October 26

NYU Students Drugged – NY Post

NYU Students Drugged – NY Post

Mon, 19 Apr 2004

Following three suicides by students at New York University (in Sept-October 2003), the University conducted an investigation of the NYU Student Counseling Services. The New York Post reports that an internal 116-page report (December 2003) reveals that whereas drugs were “once a peripheral aspect of college mental health,” drugs have “moved front and center.” NYU psychiatrists are prescribing psychotropic drugs to record number of students. According to the NYU report, one in five students who used NYU’s Counseling Services was prescribed a psychotropic drug–including antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and antipsychotics.

The Post reports that NYU’s report states: “prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs -such as Xanax and BuSpar-tripled over the past five years.” A fourth NYU student plunged to her death in March 2004.

The NYU report indicates that: “At the same time, prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs such as Clozapine jumped 173 percent.”

Antipsychotic drugs such as clozapine (Clozaril) are even more dangerous than antidepressants. They were approved for the most severe, chronic, mental illness–schizophrenia. The FDA- approved Clozapine label states: “Clozaril is reserved for use in the treatment of severely ill schizophrenic patients who fail to show an acceptable response to an adequate course of standard antipsychotic medication.”

Among the severe non-psychiatric adverse effects produced by antipsychotic drugs, some resulting in fatalities, are: diabetes, myocarditis and other cardiac and respiratory abnormalities, seizures, stroke, and agranulocytosis and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).

According to The Post: “The report also found that NYU freshmen appear to be more depressed than students at other universities.” Could it be that NYU attracts more depressed students than other universities, or could it be that NYU’s counseling services and psychiatry department are predisposed to diagnose mental illness and to medicate?

The psychiatry department at NYU offers online “screening tests” for depression, anxiety, sexual disorders, personality disorders. See: http://www.med.nyu.edu/Psych/public.html

The Post did not investigate the funding sources for NYU’s student counseling services or its psychiatric outreach services. A companion Infomail deals with a front page report in The Washington Post dealing with the soaring increase of antidepressant use in children.

See also today’s companion Infomail: Antidepressant Use in Children Soars Despite Efficacy Doubts__ Washington Post

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Tel: 212-595-8974


Doling out antidepressants

April 18, 2004 — A growing number of students at the troubled New York University – where four students have plunged to their deaths in recent months – are getting antidepressant drugs from school psychiatrists, an alarming internal report reveals.

Prescriptions written by the school’s mental-health unit for anti-anxiety drugs – such as Xanax and BuSpar – tripled over the past five years, the 116-page report stated.

“Medication therapy, once a peripheral aspect of college mental health, has moved front and center,” a December 2003 report by NYU on undergraduate programs stated.

At the same time, prescriptions at NYU for anti-psychotic drugs such as Clozapine jumped 173 percent, the study showed. During the 2002-2003 academic year, the school doled out meds to 750 students – or one in five who used NYU’s University Counseling Service.

University spokesman John Beckman said the jump in medicated students was a reflection of a nationwide problem, as more than half of those who got prescriptions were already on the medications when they arrived from high school.

“We’re seeing more students who might not have graduated high school without the medication.”

In the wake of the report, the university has turned for help from the citywide, 24-hour crisis hot line, LifeNet. Under a new partnership with the university, LifeNet hired a full-time counselor to handle calls from troubled NYU students last month and has developed a formal protocol for handling them. NYU students who call LifeNet will be referred to the counselor, who will work closely with the university’s mental health, alcohol and substance-abuse programs.

The internal report, completed last December, comes as the prestigious school struggles to lift student morale in the wake of the four deaths between September and March. The report also found that NYU freshmen appear to be more depressed than students at other universities. At NYU, 16 percent of its freshmen “seriously considered suicide” at least once last year – three percentage points higher than the national average.

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