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18 Dec
0

CCHR Supports U.N. and Rights’ Groups Demand for Urgent FDA Ban on Skin Electric Shock Devices

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it will ban a device that delivers painful electrical shocks to the skin to “modify” behavior in disabled students at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Massachusetts. In a publication of its upcoming priorities, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the FDA was planning to issue a final ban of the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED) in the fall. [1] But Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), a mental health watchdog, says media reports say the FDA may take another year to ban it, leaving children, adolescents and adults at risk from the device. CCHR says that all electrical devices use to alter behavior should be banned, including the electroconvulsive therapy devices, also known as electroshock or ECT machines. These deliver up to 460 volts to the brain causing a grand mal seizure throughout the body. Click here to sign CCHR’s Petition to Ban ECT.

A petition started by Gregory Miller to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts calling for a ban on the skin shocks garnered nearly 270,000 signatures before closing about six years ago.  It stated,“Not only does the JRC need to immediately stop this practice but Massachusetts legislators need to make these shock procedures illegal.” It pointed out that students have “no voice of their own to describe their pain. They need your help.” [2] Yet CCHR says the FDA has failed to speedily provide that help which requires the device to be banned immediately. “FDA continues to procrastinate, as it has done with the ECT, electroshock device, putting individuals at risk of devastating harm,” stated Jan Eastgate, international president of CCHR.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) also just issued a formal notice known as “precautionary measures” that called for immediate cessation of the electric shocks at JRC. In a seven-page resolution, the Washington-based panel said that the practice poses a “serious impact on the rights” of the vulnerable children at the school, “particularly on their right to personal integrity which may be subjected to a form of torture.” [3]

Both the GED and ECT procedures are equated with torture, added Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida, and commenting that Florida residents have been treated at JRC. [4] ECT uses anesthesia and muscle relaxants largely in the treatment of “depression,” while the GED is an external skin shock to control behavior in those with severe emotional, behavioral, psychiatric problems, and autism-like disorders. ECT can cause severe memory loss and permanent brain damage—a fact that one of its manufacturers recently admitted.

The skin shock works by “hooking the students up to electrodes worn on different parts of the body.”  When the student engages in “forbidden behavior, a staff member administers a shock. Some students wear the electrodes as much as 24-hours a day, seven days a week. And sometimes for years,” according to the ABC News. [5]

Manfred Nowak, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrote to the U.S. government in May 2010, appealing to them to investigate. [6] In 2012, another Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, also formally approached the U.S. government concerned about the procedure and how it “inflicts pain and suffering tantamount to torture in violation of international law.” His remarks followed a video being shown online of then 18-year-old Andre McCollins being given 31 shocks over a seven-hour period in 2002. In the video Andre can be heard screaming and shouting, “Help me. Help me.” He was restrained with belts, face down on a board as the electricity was discharged into his body. [7] About 90 percent of the center’s students are people of color. [8]

In 2013, the UN again cited the GED in a report on torture, which stated that the FDA had “sent a warning letter to the JRC on 6 December 2012” and that “the use of aversive therapy by JRC has been challenged through a variety of state and federal legislative and judicial actions,” including the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into possible violations of civil rights laws….’ [9] The DOJ condemned the practice. [10]

In a 2007 interview with ABC, the developer of the JRC skin shock system, a doctor, said the procedure “has no detrimental effects whatsoever.” Further, “And if it didn’t hurt it wouldn’t be effective.  It has to hurt enough so that the student wants to avoid showing that behavior again.”The price tag per student is $200,000 a year, and is financed by tax dollars. [11]  Similarly, psychiatrists dismiss any damage from ECT, while a course of treatments can cost up to $35,000 a year, not including hospitalization costs, in a lucrative $5 billion a year industry.

People are encouraged to write to Laurie Lenkel, Director, FDA Office of the Ombudsman, ombuds@oc.fda.gov and demand the Graduated Electronic Decelerator be banned immediately—not in another year’s time.

You can also write to Taunton’s Bristol County Probate and Family Court, which approves the use of GED shock device on JRC students, to protest the court’s approval of a procedure criticized for its torturous affects. [12] Write to the Register’s Office, Taunton Family and Probate Court, 40 Broadway, Suite 240, Taunton, MA 02780.   

Disability rights group ADAPT, the American Civil Liberties Union, IACHR and many others have opposed GED shock. [13] Independently, CCHR has campaigned for a ban on all electric shock devices in the treatment of mental disorders, autism or emotional or aggressive behavior, as a violation of fundamental human rights.

References:

[1] “FDA eyes ban on device that delivers shocktreatment to disabled students,” WCVB 5, ABCNews, 12 Dec. 2018, https://www.wcvb.com/article/fda-eyes-ban-on-device-that-delivers-shock-treatment-to-disabled-students/25564530.

[2] https://www.change.org/p/judge-rotenberg-educational-center-please-stop-painful-electric-shocks-on-your-students.

[3] “Human rights body calls on US school to ban electric shocks on children,” The Guardian, 18 Dec. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/18/judge-rotenberg-center-electric-shocks-ban-inter-american-commission-human-rights

[4] “Judge Rotenberg Center Living Archive,” https://autistichoya.net/judge-rotenberg-center/.

[5] “UN Calls Shock Treatment at Mass. School ‘Torture,’” ABC News, 30 June 2018, https://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/shock-therapy-massachussetts-school/story?id=11047334

[6] Ibid.

[7] “UN calls for investigation of US school’s shock treatments of autisticchildren,” The Guardian, 2 June2012, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jun/02/un-investigation-shock-treatments-auti

[8] Shayna Korol, “Abuse is Not the Answer: Shut Down the Judge Rotenberg Center,” Huffington Post, 22 Dec. 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/abuse-is-not-the-answer-shut-down-the-judge-rotenberg_us_585be5dde4b068764965bab3.

[9]https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.53.Add.4_Advance_version.pdf, p. 83.

[10] Debra Bruno, “An electric shock therapy stops self-harm among the autistic, but at what cost?,” The Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/an-electric-shock-therapy-stops-self-harm-among-the-autistic-but-at-what-cost/2016/11/21/b9b06c44-8f2c-11e6-9c85-ac42097b8cc0_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5dc5fea73fbc.

[11] Op. cit., ABC News, 30 June 2018.

[12] Denise, Powell, “Massachusetts school allowed to continue electric shock therapy on special needs children,” Sandhills Express, 2 July 2018, http://sandhillsexpress.com/abc_health/massachusetts-school-allowed-to-continue-electric-shock-therapy-on-special-needs-children-abcid36085969/; Emily Shugerman, “Massachusetts school can continue using electric shocks on special needs students, judge rules,” The Independent, 3 July 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/electric-shock-therapy-school-special-needs-children-massachusetts-judge-rotenberg-center-canton-a8429736.html. [13] Ibid., The Independent.

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02 Dec
0

CCHR Continues Fight to Reform Mental Health Law in Campaign to Protect Children

The Florida chapter of the international mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), has been working for years to create positive change in how the mental health law is applied to children and teens in order to protect children and parental rights.

The mental health law in Florida is commonly known as the Baker Act and under this law there were more than 199,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations last year alone according to the Baker Act Reporting Center with those 17 and under accounting for more than 32,000 of these initiations. [1] And while the Baker Act is seen by some as the only solution to help those in crisis CCHR states that the abusive use of this law does more harm than good.

Having educated tens of thousands of Floridians on the mental health law, CCHR has helped to make changes to the Baker Act specifically for the purpose of protecting children. These changes have included changing how long a Baker Act Receiving Facility has to initiate an examination on a child reducing it from 72 hours to 12 hours. Stating that the trauma experienced by a child, especially a very young child, during a Baker Act needs to be taken into consideration by those who have the authority to send children for an involuntary psychiatric examination, CCHR is currently asking Florida lawmakers to amend the law to clearly spell out the procedure for Baker Acting a minor.

“All too often the Baker Act is used incorrectly to address the behavior of a child and this abuse of the law comes with long term ramifications for that child and the family,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “Being escorted out of school by law enforcement is a stigma the child carries for life.”

Currently the law is being executed in such a way that parents and legal guardians are being left out of the process only finding out that their child has been Baker Acted after initiation and usually after the child has already been transported by law enforcement to a psychiatric facility. CCHR believes that this is a violation of the rights of the child and the parent a belief that is shared by Sheriffs, Police Chiefs and even School Districts across Florida.

Since 2017, CCHR has been working to educate those granted the power to initiate a Baker Act on why a parent or guardian should be brought into the process before initiation resulting in over one hundred adoptions of policy changes, mostly within law enforcement, to contact the parents of a child before initiating a Baker Act.

“This policy adoption is helping to protect children, parental rights and is reducing the number of illegal Baker Acts where a child does not meet the criteria to be sent for involuntary psychiatric examination,” said Ms. Stein.

With it being disclosed during a meeting of the Baker Act Task Force in 2017 that 30 percent of the minor Baker Acts in Pinellas County did not meet the criteria and that facilities were “risk-averse” and admitting children that might not fully meet the criteria, adoption of policy to bring parents and guardians into the process before a child is put through the trauma of a Baker Act only makes sense. [2]

Those interested in learning more about CCHR’s campaign to protect children from abusive Baker Acting are encouraged to call 800-782-2878.

Sources:
[1] Baker Act Reporting Center 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
[2] CHILDREN’S BAKER ACT TASK FORCE, MINUTES for FIRST MEETING 7.20.17 http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/mentalhealth/task-force-examination-minors/docs/20170720/20170720-minutes.pdf

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27 Nov
0

CCHR Warns Officials: Mental Health Screening and Psychotropic Drugs Can Contribute to Violence

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is urging state authorities and educators not to adopt mental health screening in schools in the false hope that it could prevent acts of violence. Such screening could exacerbate the issue if it leads to children being prescribed psychotropic drugs based on the fact that since the introduction of antipsychotics in 1955 and the newer antidepressants, like Prozac, in 1987, both groups of drugs have been linked to violent effects in a percentage of those taking them.[1] Independent of CCHR, Dr. David Healy, an international expert in psychopharmacology, estimated that 90 percent of school shootings, over more than a decade leading up to 2012, were linked to SSRI antidepressants (e.g., fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, etc.).[2] Dr. Healy further warned: “Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best-kept secret.”[3]

In a comprehensive report released earlier this year, CCHR documented 36 school shootings and school-related acts of violence that date back to 1988 with all of the crimes committed by people either taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. The end result was that 172 people were wounded and 80 were killed.

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.” Also cited is Patrick D. Hahn, an affiliate professor of Biology at Loyola University in Maryland who confirms: “The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well established.”[4][5]

At least 27 international drug regulatory agency warnings have been issued on psychiatric drugs being linked to mania, psychosis violence, homicidal ideation, aggression and hostility.[6]

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.

“Officials need investigate the mounting evidence that psychiatric treatment and its failure has had something to do with a large percentage of the acts of violence occurring in our communities,” said the president of the Florida chapter of CCHR, Diane Stein.

In the aftermath of recent school shootings, training in Mental Health First Aide and increased mental health screening of students has been a widely promoted response yet these actions simply lead to a significant number of individuals being labeled and drugged with the very same psychotropics linked to violence in the first place.

Following the shooting tragedy at Santa Fe High School in Texas, leaving ten dead, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hosted roundtable discussions in the hopes of developing solutions to improve school safety statewide resulting in the Texas Criminal Justice Division of the governor’s office providing $565,000 to the Telemedicine Wellness, Intervention, Triage, and Referral (TWITR) Project at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The purpose of the TWITR project was to identify junior high and high school students most at risk for committing violence in schools and intervene before it happens.[7] Through the program, at-risk students at ten West Texas school districts who showed aggressive or harmful behavior were identified and then screened for potential psychiatric services.

Since its launch, more than 400 students have been referred to the program, with 200 getting screened for alleged anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation and whether they’re prone to violence or violent thoughts.[8] This is an astounding figure, CCHR says, considering that psychiatrists admit they have no means of predicting violence. In an article in the Rutgers Law Review, Henry Steadman and Joseph Cocozza also concluded, “There is no empirical evidence to support the position that psychiatrists have any special expertise in accurately predicting dangerousness.”[9]

Karen Effrem, MD, a pediatrician and president of Education Liberty Watch, points out a number of problems with the project. “While federal, state, and local officials are trying to improve student safety in the wake of the tragic Parkland, FL, school shooting [and now Santa Fe High School shooting], the heightened concern over student mental health has greatly increased efforts to screen students for mental health issues.”[10]

Dr. Effrem stated, “There are so many problems with the foundation of these programs, it is difficult to know where to begin. Let’s start with the admitted subjectivity of mental illness diagnostic criteria. As the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) diagnostic handbook was about to be published, Dr. Dilip Jeste, APA’s president at the time, admitted: ‘At present, most psychiatric disorders lack validated diagnostic biomarkers, and although considerable advances are being made in the arena of neurobiology, psychiatric diagnoses are still mostly based on clinician assessment.'” In other words, as Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health said, psychiatric “diagnoses are based on a consensus [vote] about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.”[11]

CCHR warns that mental health screening and the inevitable resulting increased psychotropic drug prescriptions will not only escalate state budgets for no equitable or positive return but more importantly, will put more students, teachers and the community at risk of increased violence. Individuals concerned with the link between violence and psychiatric drugs are encouraged to send a copy of the report, Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk to their legislative representative calling for an investigation.

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969. For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

Sources:
[1] “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 7, No. I, Spring 2005, http://pt.cchr.org/sites/default/files/Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic_Psychiatric_Drugs_Rise_of_Mental_Illness.pdf
[2] “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
[3] 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/
[4] 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
[5] 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
[6] “Psychiatric Drugs & Violence—The Facts,” CCHR International, https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/drug_warnings_on_violence/
[7] “After Santa Fe shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott sees a West Texas mental health program as a statewide model,” Texas Tribune, 19 May 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/2018/05/19/after-santa-fe-high-school-shooting-gov-greg-abbott-wants-school-menta/
[8] Ibid.
[9] Joseph J. Cocozza and Henry J. Steadman, “The Failure of Psychiatric Predictions of Dangerousness: Clear and Convincing Evidence,” Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 5, Late Summer 1976, pp. 1099-1100.
[10] Karen Effrem, MD., “Parents Beware: Mental Screening of Students Ramps Up in Texas,” The National Pulse, 12 Apr. 2018, https://thenationalpulse.com/commentary/parents-beware-mental-screening-students-ramps-up-texas/
[11] Thomas Insel, “Transforming Diagnosis,” NIMH Website, Apr. 29, 2013, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

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ECT
14 Nov
0

CCHR Florida Applauds Court Finding Forcible Electroshock a Human Rights Violation: Reinforces the Need to Ban ECT

ECTThe Florida chapter of the international mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), applauds a recent Supreme Court decision in Victoria, Australia that ruled the forcible use of electroshock treatment (ECT) violates patients’ human rights.

The case involved two patients who refused ECT, one who she said she was concerned about ECT causing her memory loss—a well-known debilitating effect of the procedure that sends up to 460 volts of electricity through the brain. A state psychiatric agency overrode the patients’ decisions and claimed the woman lacked the capacity to “carefully consider” ECT’s “advantages” and “disadvantages.” The Supreme Court judge, Justice Kevin Bell, said the agency had failed to respect the two patients’ human rights. “A person does not lack the capacity to give informed consent simply by making a decision that others consider to be unwise according to their individual values and situation,” he stated. [1]

Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida said that while the decision reinforces that electroshock given without consent is a human rights violation—a step in the right direction—the entire practice of ECT is a human rights violation and should be banned. She said the Victorian decision highlighted the issue of informed consent rights, but charges that a U.S. review of ECT information provided to patients likely violates these rights and could constitute consumer fraud.

ECT Consumer Fraud Investigation Needed

CCHR’s international headquarters recently conducted an analysis of how ECT is promoted to consumers either on mental health facility websites or in their ECT consent forms. As an advocacy group for mental health consumers, CCHR wants to ensure patients are informed without deception or misrepresentation.

A sample of 33 psychiatric facilities in 24 states, including five from Florida—two owned by for-profit companies, Universal Health Services (UHS) and Hospital Corp of America (HCA)—were reviewed for their promotion of ECT. Only one facility in Maine cited a reference in “support” of its claims; only two facilities informed patients that ECT couldn’t cure. Jan Eastgate, international president of CCHR, said, “Psychiatrists admit they have no idea how ECT works, which is not made clear in online ECT promotion or consent forms. There are about 100 theories but no facts. We found the claimed theories differed from one facility to the next, making informed consent impossible.”

The theories documented from the analysis ranged from the grand mal seizure that ECT causes “may help the brain ‘rewire’ itself, which helps relieve symptoms,”electrical stimulation of nerve cells within the brain [releases] chemicals that may help restore normal functioning,” and the electrical current causes “changes in brain chemistry that can rapidly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.” “There’s not a shred of scientific evidence to support this,” Eastgate said. “The misinformation given in order to extract a patient’s consent should be investigated for violating informed consent rights and consumer fraud.”

UHS has 16 behavioral healthcare facilities in Florida, 2 of which deliver ECT. River Point Behavioral Health in Jacksonville performs 900-1000 ECT treatments a year and claims that electroshock is safe for pregnant women. However, CCHR says that missing from online promotion is that pregnant women receiving ECT can experience adverse events that include miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth, fetal heart problems and malformations. [2]

The adverse effects of ECT that include memory loss, cognitive impairment and brain damage, can prolong the length of a hospital stay, according to a journal study. ECT, therefore, can increase hospital profits and may be an incentive for administering it, Stein says. [3]

She said that Florida saw a 60% increase between 2015 and 2016 in the number of Medicaid recipients who were electroshocked. [4] The youngest receiving ECT covered by Medicaid were aged 16-17, while the age group most likely to be shocked were aged 51-60, followed by those aged 31 and 50. She said CCHR Florida is supporting a Florida and nation-wide ban on ECT. More than 50,000 people have already signed the online petition. Click here to sign.

Sources:

[1] “Orders for forced ‘shock therapy’ breached human rights of schizophrenia patients, court rules,” The Guardian, 1 Nov. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/01/shock-therapy-court-upholds-appeal-by-patients-prescribed-ect-against-their-will;

“Orders for forced ‘shock therapy’ breached human rights of schizophrenia patients, court rules,”ABC News, 1 Nov. 2018,

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-01/human-rights-must-be-upheld-forced-shock-ect-therapy-court-rules/10454750

[2] Kari Ann Leiknes, et al. “Electroconvulsive therapy during pregnancy: a systematic review of case studies,” Arch Womens Ment Health, epub 24 Nov 2013.

[3] Draper B, Luscombe G., “Quantification of factors contributing to length of stay in an acute psychogeriatric ward,” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 1998; 13:1–7.

[4] “Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Provider Recipient and Payment Information, July1, 2015 – June 30, 2016,” Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Obtained through Freedom of Information Act Request, 2016.

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This year’s recipient of the prestigious CCHR Humanitarian Award was local attorney Mrs. Carmen Miller for her work to educate citizens on their rights under the mental health law.
06 Nov
0

Humanitarian Award Presented to Attorney Committed to Fighting for Human Rights

This year’s recipient of the prestigious CCHR Humanitarian Award was local attorney Mrs. Carmen Miller for her work to educate citizens on their rights under the mental health law.

This year’s recipient of the prestigious CCHR Humanitarian Award was local attorney Mrs. Carmen Miller for her work to educate citizens on their rights under the mental health law.

Distinguished Florida attorney, Mrs. Carmen Miller, received the CCHR Humanitarian Award during a banquet held at the historic Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater for her work in the fight to protect individuals from fraudulent involuntary psychiatric examinations known as Baker Acts.

Attended by hundreds of guests, the 3rd Annual Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Humanitarian Awards Banquet once again honored the many dedicated volunteers and supporters of CCHR for their work in the field of mental health reform.

New this year was the presentation of the CCHR Hall of Fame Award, which was presented to Mr. Marlin Anderson. A longtime resident of the Tampa Bay area, Mr. Anderson has actively worked to expose mental health abuse since 1978 having appeared on radio shows and as a speaker at numerous events designed to raise awareness on this important issue. Most notably he was part of a team that brought to light elder abuse and helped restore rights to seniors that had been unjustly declared incompetent.

This year’s recipient of the prestigious CCHR Humanitarian Award was local attorney Mrs. Carmen Miller for her work to educate citizens on their rights under the mental health law. A member of the Florida Bar for over ten years, Mrs. Miller served the people of Tampa Bay as an Assistant Public Defender for over eight years and has represented thousands of clients in the criminal justice system. During this tenure, she could not idly stand by while her fellow men and women were being unjustly sent for involuntary psychiatric examinations so she began to specialize in Baker Act cases. Currently a private attorney she expanded her legal skills to also include civil law, focusing on family and elder abuse cases.

In accepting the award, Mrs. Miller said, “I know what happens in Baker Act hearings. I went to the facilities. I visited my clients and I know how detrimental the whole experience really is so when I see someone who is potentially being railroaded, or steamrolled, it triggers something in me to help that person out.”

Citing the abusive use of the mental health law, Mrs. Miller vowed to connect with other attorneys stating that there is potential for litigation against those abusing the Baker Act and the potential to create statewide impacts.

“We’re going to go after the pocketbooks of these institutions and we’re going to go after involuntary commitment. We can be the beacons of light for the rest of this country, and most importantly, we can keep people from being unnecessarily Baker Acted,” said Miller.

Originally intended to protect patient rights, the Baker Act has now become a source of human rights abuse with involuntary psychiatric examinations more than doubling in the past 16 years. According to the Baker Act Reporting Center, 199,944 Baker Acts were initiated during 2016-2017 and 32,763 were on children some as young as 2-years-old. Even more disturbing is that the mental health law allows for a child to be Baker Acted without parental knowledge. [1]

Launching a campaign to put an end to this violation of rights in 2016, the Florida chapter of CCHR, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, has educated more than 200,000 families on their rights under the law in addition to calling upon Florida lawmakers to eliminate the unjust Baker Acting of children.

“We must restore and secure basic freedoms and rights, especially and most importantly, for our next generation… our leaders of tomorrow… mankind’s future,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “It should not be legal for a child to be taken into custody and sent for involuntary psychiatric examination without parental knowledge when the child does not meet the criteria for a Baker Act.”

For more information on CCHR’s campaign to eliminate inappropriate Baker Acting of children please visit 5 Simple Steps to Help Protect Your Child, or contact CCHR at 727-442-8820.

Source:

[1] Baker Act Annual Report, release in June 2018, Baker Act Reporting Center

Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute Department of Mental Health Law & Policy 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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Hundreds of men, women and children made their voices heard at the 2018 Psych Congress in Orlando.
01 Nov
1

Hundreds Gather to Protest the Psychiatric Drugging and Shocking of Children

Hundreds of men, women and children made their voices heard at the 2018 Psych Congress in Orlando.

Hundreds of men, women and children made their voices heard at the 2018 Psych Congress in Orlando.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, held a demonstration in Orlando at the Psych Congress protesting the drugging and electroshocking of children.

Marching through the streets to the chant of “Don’t Drug Our Kids! Don’t Shock Our Kids! Leave Our Kids Alone!” hundreds of men, women and children made their voices heard at the 2018 Psych Congress in Orlando. Organized to raise awareness on the labeling, drugging and electroshocking of children by the Florida chapter of CCHR, the protest received tremendous support from those witnessing the event.

Currently over 8 million U.S. children are being prescribed psychiatric drugs, with more than 1 million between the ages of zero to five and reports show that psychotropic drug prescriptions among babies doubled from 2013 to 2014 despite the more than 400,000 adverse reaction reports filed with the U.S. FDA. [1,2,3]

Even more disturbing is the fact that the American Psychiatric Association is now lobbying the FDA, which regulates the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) device, to allow them broader use of electroshock on the public, including use on children, stating “Having access to a rapid and effective treatment such as ECT is especially meaningful in children and adolescents.” [4]

“We want to know why psychiatric drugs for kids are being promoted so heavily to parents, teachers and health care professionals,” said Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida. “And we want to know why ECT, which has been condemned as torture by the United Nations, is being used on children.”

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,” CCHR is calling upon the state of Florida to ban the electroshock (ECT) device. Those interested are asked to sign the petition.

Sources:

[1] 8 MILLION US KIDS TAKING PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS: PARENTS UNAWARE OF DEADLY RISKS

https://deeprootsathome.com/psychiatric-drugs-deadly-risks/

[2] Psychiatric Drugs For Babies? More Kids Aged 2 And Under Getting Prescribed Antipsychotics

https://www.medicaldaily.com/psychiatric-drugs-babies-more-kids-aged-2-and-under-getting-prescribed-antipsychotics-365236

[3] Psychiatric Drugs—Just the Facts

https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/

[4] https://www.cchrint.org/support-cchrs-campaign-to-ban-ect/

[5] UN Human Rights Council Condemns Forced Psychiatric Practices

https://www.cchrint.org/2018/09/12/un-human-rights-council-condemns-forced-psychiatric-practices/

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Hosted by the Florida chapter of CCHR, the exhibit attracted educators, psychologists and other mental health practitioners who are concerned with the surge in psychiatric labeling and drugging of children. Stating that they have seen the abuses shown in the exhibit firsthand, these professionals pledged to work with CCHR to help prevent mental health abuses in Florida.
25 Oct
0

Hundreds Tour the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Traveling Exhibit in Miami

Hosted by the Florida chapter of CCHR, the exhibit attracted educators, psychologists and other mental health practitioners who are concerned with the surge in psychiatric labeling and drugging of children. Stating that they have seen the abuses shown in the exhibit firsthand, these professionals pledged to work with CCHR to help prevent mental health abuses in Florida.

Hosted by the Florida chapter of CCHR, the exhibit attracted educators, psychologists and other mental health practitioners who are concerned with the surge in psychiatric labeling and drugging of children. Stating that they have seen the abuses shown in the exhibit firsthand, these professionals pledged to work with CCHR to help prevent mental health abuses in Florida.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit watchdog that exposes human rights violations in the field of mental health, held an exhibit this week in Miami that presented shocking evidence of mental health abuse and dangerous psychiatric drugging of children.

Hundreds of concerned Floridians toured an exhibit highlighting the history of psychiatry and exposing mental health abuse this week in Miami. The exhibit, Psychiatry: An Industry of Death, travels all over the world reaching tens of thousands of people annually. Designed to raise awareness on such human rights abuse as the use of electroshock, involuntary examination and the drugging of children with dangerous psychiatric medications, the exhibit is based off of the permanent museum located at the international headquarters for CCHR in Los Angeles, California.

Hosted by the Florida chapter of CCHR, the exhibit attracted educators, psychologists and other mental health practitioners who are concerned with the surge in psychiatric labeling and drugging of children. Stating that they have seen the abuses shown in the exhibit firsthand, these professionals pledged to work with CCHR to help prevent mental health abuses in Florida.

“Over 7 million children 17 and under are taking psychotropic prescription drugs in the United States,” states Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida. “And we want to know why pharmaceuticals for kids are being promoted so heavily to parents and teachers.”

The Florida chapter of CCHR also has a permanent installation of this exhibit located in their center in downtown Clearwater. Unveiled in July of 2015, the Florida version of the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum, presents the unvarnished history of psychiatry while also providing information on the state of psychiatry today. Consisting of 14 audiovisual displays revealing the cold, hard facts about psychiatric abuses, the museum uses interviews from more than 160 doctors, attorneys, educators and survivors to expose the multi-billion dollar fraud that is psychiatry.

Over 5,700 people have toured the Florida museum including students from nursing schools and technical colleges from across the state who come to the museum to go through the 2-hour self-guided tour as part of their clinical days finding the experience to be informative and eye opening. Coupling tours of the museum with seminars and workshops delivered by attorneys and healthcare professionals on the mental health law, known as the Baker Act, CCHR is working to educate lawmakers, doctors and all private citizens on mental health abuse and their rights under the law. The museum is open daily from 10am until 10pm and events are held weekly and monthly. Both are free to the general public. To learn more, please call 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org.

Source:

[1] Number of Children & Adolescents Taking Psychiatric Drugs in the U.S.

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

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Experts presented solutions to the challenges faced when dealing with youth mental health to an audience of concerned parents, educators, clergy and mental health practitioners.
17 Oct
3

Experts Present Youth Mental Health Solutions at World Mental Health Day Forum

Experts presented solutions to the challenges faced when dealing with youth mental health to an audience of concerned parents, educators, clergy and mental health practitioners.

Experts presented solutions to the challenges faced when dealing with youth mental health to an audience of concerned parents, educators, clergy and mental health practitioners.

CCHR hosted an event following World Mental Health Day where experts presented solutions to the challenges faced when dealing with youth mental health.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, hosted an event on October 13th following World Mental Health Day at the Church of Scientology in Tampa. During the event experts presented solutions to the challenges faced when dealing with youth mental health to an audience of concerned parents, educators, clergy and mental health practitioners.

Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than European children according to a new study which is one reason why the Florida chapter of CCHR gathered together a panel of experts to present safe and healthy alternatives to approaching and tackling the subject of youth mental health. [1]

The panel discussion was moderated by the president of CCHR Florida, Diane Stein, who set the tone for event by playing a short clip from the documentary “The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane?” which details how the psychiatric industry is attempting to penetrate into nearly every aspect of American life by marketing drugs directly to consumers and attempting to convince the public that they, their children and even their babies, have a mental disease in order to prescribe their drugs.

A panel of experts, who helped bring more awareness, information and resources to the mental health, education and childcare community present at the event, followed this introduction.

The first panelist to speak was Dr. Richard Wallace, a specialist in family and sports medicine, who currently runs Bayside Urgent Care Center, a medical clinic in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Wallace covered the effects of psychotropic drugs on the body and his experience from a medical doctors perspective on the harm caused by these drugs including heart failure in children. Stressing the fact that psychiatrists use no tests whatsoever in diagnosing the various mental illnesses they claim that so many have, Dr. Wallace encouraged those in attendance to first look for the actual medical reason for a child or teens behavior as a first course of action.

Following Dr. Wallace, school principal and founder of the H.E.L.P. School in Miami, Florida, Barbie Rivera told her personal story of the push to have her son diagnosed and labeled with mental illness in the first grade and how this prompted her to look for alternative solutions.

Ms. Rivera covered how through correct education techniques and care her school has been able to help countless children achieve success without using the psychiatric labels and drugs their parents were told they needed in order to learn. Using Helen Keller as an example to demonstrate that anyone can learn, Rivera ended her presentation with success stories of children who graduated from her school, went on to college and in one case even won an Emmy.

Dr. Candice Stewart-Sabin, a clinical psychologist with over 22 years of experience and an advocate for alternative treatments to mental health, concluded the panel presentation by telling the audience how she lost her son as a result of psychiatric drugs. Citing statistics that show that therapy and counseling are proven to be far more successful than psychiatric drugs, Dr. Sabin spoke of her experience with the gross over diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and how she has found alternative treatments such as nutrition programs, improving the home life of a child and other non-drug treatments to be successful.

The forum was then opened up to questions from the audience, which was composed of psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, school counselors, teachers, doctors and members of child advocacy non-profit groups including Guardian ad Litem members. When asked, attendees reported that the forum was invaluable and that they hope to be able to use the information provided to improve how mental health issues are addressed when dealing with children and teens.

Sources:
[1] “U.S. Kids Take More Psychotropic Drugs Than Europeans,” Steven Reinberg and Healthday Reporter, Sept. 26, 2018, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=5880138&page=1

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Drugging and Shocking the Military
15 Oct
0

CCHR: Veterans Get Damaging Mental Health Deal— Suicides increase & VA spends $1M on unsafe electroshock devices

Drugging and Shocking the MilitaryThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog, is calling for an investigation into suicide-inducing psychotropic drugs and electroshock following a recent report showing that the suicide rate of veterans aged 18 to 34 jumped more than 10 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The Veteran Affairs Administration (VA) reports that the suicide rate of veterans aged 18 to 34 jumped more than 10 percent between 2015 and 2016—the most recent figures—after a steady increase since 2006. Nearly 60 percent of veteran suicide was by individuals aged 55 or older. [1] Mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says the VA and military agencies are not looking at the damage psychotropic drugs and electroshock treatment can contribute to suicide. CCHR says that suicide-inducing psychotropic drugs and electroshock should be investigated for their potential role in suicides and violence. The group’s investigations found that since 2008, the VA has spent more than $1 million on electroshock devices and related parts, despite the manufacturers never having provided clinical trials proving safety and efficacy.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by CCHR with the VA reveals that between 2012 and 2016, an average of 950 veterans received around 11,323 electroshocks. In those veterans aged 55 to 64, 1,459 vets received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)— the passage of up to 460 volts of electricity through the brain causing a grand mal seizure. Another 975 aged 65 to 74 were also administered the damaging procedure. In those younger than 25, and up to the age of 34, there were 415 who had received ECT. [2]

CCHR’s investigation also shows that since 2008, the VA has purchased dozens of ECT devices at a cost of over $1.1 million, of which about 40 were bought since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public hearing into ECT in January 2011 that recommended the ECT device remain in a high-risk classification, requiring a clinical trial proving safety and efficacy. Jan Eastgate, international president of CCHR, said, “Since the 1970s, Congress has mandated that the FDA ensure all such Class II high-risk medical devices have their safety clinically proven. The 2011 FDA hearing reinforced the need for safety and efficacy clinical trials. Yet FDA has failed to do this and is now also putting veterans at risk.”

According to the recent VA report, approximately 20 veterans a day take their own lives, and veterans accounted for 14 percent of all adult suicide deaths in the U.S. in 2016, even though only 8 percent of the country’s population has served in the military. This same report reveals that veterans are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as non-veterans. [3] The VA doesn’t specify how many of those committing suicide had been taking violence and suicide inducing psychotropic drugs or who had undergone ECT leading up to their suicide. Adds Eastgate, “Nor does it discuss the apparent whopping failure of the mental health system to effectively deal with the special needs of returning vets, despite a VA mental health budget that has soared more than 55% between 2011 and 2018, from $5.2 billion to more than $8.1 billion.” [4]

In a 2014 submission that CCHR filed with the U.S. Senate VA Committee, it reported that there were almost 50 international drug regulatory agency warnings about psychiatric drugs causing suicidal ideation. Between 2005 and 2011, the military increased its prescriptions of psychoactive drugs (antipsychotics, sedatives, stimulants and mood stabilizers) by almost 700 percent. [5]

Antidepressants carry an FDA “black-box” warning of “suicidality” for those younger than 25, yet these drugs are prescribed to this age group in the military. While 41 percent of deployed American soldiers are aged 18-24, CCHR asks, of those, how many attempted or committed suicide while prescribed antidepressants. [6] Since 2001, the VA and Department of Defense (DoD) also spent over $790 million on one antipsychotic, risperidone. Yet in 2011, the VA reported that the drug was no more effective in treating combat stress than a placebo. [7]

The DoD Navy division also paid more than $47,600 in ECT device purchases from two U.S. manufacturers, while the Army spent around $44,700.

Tricare, the DoD’s health insurance coverage, reports that between 2010 and 2016, an average of 745 military personnel or their family members were given an average of 12,147 electroshocks each year. Astoundingly, this included 12 children aged five or younger. [8]

The VA ECT guidelines undermine the potential serious risks ECT causes, including long-term memory loss, cognitive dysfunction and brain damage, CCHR says. The guidelines point only to “some risks,” such as “memory loss,” and make the claim that ECT could help prevent suicide in depression. [9]

However, a 2010 review of ECT studies found: “There are no placebo-controlled studies evaluating the hypothesis that ECT prevents suicide, and no robust evidence from other kinds of studies to support the hypothesis.” And, in a follow-up 2017 review of 91 studies on ECT since 2010, researchers, John Read, Ph.D., School of Psychology, University of East London, and Chelsea Arnold, School of Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, concluded: “Given the well-documented high risk of persistent memory dysfunction, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT remains so poor that its use cannot be scientifically, or ethically, justified.” [10]

Following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans in the U.S. in 2015 was over 18.8 million. Although physical disabilities as a result of injuries while at war are more obvious to the public, around two-thirds of patients of the VA Administration were labeled with some form of mental health issue requiring treatment. [11]

But Dr. Bart Billings, Ph.D., a former military psychologist and author of Invisible Scars: How to Treat Combat Stress and PTSD without Medication, said a surge of psychotropic prescriptions since 2005 “coincides with the gradual increase, to this day, of suicides in the military. I feel there’s a direct relationship,” he told CNS News. [12] “Mental health cannot be achieved when one is given mind-altering drugs that directly interfere with their cognitive functioning, resulting in them being mentally incapable and, also in many situations, interfering with them meeting their basic human needs to survive,” he added. [13] He’s especially concerned about ECT when some patients may already be suffering from brain injuries from combat duty. “I feel any treatment that destroys healthy brain cells, which ECT does, should be seen as criminal abuse,” he said. [14]

CCHR says Congress should investigate the DoD and VA’s purchase of the ECT devices and the failure of ECT, psychotropic drugs and a multi-billion dollar veteran mental health system that appears to be doing more damage than good. Those concerned, can sign CCHR’s online petition.

Sources:

[1] Leo Shane III, “VA: Suicide rate for younger veterans increased by more than 10 percent,” Military Times, 27 Sept. 2018, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/09/26/suicide-rate-spikes-among-younger-veterans/

[2] Electro Convulsive Therapy in VHA, Data received from CCHR International Freedom of Information Request, 2016

[3] Op cit., Leo Shane III

[4] “The Veterans Health Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget,” U.S. Government Publishing Office, 23 Feb. 2010, p.19, https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg55229/html/CHRG-111hhrg55229.htm; Department of Veterans Affairs – Budget In Brief (2019), 2019 Congressional Submission, https://www.va.gov/budget/docs/summary/fy2019VAbudgetInBrief.pdf

[5] CCHR submission to U.S. Senate VA Committee, 2014, https://www.veterans.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/For%20the%20Record%20-%20CCHR%204.30.14.pdf; Richard Friedman, “Wars on Drugs,” The New York Times, 6 Apr. 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/opinion/sunday/wars-on-drugs.html

[6] “Cardin Calls For Scientific Study To Determine Extent Of Link Between Antidepressant Use By Combat Troops And Military Suicide Rate,” U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland Press Release, 24 Mar. 2010, https://www.cardin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/cardin-calls-for-scientific-study-to-determine-extent-of-link-between-antidepressant-use-by-combat-troops-and-military-suicide-rate

[7] “VA/Defense Mental Health Drug Expenditures Since 2001,” Government Executive, 17 May 2012, http://cdn.govexec.com/media/gbc/docs/pdfs_edit/051712bb1_may2012drugtotals.pdf; Bob Brewin, “Army warns doctors against using certain drugs in PTSD treatment,” Nextgov, 25 Apr. 2012, https://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/04/broken-warriors-test/55389/

[8] Tricare Encounter Data (TED) Non-Institutional (Outpatient) for Purchased Care claims, Data Extract as of 10/21/2016, Data received from CCHR International Freedom of Information Request, 2016

[9] “VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Major Depressive Disorder,” 2016, https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/MH/mdd/VADoDMDDCPGFINAL82916.pdf

[10] John Read and Richard Bentall, “The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: a literature review,” Epidemiologia e Psichiatria Sociale, 19 Apr. 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21322506; John Read and Chelsea Arnold, “Is Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression More Effective Than Placebo? A Systematic Review of Studies Since 2009,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 19, Number 1, 2017, http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/springer/ehpp/2017/00000019/00000001/art00002

[11] “U.S. veterans – statistics & facts,” Statista, https://www.statista.com/topics/1279/veterans/

[12] Barbara Hollingsworth, “Army Psychologist: ‘Direct Correlation’ Between Military Suicides, Psychiatric Meds,” CNSNews.com, 4 Sep. 2014, http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/army-psychologist-direct-correlation-between-military-suicides

[13] “Watchdog Says Psychotropic Drug Link to Military and Veteran Suicides Warrants Federal Probe,” Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, 25 July 2017, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/watchdog-says-psychotropic-drug-link-to-military-and-veteran-suicides-warrants-federal-probe-300493676.html

[14] “Psychologists Support Ban of Electroshock Treatment on Military and Veterans Opposing American Psychiatric Association’s Push to Broaden Controversial Shock Use,” Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, 23 May 2017, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/psychologists-support-ban-of-electroshock-treatment-on-military-and-veterans-300462418.html

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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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