documents say a psychiatrist at that time administered antidepressants.  Katz later spent about 13 days at Potomac Ridge behavioral health in Rockville, Maryland.  In 2006, the facility was under investigation for sexual abuse of patients, including a teenager.

A court record from the parents’ divorce proceedings, dated 11 April 2008, showed their son’s schooling in part occurred at Sheppard Pratt at a cost of $1,650 to Richard Katz (with the amount reduced by the court).

Dr. Steven Sharfstein, former president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and on the Board of Directors of the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF), was President and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System at the time of Katz’s admission. He started as vice president and medical director in 1986, and then took over as health system president and CEO in 1992.  He signed up six pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly & Co., Merck and Janssen Research Foundation, to test their products at Sheppard Pratt, according to a 2002 report.  Dr. Sharfstein retired from the position on July 1, 2016.

Parallels between Katz and Cruz treatment failures

David Katz’s history includes four months of treatment at a Utah “wilderness” therapy program, according to public records of his parents bitterly contested divorce.  He was reportedly diagnosed with “chronic, low-grade depression and oppositional disorder not otherwise specified”—all conditions that cannot be confirmed diagnostically with physical tests.

Between February and May of 2008, he attended the Redcliff Ascent Wilderness Treatment Program in Utah for troubled teens when he was about 15 years old, according to court filings.   The program’s clinical director must approve students that are on psychotropic drugs when admitted.   A court record dated 8 April 2008 said he’d been at the facility for several months and that the mother had enrolled her son “in health care facilities without first securing permission of the Court” and denying the boy’s father visitation rights.  The father’s costs for this “care,” was reduced by the court to $5,000 and “not his proportionate share of 60.9% of that expense previously ordered.”

Such programs have been criticized with stories of teens terrified and trying to escape, including from Redcliff.  In 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) compiled a report on the dangers of wilderness and other teen facilities.  For example, during 2005 alone, 33 states reported 1,619 staff members involved in incidents of abuse in such residential programs. They found “thousands of allegations of abuse, some of which involved death, at residential treatment programs across the country between 1990 and 2007.”

A 2014 article reported there had been 86 deaths in residential and wilderness camps and, “Many states don’t require background checks for staff, and there have been multiple investigations into sexual abuse and arrests for sexual assault at teen residential and wilderness programs.”

Nikolas Cruz (19) charged over the Parkland, Florida shooting, had been diagnosed at various times with “developmental disorder,” “depression,” “autism” and “ADHD,” according to a Florida Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS) report.  His mother had insisted her son had received his “necessary medication as prescribed,” NBC News reported.  It was also reported that he had “Obsessive-compulsive Disorder” (OCD).  None of these labels can be reliably diagnosed, as there’s no clinical test to confirm them.

Cruz spent years attending Henderson Mental Health Clinic in Florida. Police were called to his home 36 times, yet a therapist with the center deemed Cruz “to be no threat to anyone or himself” at that time. Similarly, CNN obtained police records that showed 26 calls for service to the police from the Katz family home in Columbia, Maryland, from 1993 to 2009, although media reports do not disclose the nature of these calls other than domestic issues and “mental illness”; David was not born until 1994.

Katz was enrolled in at least two other 10-day acute adolescent care facilities during a particularly troubled period and received “home and hospital” services from the Howard County Maryland School system. Media reported an Ellicott City mental health facility for 12 days in 2007 and later a 13-day stay at a Rockville facility.

Katz, a competitive gamer, had won previous video game tournaments. The Miami Herald reported that prior to his killings Nikolas Cruz played violent video games incessantly.

The video gamer that beat Katz in the video-game tournament where he went on the shooting spree said he tried to shake his hand, but that Katz just stared back at him blankly, before later “snapping.” A witness to the Cruz Parkland shooting described Cruz’s unemotional demeanor (emotional blunting can be an adverse effect of mind-altering drugs): “When the shooting stopped, I looked up and I looked at the window and he was standing there, just looking in. He had absolutely no facial expression whatsoever.”

Katz’s parents’ custody battle continued and on 25 August 2011, David was ordered to another “mental health evaluation.”

Per a court document dated 12 April 2012 (closed 3 September 2014), the father paid for treatment at Howard County General Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and has a psychiatric and pediatric psychiatric unit.

Report Discloses: Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide

An autopsy is being performed on Katz.  CCHR says regardless of whether or not drugs are found in his system, his case—along with Nikolas Cruz—are indicative of the failure of psychiatric “treatment,” especially where drugs and/or psychological behavior modification may have been involved.

CCHR’s comprehensive report, Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk, shows that since the introduction of antipsychotics in 1955 and the newer Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, like Prozac, in 1987, both groups of drugs have been documented to be linked to violent effects in a percentage of those taking them.

  • Cited in the report is Harvard Medical school psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen who said: “The irritability and impulsivity” from antidepressants, for example, “can make people suicidal or homicidal.”
  • Patrick D. Hahn, affiliate professor of Biology at Loyola University in Maryland also confirms: “The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well established.”

Even off psychiatric drugs, there are ongoing drug-induced problems: Withdrawal effects from psychotropic drugs, especially benzodiazepines, can last weeks and sometimes months or years. Benzodiazepine withdrawal includes increased anxiety, perceptual distortions, depersonalization, paranoid thoughts, rage, aggression and irritability to name but a few. Post-withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants also “may last several months to years” and include disturbed mood, emotional lability [excessive emotional reactions and frequent mood changes] and irritability, according to a 2012 article in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Antipsychotics have disturbing effects, including aggressive behavior from drug-induced akathisia (inability to sit still). The person may experience violent, aggressive impulses or feel suicidal, although they often can’t pinpoint the source of their distress, even though it can feel unbearable.

Akathisia may begin within several days after treatment but usually increases with duration of treatment, occurring in up to 50% of cases within one month and 90% of cases within three months. Antipsychotic or neuroleptic (meaning nerve seizing) drugs have been linked to hostility and aggression.

At least 27 international drug regulatory agency warnings have been issued on psychiatric drugs being linked to mania, psychosis violence, homicidal ideation (thoughts or fantasies of homicide), aggression and hostility.

The FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System has at least 1,530 cases of homicide/homicidal ideation reported to it as linked to psychiatric drugs. The FDA admits that only 1-10 percent of drug side effects are reported to its MedWatch program. Taking a moderate five percent, then, the potential number of reported incidents could be as high as 30,620. A percentage of those could be driven to commit violent crimes.

Researchers also took the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System data and of 484 prescription drugs identified, 31 were disproportionately associated with violence. These drugs, accounting for 79% of all the violence cases, included 25 psychotropic drugs.  Their findings, published in Public Library of Science ONE, included 11 antidepressants, six sedative/hypnotics and three drugs for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The specific cases of violence included: homicide, physical assaults, physical abuse, homicidal ideation and cases described as violence-related symptom.

CCHR says state and federal governments need to take heed from these tragedies and for the victims, their families and the community, at least investigate the mounting evidence that psychiatric treatment and its failure has had something to do with a large percentage of the acts of senseless violence we are witnessing today.

As David Kirschner, Ph.D., a New York psychologist says: “As a forensic psychologist, I have tested/evaluated 30 teenage and young adult murderers, and almost all of them had been in some kind of ‘treatment,’ usually short term and psychoactive drug-oriented, before they killed….Sadly however, most of the young people who kill had been in ‘treatment,’ prior to the violence, albeit with less than successful results.”

CCHR recommends that individuals concerned with the link between violence and drugs send a copy of its report, Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk to their legislative representative calling for an investigation.

Sources:

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Bethany Lindsay, “Antipsychotic medication may be causing care-home aggression, injuries: seniors advocate,” Vancouver Sun, 6 Feb. 2017, https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/antipsychotic-medication-may-be-causing-care-home-aggression-injuries-seniors-advocate; M. Alexander Otto, “Abilify and other newer drugs may cause increased violence,” Mind Freedom sourcing newstribune.com, 30 May 2007, http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psychiatric-drugs/antipsychotics/abilifymaycauseviolence.

“Psychiatric Drugs & Violence—The Facts,” CCHR International, https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/drug_warnings_on_violence/.

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.

Ibid.

David Kirschner, PhD, “Mass shooters received only limited treatment,” The National Psychologist, 26 Jul. 2017, http://nationalpsychologist.com/2014/09/mass-shooters-received-only-limited-treatment/102638.html.

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

Mental Health Watchdog Calls for Investigation into the Connection Between Violence and Psychiatric Drugs

CCHR campaign launched to educate law enforcement, policy makers and school officials about violence- and suicide-inducing drug risks.The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), 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 investigate the plausible link between psychiatric drugs and violence.

Following another act of senseless violence, this time in Jacksonville, the Florida chapter of CCHR is once again imploring officials to investigate the very real possibility that the dangerous side effects of psychotropic drugs are the bottom of these tragedies.

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 interrelationship is not surprising when it is taken into account that psychiatric 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 fact that individuals committing these murders have been or were under psychiatric treatment is often made public by the media. Multiple news sources have already made it known that the suspected gunman, David Katz, in the Jacksonville Landing mass shooting had been “twice hospitalized in his teenage years for mental illness, and that he was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs.”[3]

According to CCHR an investigation into the link is long overdue pointing out 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.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is urging lawmakers to immediately look into the connection between psychiatric drugs and the deadly events that transpired in Jacksonville and earlier this year in Parkland, Florida.[4] For more information on psychiatric drugs and side effects, please call CCHR Florida at 727-442-8820 or download the free online report “Psychiatric Drugs: Create Violence & Suicide”.

Sources:

[1] 36 School shooters/school related violence committed by those under the influence of psychiatric drugs

https://www.cchrint.org/school-shooters/

[2] Another Mass Shooting, Another Psychiatric Drug—27 Drug Warnings and 1,531 Cases of Drug-Induced Homicidal Ideation Back Need for Federal Investigation

https://www.cchrint.org/2017/10/10/another-mass-shooting-another-psychiatric-drug/

[3] ‘Madden’ gunman David Katz twice hospitalized for mental health

https://www.news4jax.com/news/records-landing-gunman-twice-hospitalized-for-mental-health

[4] School Shootings: Mental Health Watchdog Says Psychotropic Drug Use by School Shooters Merits Federal Investigation 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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Who Speaks for the Child?
16 Aug
0

Mental Health Watchdog on a Crusade to Protect Children from Illegal Baker Acts

Who Speaks for the Child?Seen as a statewide crisis, 32,763 involuntary examinations were initiated on children during 2016-2017 according to a report recently released by the Baker Act Reporting Center.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, has reached over 184,000 families in a campaign to stop the illegal Baker Acting of children in Florida.

The Florida chapter of CCHR is on a crusade to prevent unjust involuntary psychiatric examination of children without parental knowledge. Educating families on their rights at hundreds of local events, CCHR also hosts free seminars delivered by a local attorney on the mental health law at their headquarters located in downtown Clearwater.

The mental health law in Florida, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows for the initiation of an involuntary psychiatric examination of anyone no matter their age and this includes children as young as two years of age.

“We receive calls on a weekly basis from the parents of children that have been Baker Acted without their knowledge,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “This is a violation of the rights of the child and the parent.”

Seen as a statewide crisis, 32,763 involuntary examinations were initiated on children during 2016-2017 according to a report recently released by the Baker Act Reporting Center. [1]

Taking action to stop this abuse, CCHR began educating families on their rights in 2016 and has reached over 184,000 families with information on the Baker Act as well as providing them with a form designed to help prevent unjust involuntary examination. The form, created by attorneys, makes it clear that the parent is not relinquishing their parental rights and also clearly states that the parent is not giving permission for a psychiatric examination of their child for any purpose. This statement is based on Chapter 394.463 of the Florida Statutes, which reads as follows: “Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services.”

“The criteria for involuntary examination clearly allows for a parent or legal guardian to be given the opportunity to care for their child yet this fundamental right is being stripped away,” said Stein.

Concerned parents are encouraged to contact CCHR to learn more about their rights under the law at 800-782-2878 and to sign a petition asking Florida lawmakers to amend the Baker Act.

Source:

[1] Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Annual Report http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/publications/The%20Baker%20Act%20-%20FL%20MH%20Act%20-%20FY%2016-17%20Annual%20Report%20-%20Released%20June%202018.pdf

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Call for FDA ECT Ban
03 Aug
1

CCHR Calling for Ban on Torturous Electroconvulsive Therapy

Call for FDA ECT BanMental Health Watchdog calls upon the FDA to ban the ECT device from use after finding electroshock causes brain damage, memory loss and death.

The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida announced its support of the nationwide movement to ban the use of electroshock treatment—the practice of sending up to 460 volts of electricity to the brain to “treat mental disorder”—stating that such a ban should be imminent in light of increasing reports of patients being damaged and deaths. Florida saw a 60% increase between 2015 and 2016 in the number of Medicaid recipients who were electroshocked while Texas, the only state to record deaths within 14 days of electroshock being administered, reported a death rate in recent years that represents an estimated 300 deaths nationally each year. The most frequent causes of death have been cardiac events and suicide, according to one study.[i]

Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International, said: “Electroshock is mental euthanasia, with a long history of being used for torture and abuse. Electric shock eradicates memory. It should never be condoned or permitted because quite apart from its inhuman aspects, patients consider it bluntly criminal, especially when forced on them. Psychiatrists and the FDA pass off electric shock machines as wonderful, even though they can kill patients.”

Electroshock’s brutal and sordid history ranges from its use in the slaughter of pigs, to painful “aversion therapy” on homosexuals, inflicting brain damage on those receiving ECT and torture.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never obtained a single clinical trial from the manufacturers of the electroshock devices proving their safety and efficacy. Under Section 516 of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act the FDA has a duty to ban devices that present “substantial deception or unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.” Electroshock, also called electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, can cause brain damage, long term memory loss and death, constituting more than a “substantial risk” and is far from safe and effective, according to thousands of survivors’ complaints.[ii] Ignoring these dangers, the FDA has instead limited bans under this Section to prohibiting the use of powdered gloves in medical or surgical procedures and prosthetic hair fiber implants that may trigger inflammation and hypersensitivity reactions, the latter FDA says were misrepresented in marketing as “safe, effective and causing little or no discomfort.”

“Despite evidence clearly demonstrating that there are substantial risks associated with the use of ECT, the FDA and APA continue to ignore the perils,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “One person being electroshocked is one too many and we are urging everyone to sign the petition to ban ECT”

The petition to ban ECT being used on children, the elderly and vulnerable patients has gained widespread support and stresses that in light of the fact that the FDA admits ECT can cause cardiovascular complications, memory loss, cognitive impairment, brain damage and death and that psychiatrists admit they do not know how ECT “works,” that the FDA should ban the electroshock (ECT) device from use.

Examples of brain damage and memory loss are all too abundant:

  • In March 2016, a coroner from Sunderland County in the UK determined Elsie Tindle died after electroshock triggered an epileptic fit which caused irreparable brain damage.[iii]
  • A 2012 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported a considerable “decrease in functional connectivity” between the prefrontal lobes of the brain and other parts of the brain after ECT. The most extensive long-term follow-up study indicates that “most ECT patients will never recover from the damage in the form of persistent severe mental deficits.”[iv]
  • Austin, Texas, psychologist John Breeding, who heads the Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock, said, “The bottom line is that ECT ‘works’ to the extent that it damages and disables the brain.”[v] Breeding dispels psychiatric theories that the procedure is safer today than its “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” days in the 60s. He says that ECT has more potential for harm than ever. Much higher voltages are employed in the modern procedure because muscle relaxants and anesthetics raise the seizure threshold, with more electricity required to produce a seizure. The greater heat and electricity themselves cause more brain cell death, he says. He concludes “Given what we know about the resulting brain damage, I think this is a form of assault….”[vi]
  • Leading ECT researcher and advocate, psychologist Harold Sackeim admitted in an editorial in The Journal of ECT that “virtually all patients experience some degree of persistent and, likely, permanent retrograde amnesia.”[vii] In a January 2007 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, Sackeim and colleagues acknowledged that ECT may cause permanent amnesia and permanent deficits in cognitive abilities, which affect ability to function.[viii]
  • In 2005, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Denise de Bellefeuille ruled that a psychiatrist and Santa Barbara psychiatric facility deceived its patients by failing to tell them that ECT causes irreversible memory loss. The psychiatrist (who had performed shock treatment for over 20 years), admitted that neither he nor anyone else understands how shock treatment works, and that the consent form Johnson provided to patients was “decidedly misleading in a critical regard,” concerning the permanency of memory loss.[ix]

Stein says, “To treat mental problems by electric shocks is brutality in the name of mental health care. The high death rate, severe memory loss and the brain atrophy and damage ECT causes warrants it being banned under existing FDA law.”

To sign the petition to ban ECT please visit Ban Electroshock (ECT) Device Being Used on Children, the Elderly and Vulnerable Patients

SOURCES:

[i] “An Analysis of Reported Deaths Following Electroconvulsive Therapy in Texas, 1993-1998,” 1 Aug 2001, https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ps.52.8.1095.

[ii] Jonathan Emord & Associates, Citizens Petition filed with the FDA Commissioner, 14 Aug. 2016, page 27, p. 14 and 42 , http://emord.com/blawg/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1-ECT-Citizen-Petition.pdf

[iii] Petra Silfverskiold, “Electric shock therapy led to Sunderland patient having permanent fit,” Daily Mail (UK), 10 Mar. 2016, http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/all-news/electric-shock-therapy-led-to-sunderland-patient-having-permanent-fit-1-7786233.

[iv] Peter Breggin, “New Study Confirms Electroshock (ECT) Causes Brain Damage,” Huffington Post, 9 Apr. 2012, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/electroshock-treatment_b_1373619.html

[v] John Breeding, Ph,D., “Electroshocking Children:
Why It Should Be Stopped,” Mad in America, 11 Feb. 2014, https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/02/electroshocking-children-stopped/

[vi] John Breeding, Ph,D., “Electroshocking Children: Why It Should Be Stopped,” Mad in America, 11 Feb. 2014, https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/02/electroshocking-children-stopped; John Breeding, Ph.D, “Chapter 9: Electroshock,” http://www.wildestcolts.com/psych_opp/d-electroshock/1-shock.html

[vii] John Breeding, Ph,D., “Electroshocking Children:
Why It Should Be Stopped,” Mad in America, 11 Feb. 2014, https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/02/electroshocking-children-stopped/

[viii] John Breeding, Ph,D., “Electroshocking Children:
Why It Should Be Stopped,” Mad in America, 11 Feb. 2014, https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/02/electroshocking-children-stopped/, citing, Sackeim et al., “The Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Community Settings” Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 32, Number 1, 2007.

[ix] Charles D. Morgan, “Milestone case: Hospital ordered to cease shocking patients,” https://suemypsychiatrist.wordpress.com/category/ect/.

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2018 National School Safety Conference
02 Aug
0

CCHR Educates School Safety Conference Attendees on Psychiatric Drug Dangers

2018 National School Safety ConferenceThe Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to investigating and exposing abusive psychiatric practices in the mental health industry, educated hundreds of school officials, security professionals, School Resource Officers and members of law enforcement during the 13th Annual National School Safety Conference & Exposition on the correlation between mass murder, violent crime, suicide and psychiatric drugs.

Advertised as the largest and most comprehensive conference covering all the aspects of school safety and security, the National School Safety Conference attracted more than 900 attendees and 100 exhibitors from across the country all focused on improving school security measures. These security measures ranged from facial recognition technology to portable scanners and sessions on how to respond to an active shooter but one exhibitor was there with a different message the undeniable connection between school shootings and psychiatric drugs.

For the past 20 years, CCHR has been investigating and exposing the interrelationship 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]

Prompted by the tragic school shootings in Florida and Texas, the international headquarters for CCHR released a compelling 64-page report titled Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: School Shootings & Other Acts of Senseless Violence, which 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. According to CCHR International, the goal of this report is to help law enforcement; educators and policy makers learn how psychotropic drugs are a hidden link to the prevalence of violence and suicide in the community.

“Getting this report into the hands of the hundreds of decision makers attending this conference was our sole reason for exhibiting,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “People are demanding answers to the violence in our schools and the connection between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence must be investigated if an answer is to be found.”

An investigation into the connection 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.[3]

For more information on psychiatric drugs and side effects, school shootings, or obtaining educational materials for yourself or an organization, please call 1-800-782-2878.

Sources:

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

[2] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/10/10/another-mass-shooting-another-psychiatric-drug/

[3] 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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Baker Act Symposium
12 Jul
3

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 https://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
5

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] https://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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