LOS ANGELES: A New York appeals court decision last week found that psychiatrists were wrong for force-feeding potentially lethal psychiatric drugs to a 14-year-old girl against her parents’ objections. The case has fueled calls for insurance coverage and governments to cease funding child psychiatric services. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) that for nearly 40 years has investigated psychotropic drug risks in the pediatric population is calling for a hard-line approach to this abuse of children. Millions of children are prescribed drugs that more than 50 international drug regulatory agency warnings in recent years say can cause suicide, life-threatening diabetes, heart attacks and death. CCHR’s co-founder, eminent professor of psychiatry emeritus, Thomas Szasz says, “Labeling a child as mentally ill is stigmatization, not diagnosis. Giving a child a psychiatric drug is poisoning, not treatment.” The renowned author added, “The child psychiatrist is one of the most dangerous enemies” of children and “must be abolished.” (Click here <http://www.cchr.org/video/> to watch a speech by Dr. Szasz.)
The group says the case brought against Payne Whitney Hospital in New York and two psychiatrists exemplifies psychiatry’s arrogant belief that it can override parents’ right to make decisions in the best interest of their children. A court hearing, which the parents were not a party to and in which a psychiatrist was the only witness, allowed him to administer psychiatric drugs to the girl, identified as Christine W., despite the parents’ repeated objections. The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division determined this was “constitutionally defective and fatally flawed.”
Ms. Jan Eastgate, CCHR’s international president, said, “Psychiatry thinks it can override the legal rights of parents and convince courts that it has the right to force kids onto drugs that can cause serious harm and even death. Putting children in the hands of psychiatrists is a life or death gamble and, given the growing number of fatalities, a roll of the dice not to be taken lightly.
Government and private insurance should not be funding this assault on children’s lives.” There is at least a 30% profit margin for a psychiatric bed occupied by a child, compared to 20% for an adult and rakes in well over $1 billion a year in inpatient revenues. More than $184 million in federal grants is also given for pediatric “mental health” services while $29 million is spent annually to fund treatment of “behavioral and learning disorders” through Special Education. CCHR says the cost to children’s lives is chilling:
§ More than 8 million American children are prescribed psychiatric drugs documented to cause suicide, psychosis, hallucinations, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and death.§
Each year an estimated 1,155 children and adolescents die or commit suicide due to psychiatric drugs.
§ An estimated 1,200 under 18-year-olds attempt suicide, while about 280 become homicidal when taking these drugs.
§ In 2005 in the state of Florida alone, $680,000,000 of Medicaid funds was expended on “behavioral health drugs” for foster care children. This included more than 19,000 children prescribed antipsychotic drugs, of which 4,556 were 5 years of age or younger. In all, 59,697 Medicaid children were put on psychotropic drugs in 2005, a 528% increase over 9,500 in 2000.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog group established by the Church of Scientology, has helped secure legislative protections against children being forced onto psychiatric drugs. But, Ms. Eastgate says, “There needs to be a tougher approach by governments and insurance companies in clamping down on funding for pediatric psychiatric services, given the propensity for psychiatrists to rely upon potentially lethal drugs.”