Action Alert: Mental screening of children
June 21, 2005
The American tradition of parents deciding what is best for their children is under attack. The pharmaceutical industry wants universal mental screening for every child in America, including preschool children. But universal screening alone is not what the pharmaceutical industry wants. The real payoff for the drug companies is the drugging of children that will result -- as we learned tragically with Ritalin -- even when parents refuse!
The drug companies want your children to be "screened." The psychiatric establishment wants to do the "screening." And even a recent presidential commission (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health) supports it all. These powerful groups want your children "screened" -- whether or not you, as parents, give permission.
Congressman Ron Paul, an OB/GYN physician for over 30 years, is desperately trying to keep the drug companies, politicians and federal bureaucrats from becoming parents to your children. Dr. Paul will introduce this week an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2006 that will withhold funds from being used to implement or support any federal, mental screening program.
In a letter to his congressional colleagues, Dr. Paul states: "As you know, psychotropic drugs are increasingly prescribed for children who show nothing more than children’s typical rambunctious behavior. Many children have suffered harmful effects from these drugs. Yet some parents have even been charged with child abuse for refusing to drug their children. The federal government should not promote national mental health screening programs that will force the use of these psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin."
If you think this action alert is about something that "can't happen here," think again. In 1995, the state of Texas launched the Texas Medication Algorithm Project. (WorldNetDaily.com, June 21, 2004)
The state of Illinois has also approved a mental health screening program. The Illinois legislature passed the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 which will provide screening for "all children ages 0-18" and "ensure appropriate and culturally relevant assessment of your children's social and emotional development with the use of standardized tools." In addition, all pregnant women in Illinois are to be screened for depression.
Dr. Karen R. Effrem, a pediatrician and leading opponent of universal screening with EdAction states: "Universal mental health screening and the drugging of children, as recommended by the New Freedom Commission [presidential commission], needs to be stopped so that many thousands if not millions of children will be saved from receiving stigmatizing diagnoses that would follow them for the rest of their lives. America’s school children should not be medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous medications based on vague and dubious diagnoses."
Dr. Effrem warns:
1. Parental rights are unclear or non-existent under these screening programs. 2. Parents are already being coerced to put their children on psychiatric medications and some children are dying because of it. 3. Mental health screening does not prevent suicide. 4. Mental health diagnoses are "subjective" and "social constructions" as admitted by the authors of the diagnostic manuals themselves. 5. Most psychiatric medications do not work in children. 6. The side effects of these medications in children are severe. 7. The untoward influence by the pharmaceutical industry, or at least the impropriety, is abundantly clear in two important aspects of this issue. 8. Merging screening with the academic standards required by No Child Left Behind, as is happening in Illinois, will lead to diagnosis for political reasons. School mental health and violence prevention programs funded by NCLB and government counterterrorism operations are already using such criteria as "homophobia" and "defenders of the US Constitution against federal government and the UN" to label school children and US citizens as mentally unstable and violent. (EdAction.org)