- Citing recommendations by the New Freedom Commission
on Mental Health (NFC), George W. Bush wants to launch a nationwide mental
illness screening program in government institutions, including the public
school system, for all students from kindergarten up to the 12th grade.
- The New Freedom Commission was established by an executive
order Bush issued on April 29, 2002. According to a July 22, 2003, press
release, the commission recommends transforming America's mental health
- "Achieving this goal will require greater engagement
and education of first line health care providers - primary care practitioners
- and a greater focus on mental health care in institutions such as schools,
child welfare programs, and the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
The goal is integrated care that can screen, identify, and respond to problems
early," the commission's press release stated.
- According to the NFC, its recommendations are being already
being promoted in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,
Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- The truth is, this is nothing but another Bush profiteering
scheme to implement a drug treatment program for use in the public institutions
that will generate high volume sales of the relatively new, but inadequately
tested, high-priced psychiatric drugs. If all goes as planned, the scheme
will generate millions of new customers for the drug companies.
- Original Scheme Hatched In Texas
- The commission's final report identifies what it claims
are several model programs as examples of how aspects of mental health
care have been transformed in selected communities.
- One program is the Texas Medication Algorithm Project
(TMAP), a medication treatment program that screens people for mental illness
and then prescribes highly profitably psychiatric drugs.
- However, the plan came under intense scrutiny when it
was implemented in the state of Pennsylvania. A whistle-blower by the name
of Allen Jones*, who was an employee of the Pennsylvania office of Inspector
General, published a report that described how medical leaders in Pennsylvania,
who controlled the medication plan, received payments from the drug companies
who were going to benefit from the plan.
- Through the Texas scheme, drug companies were able to
gain unlimited access to the Texas prison system, juvenile justice system,
foster care program, and state mental health hospitals, to recruit new
- In Texas, the list of medications to be prescribed was
established by what was termed, an "expert consensus" and drugs
recommended for first line treatment, included high-priced drugs such as
Paxil, Zyprexa, Adderall, Zoloft, Risperdal, Seroqual, Depakote, Prozac,
Wellbutron, Zyban, Remeron, Serzone, and Effexor.
- After securing access to the public systems, the next
step in the Texas scheme was to get lawmakers to pass legislation to increase
Medicaid coverage to persons who ordinarily would not qualify, in order
to provide funding by way of tax dollars to pay for the drugs prescribed
to customers within theses systems.
- The fact is our children are already being overmedicated.
According to a May 2003 report by The New York Times, "National sales
of anti-psychotics reached $6.4 billion in 2002, making them the fourth
highest-selling class of drugs, behind cholesterol-lowering drugs, ulcer
drugs and antidepressants."
- The number of children on antidepressant medication increased
by over 500 percent between 1999 and 2003. Antidepressants and anti-psychotics
now constitute two of the four top classes of drug sales.
- For example, Zyprexa is manufactured by Eli Lilly and
is one of the drugs on the list in Texas. In 2002, according to the watchdog
group, NDC Health, "more than 7.4 million prescriptions were written
- In 2003, it became Eli Lilly's top seller with worldwide
sales of over $4 billion. According to The New York Times, 70 percent of
the Zyprexa purchased in the US that year was paid for by government programs
like Medicare and Medicaid.
- Eli Lilly has well known ties to the Bush administration.
After he left the CIA in 1977, Bush Senior became a member of Lilly's board
of directors. When he left the company to become vice president under Reagan
in 1980, he forgot to mention that he owned stock in the company at the
same time that he was lobbying for tax breaks for the company, even though
it manufactured drugs in Puerto Rico, where continental US-based companies
pay no federal income taxes. Bush Junior made Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel
a member of the Homeland Security Council.
- During the 2000 presidential election year, Lilly gave
over $1.5 million to political candidates and over 80 percent of that $1.5
million went to Bush and other Republican candidates.
- Many members of the New Freedom Commission also have
ties to the pharmaceutical industry and have served on drug company advisory
- What's In Store For Us
- The NFC appointed 15 subcommittees to review the mental
health service delivery system and appointed a chairman for each one. Several
other commissioners served on each subcommittee and chose experts to provide
advice and support. The experts prepared discussion papers that outlined
key issues and presented policy options for consideration by the full subcommittee.
The subcommittee reported to the full commission only in summary form,
on which the full commission reached a consensus on the policy options
that would be included in its final report entitled, "Achieving the
Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America."
- A February 5, 2003, summary report by the Policy Options
Subcommittee on Medicaid began by stating, "An effective and comprehensive
mental health system must rely on many sources of financing. Many States
have made significant use of flexibility in the Medicaid program to support
their systems of care. This has resulted in Medicaid being the largest
payer of public mental health services in the country."
- The report outlined the following recommendations:
- Enhance Service Delivery
- 1. Public financing should support evidenced-based practices
that are necessary and effective for successful community living.
- 2. Medicaid financial incentives and opportunities for
the most appropriate community-based care should be increased.
- Enhance Service Planning and Coordination
- 1. Federal leadership should guide and facilitate improved
planning among state agencies that fund and implement services for persons
with mental illness.
- 2. The federal government should assure proper data collection
and reporting to facilitate and support mental health planning and quality
management at all levels of the public mental health system.
- One February 5, 2003, report by a subcommittee titled,
Promoting, Preserving and Restoring Children's Mental Heath, began in part,
by saying, "Mental health problems among children and adolescents
constitute a public health crisis for our nation ... The extent, severity,
and far-reaching consequences of mental health problems in children and
adolescents make it imperative that our nation adopt a comprehensive, systematic,
public health approach to improving the mental health status of children."
- The approach, the report advised, should focus on "both
strengthening services and supports for children with serious emotional
disorders and their families, and on prevention and early intervention
strategies for all children."
- The subcommittee wanted the federal and state governments
to formulate a plan to (1) implement a cross-agency, comprehensive, public
health approach for children's mental health at federal and state levels;
(2) strengthen children's mental health focus in state governments; and
(3) establish a federal interagency entity for children's mental health.
- As for funding, the subcommittee said: "Federal
and state agencies and commercial insurers should realign funding policies
related to children's mental health to support a comprehensive array of
services and supports, including home and community based services and
supports that are individualized, family focused, coordinated, and culturally
- The subcommittee specified that a plan should be developed
for Medicaid to support home and community-based services and support and
individualized care, and maximize strategies to provide coverage and mental
health care to uninsured children.
- In addition, the subcommittee wanted the government to
provide technical assistance related to more efficient and effective implementation
of early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Here's a good one. The subcommittee said we should strengthen
federal and state requirements for family participation. "Federal
and state governments should promote a broader concept of 'mental health'
services for children and adolescents with emotional disorders and their
families," it advised.
- "Recognizing that children receive more services
through schools than any other public system," the report recommended
that "federal, state, and local agencies should more fully recognize
and address the mental health needs of youth in the education system."
It advised, "Likewise, these agencies should work collaboratively
with families and develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective approaches
for providing mental health services and supports to youth in schools."
- The subcommittee recommended training teachers and school
personnel to recognize signs of emotional problems in children and to make
appropriate referrals for assessment and services. "Systematic screening
procedures to identify ... problems and treatment needs should be implemented
in specific settings in which youngsters are at high risk for emotional
disorders or where there is known to be a high prevalence of these or co-occurring
mental health and substance abuse disorders," according to the report.
- And get this! Anyone involved in the juvenile justice
system or welfare system is really in for trouble. "Screening should
be implemented upon entry into, and periodically thereafter in, the juvenile
justice and child welfare systems, as well as in other settings and populations
with known high risk, such as the Medicaid population. When mental health
problems are identified, youth[s] should be linked with appropriate services
and supports," the report advised.
- This gang of thugs is even coming up with ways to make
money off infants shortly after they enter the world. This particular report
recommends screening for all children ages 0 to 5 for social and emotional
development as part of primary health care visits.
- Mega-Bucks For Shrinks
- Dr Jane Orient, the executive director of the Association
of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has a few things to say about
this latest profiteering scheme. "Teams of experts are awaiting an
infusion of cash," she says, "They'll be ensconced in your child's
school before you even know it."
- Orient says an added "bonus is that your little
darlings will probably give them quite a bit of information about you also,
and then you can receive therapy you didn't know you needed."
- According to Orient, kids will be asked invasive personal
questions like whether their parents raise their voice, or "ever spank
them? Have politically incorrect attitudes? Use forbidden words? Own a
gun? Smoke cigarettes, especially indoors? Read extremist literature? Refuse
to recycle? Prepare for a knock at the door."
- The answers to these questions could lead to a home visit
with parents, and accusations of "poor parenting skills, inadequate
housekeeping, harmful literature, or a baby who is crying... ," Orient
- She lists the many tools at the disposal of what she
calls "the mental health squad," including, "Counseling
sessions. Drugs. Group therapy. Removing the child from the home."
Although removing a child from the home is listed as a last resort, the
mere threat of it "can accomplish wonders," Orient noted.
- According to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Student
Health Center, privacy rights are essentially being ignored. The center
is telling patients that if government agencies want to see their medical
records, they get to review them without a patient's knowledge or consent.
"By law we cannot reveal when we have disclosed such information to
the government," the center advised.
- Screen Those In Dire Need First
- If you want to see mental illness, just go knock on the
door of the White House, or the Bush's home in Crawford, Texas. I recommend
that we start this mandatory screening program with the Bush family.
- Lets find some treatment for their deep-seated mental
health problems. For instance, what rotten things happened in the Bush
home that drove the twins to start drinking excessively while under age.
And what emotional problems caused them to intentionally embarrass their
father in a matter of months after he took office.
- Then lets screen the president's nieces and nephews to
see why Jeb's kids find it appropriate to forge prescriptions for drugs,
and why his son would engage in underage sex in a car in a public shopping
center parking lot. Or why Jeb's wife would try to smuggle in goods from
other countries without paying the duty fees.
- Then lets move on to brother Neil and have him screened
to find out what compelled him to have sex with strange women who showed
up at his hotel room doors in foreign countries, which resulted in a case
of incurable venereal disease. And let's find out what possessed him to
have an affair with his mother's secretary while both parties were still
- Next, let's line up members of the Bush administration
and find out what compulsions need eradicating. Then let's continue on
to the officials at the FDA and figure out what happened to their consciences,
which allow them to promote medicating kids for profits.
- Freedom My Butt
- Granted, the "New Freedom commission" is a
catchy title. However, words can be very deceptive. I fail to see how forcing
people to undergo mental health testing can possibly represent freedom,
or how drugging people for profit can be viewed as a form of freedom.
- I agree with an article I read on NewsTarget.com that
said, "these people have lost their minds in a mad attempt to generate
obscene profits regardless of the cost to human life, individual privacy,
and human rights."
- * To the millions of doctors, parents and patients who
will be affected, Allen Jones says educate yourselves. The Internet has
many sites that will help you. The Alliance for Human Research Protection
<www.ahrp.org>, would be a good place to start.
- - Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media
TV <www.independent-media.tv/index.cfm> and an investigative journalist
focused on exposing corruption in government.
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