Public outrage about the fatal poisoning of four-year old Rebecca Riley, who, since the age of 28 months had been prescribed a toxic drug combination by a board certified child psychiatrist, (Feb. 15) http://ahrp.blogspot.com/2007/02/4-year-old-rebecca-riley-casualty-of.html will, hopefully, lead to legislation to break the stranglehold of the drug industry’s control of child psychiatry.
This young child represents millions of children in the United States who are falling prey to licensed, but irresponsible prescribers of toxic drugs.
In his recent testimony before the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Feb. 13, 2007, Dr. Steven Nissen, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and President of the American College of Cardiology, informed the committee about the dangers posed by ADHD drugs that are prescribed for 2.5 million U.S. children—10% of 5th grade boys are on these drugs: http://energycommerce.house.gov/cmte_mtgs/110-oi_hrg.021307.FDA_drug_supply.shtml
“ADHD drugs are closely related to methamphetamine or ‘speed,’ a major drug of abuse.”
ADHD drugs increase blood pressure. Approximately 25 children suffered sudden cardiac death after taking these drugs, occasionally after the first dose.”
“ADHD drugs are closely related to ephedra, a drug that the FDA has sought to ban from OTC products.”
ADHD drugs are the gateway through which most children are started on the behavior-modification “treatment” path leading to ever more toxic prescribed psychotropic drugs.
Psychiatrists’ ignorance, or worse, their disregard for the potentially catastrophic effects of the drugs they prescribe, is an imminent threat to children. The prescribing privilege of child psychiatrists must be reined in or more innocent lambs will be sacrificed.
Thomas F. Anders, MD, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Carl Feinstein, MD, director of child and adolescent psychiatry, Children’s Hospital and Stanford University School of Medicine, attempt to divert attention from the professional culpability of psychiatrists who undermine the safety and welfare of children with their irresponsible prescribing guided by pharma sales reps.
In a letter to the editor, Drs. Anders and Feinstein defended psychiatry’s commercially influenced treatment practices stating: “Everyone agrees that many children’s behavior can be disordered and that they benefit greatly from a variety of treatments.”
The statement lays claim to two unvalidated presumptions that have contributed to current life-threatening “treatment” modalities:
“everyone agrees…” they claim.
Just as “everyone agreed” the earth was flat…
Just as “everyone agreed” that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) reduced breast cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease…
Just as “everyone agreed” that slavery was a moral obligation and a blessing for the slave!
Like slavery and HRT, psychiatry’s prescribing practices are motivated by financial incentives.
U.S. psychiatrists have the dubious distinction of prescribing a “variety” of toxic drugs for children.
They prescribe these drugs without evidence of these drugs’ safety or benefit for children.
The latest dubious diagnosis popular among U.S. child psychiatrists alone is “bipolar disorder”(a.k.a. manic-depression)–a “disorder” not diagnosed in children before the aggressive marketing of the second generation antipsychotic drugs—e.g. Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued several trend reports.
One report showed an increase in the number of adolescent suicides between 2003-2004.
Another report found a dramatic rise in unintentional drug overdose deaths:
“The largest increases were in the “other and unspecified,” psychotherapeutic, and narcotic drug categories. The results suggest that more aggressive regulatory, educational, and treatment measures are necessary to address the increase in fatal drug overdoses.”
“The rate of overdose deaths among teens and young adults, ages 15 to 24, is less than half that of the 35-to-54 group. But it rose much more dramatically, climbing 113 percent in the study years, to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 population.” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5605a1.htm
The media–under the influence of industry and spokespeople of industry’s stakeholders only focused on the report about increased suicide and promptly blamed the black box warnings. Predictably, as if on cue, a chorus of industry dependent pillars of psychiatry under the influence of pharma money and industry’s “advocacy” groups–including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, and Mental Health America, blamed black box warnings–which contain scientifically validated information. As if solid information rather than lack of information can cause children harm. Their preposterous arguments won’t wash.
Population trends do not substitute for scientific evidence from controlled studies. Furthermore, as noted by Arialdi Miniño, a statistician with CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics:
“The fact that the [suicide] rates were even higher between 1999 and 2001 lends doubt to the theory that black box warnings are the cause.
The data would be more significant if the rates were flat before the black boxes, he added.”
Below, the Anders-Feinstein letter is followed by two unpublished letters to the Times editor; and a testimonial by a Texas social worker who witnessed the abusive prescribing of psychotropic drugs for foster children.
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
The New York Times
February 25, 2007
Children’s Psychiatry (1 Letter)
To the Editor:
Re “Charges in the Death of a Girl, 4, Raise Issue of Giving Psychiatric Drugs to Children” (news article, Feb. 15):
Everyone agrees that many children’s behavior can be disordered and that they benefit greatly from a variety of treatments. Different opinions exist, however, about specific diagnoses and best treatments, especially for young children. There has just not been enough research.
Best practices in child and adolescent psychiatry involve basing diagnoses and treatments on peer-reviewed science. When a child has a disorder for which the evidence base doesn’t exist, is weak or controversial, the ethical approach weighs risks against the gravity of the disorder.
Parents and patients must be carefully informed of all potential risks, and questions must be fully addressed for an informed consent.
Being defensive about our differences undermines the credibility of the vast majority of child and adolescent psychiatrists in their efforts to heal children in a safe and evidence-based fashion.
Thomas F. Anders, M.D.
Carl Feinstein, M.D.
Washington, Feb. 16, 2007
The writers are, respectively, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and director of child and adolescent psychiatry, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford University School of Medicine.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
To the Editor: Re: “Children’s Psychiatry” (Letter, Feb. 25) The cause of death of four-year old Rebecca Riley (news article, Feb. 15) was a toxic effect of the psychotropic drugs she was prescribed by a child psychiatrist. Her death serves as a wake-up call for parents who are unaware that psychotropic drugs are toxic and can be lethal. Neither do parents know that these drugs are being prescribed for children without FDA approval, and without evidence of their safety for children. The letter’s authors defend child psychiatrists’ practices while acknowledging a paucity of knowledge: “Different opinions exist, however, about specific diagnoses and best treatments, especially for young children. There has just not been enough research.” In the absence of evidence for these drugs’ safety in children, shouldn’t doctors be expected to abide by medicine’s precautionary principle, “First, do no harm?” A survey of young child-adolescent psychiatrists’ practices published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2002) found that 61% of children were prescribed drugs alone and 30% were treated with both psychotherapy and medication. This means that 91% of children seen by a child psychiatrist were prescribed psychotropic medication. Only 9% got no medication at all. Clearly, such practices are contrary to medicine’s first ethical principle Vera Hassner Sharav President Alliance for Human Research Protection New York City 212-595-8974 To the Editor: Dr. Thomas Anders, President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP), and Dr. Carl Feinstein, CAP director at Stanford, responding to the death of a 4-year-old from psychiatric drugs (letters, Feb. 25) , talk about “best practices based on peer-reviewed science,” call for “more research,” and say “parents and patients must be carefully informed of all potential risks.” Since 91% of children who see a psychiatrist for the first time come away with one or more prescriptions, these leaders’ failure even to mention the dangers of prescribing powerful, unapproved medications to young children seems rather disingenuous. Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D., 10 Nob Hill Gate, Roslyn NY 11576; 516/626-0238; former Clinical Director, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY; former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein and SUNY Downstate Colleges of Medicine;
From: Dawn Rudolph [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:44 PM
Subject: Who doesn’t benefit from the diagnosis?
Who benefits from a foster child diagnosed with a controversial mental or behavioral disorder? The better question is, who doesn’t benefit?
I was a Social Worker for Child Protective Services in Texas from 2000-2003. I worked directly with foster children and developed services plans for them. Currently, I head an elementary behavior unit for the public school system in Cedar Park, Texas.
You can probably imagine the amount and extent of the psychotropic drug abuse I’ve witnessed. The abuse is at the hands of the psychiatrists who force mind-altering drugs upon the unprotected children in the states custody. Time and time again, I witnessed these children used as guinea pigs for the newest antipsychotic drug on the market.
Let me run through some of those who benefit from these foster children’s controversial diagnosises.
Every service provider and caretaker of a foster child profits if the child is diagnosed with a controversial mental or behavioral problem (let’s just say it, Bi-polar and/or ADHD and the occasional ODD). The reason that they benefit from this diagnosis is that there is more federal and state funding provided for “therapeutic” children. Thus, the foster parents are paid more to care for “therapeutic” children, and the psychologist is paid $1600-$1900 to evaluate the child for a supposed 3 hrs (which is usually always in reality about 1 hour maximum). The psychologist then recommends the child for services and makes a referral to their comrades, the weekly therapist and the beloved psychiatrist, who both profit from this poor sick child.
Oh, I must not forget to mention those who profit from the sale and distribution of the numerous expensive anti-psychotic medications that the child will inevitably be given. Then the psychologist, psychiatrist, and the drug companies will all benefit from the continual back and forth back scratches as these children are shuffled through the system.
All these parties monetarily benefit from a “therapeutic” diagnosis, so it seems there is no external motivation for these responsible parties to look at alternate options such as environmental influences and behavior intervention.
How do I help these children?
I was so thrilled to find your organization and I absolutely believe in standing up and speaking out for these children.
So, share this with anyone you see fit.
Thank you and thank you for your efforts,