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Could Lead Exposure Underlie Your Child’s “ADHD”? Study Says Under the Age of 6, Chances Are 50/50

Half of the youngest U.S. children have detectable levels of lead in their bodies, which can go untreated if behavior problems are only diagnosed as “ADHD.”

By CCHR National Affairs Office

The importance of checking for possible lead exposure in children whose behavior is labeled as “ADHD” is underscored by a recent report showing that half of U.S. children under the age of 6 were found to have detectable levels of lead in their blood, a condition known to cause hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

The study from Quest Diagnostics and published in JAMA Pediatrics analyzed blood lead tests from 1.1 million children under the age of 6 living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia over the 17 months through February 2020.  Most of the children (71%) were under 3 years of age.

The analysis revealed that 50.5% of the children tested had detectable levels of lead in their blood, despite years of lead reduction programs in the United States.

Children in poorer areas and areas with older houses are at the highest risk of lead exposure.  The study found that 60.2% of children living in areas with the highest level of poverty had detectable blood lead levels, as compared to 38.8% of children in areas with the lowest levels of poverty.  More children from predominately African American and Hispanic areas (57.6% and 56%, respectively) were found to have detectable lead levels than predominately white areas (48.7%).

Lead is a toxic metal, known to cause serious health and mental health problems, especially in young children whose bodies are in a state of growth and development.  Additionally, the absorption of lead occurs more quickly in children than in adults.

Despite progress in reducing sources of lead exposure in the United States, lead is still found in the paint dust in older homes, schools and other buildings, and in older water pipes, the soil and air around heavy industry and highways, and some consumer products.  Young children breathe lead dust or touch and put contaminated objects into their mouths.

The CDC says that approximately 24 million housing units have significant lead-based paint hazards, including deteriorated paint and lead-contaminated house dust.  About 4 million of these are home to young children.

No safe level of lead exposure in children has been found.  Even the lowest levels of lead in children can cause brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth and development, hearing and speech problems, and memory and learning difficulties.

“The first signs of lead poisoning in children are often subtle neurobehavioral problems that adversely affect classroom behavior and social interaction,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the CDC.

The physical effects of lead in a child’s body can cause the child to become hyperactive or inattentive, behavior that can result in the child being labeled with “ADHD.”  The “diagnosis” of ADHD is inexact and completely subjective and includes behavioral criteria so broad that they could be found in any child.  A child’s behavior resulting from lead exposure is likely to be found in the wide-ranging “ADHD” criteria.

At higher lead levels, behavior can worsen, with children refusing to play and showing aggressive and antisocial behavior – behavior for which they potentially can be labeled with still other “mental disorders.”

With the psychiatric labels comes the increased likelihood of children being prescribed powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs that carry many dangerous, even life-threatening side effects.

The psychiatric drugs side effects database of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) currently lists 34 drug regulatory agency warnings and 32 research studies showing adverse effects for children under the age of 18 from the stimulant drugs typically prescribed for “ADHD.”

Those side effects include slowed growth, high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, hostility, anxiety, psychosis, mania, violence, and sudden death.  The psychostimulant drugs also carry the risk of addiction, with experts referring to them as “kiddie cocaine” because of their many similarities to cocaine.

The risk of these adverse effects from taking “ADHD” drugs potentially compounds the physical difficulties a child with lead exposure is already enduring.  The child’s life is further endangered if the true diagnosis of lead poisoning is missed, and only a “diagnosis” of “ADHD” is given for the child’s behavior.  Therefore, it is important for health providers and parents to consider a blood lead test for a child whose behavior is a cause for concern.

If lead is detected, parents can take action to help their child.  The CDC offers recommendations for what parents can do to lower their child’s lead level, starting with making a plan with the child’s physician, which may include more testing for the child.

Parents should take immediate action to find and fix any lead hazards in the home.  A home inspection should be done by a licensed lead inspector.  By removing lead sources, lead levels should drop noticeably in the child’s blood in a month or two, according to Joel T. Nigg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.

The CDC recommendations also direct parents to feed their child healthy foods that contain calcium, iron, and vitamin C, which are protective against lead absorption, and to have the child tested for possible iron deficiency and insufficient dietary calcium.

“For the potentially lead-exposed child, adequate intake of iron, calcium and vitamin C, beyond their requirement for overall good nutrition, can specifically minimize absorption of ingested lead,” says the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the CDC.

The levels of lead in a child’s body can be reduced by taking these steps, with corresponding improvement in the child’s physical and mental health.

CCHR has long recommended that children experiencing behavioral problems should get a complete physical examination with lab tests and nutritional screening to discover any underlying physical conditions that could be causing the behavior.

With the latest study revealing that so many children have detectable levels of lead in their bodies, parents would do well to discuss with their physicians whether their children should be tested for lead exposure.  Now is a perfect time to do so, with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week starting on October 24.

WARNING:  Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a physician because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a mental health practitioner or psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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General News

Human Rights Group Welcomes World Health Organization’s Stand Against Dehumanizing Involuntary Psychiatric Treatments

WHO cites no proven benefit, but significant evidence of harm from coercive mental health treatments, including forced drugging, restraints, and electroshock.

By Citizens Commission on Human Rights, National Affairs Office

New guidelines for mental health services issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) are a strong call to action for United Nations (UN) member countries, including the United States, to take bold steps to ensure that their mental health services are free from coercion, including forced drugging, the use of physical and chemical restraints and seclusion, and involuntary institutionalization.

WHO’s rejection of nonconsensual mental health treatment echoes the long-time advocacy of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to end involuntary treatment and harmful psychiatric practices and restore human rights and dignity to the field of mental health.

A series of reports issued in June by WHO emphasize that coercive mental health practices are used “despite the lack of evidence that they offer any benefits, and the significant evidence that they lead to physical and psychological harm and even death.”

“People subjected to coercive practices report feelings of dehumanization, disempowerment and being disrespected,” WHO states.  “Many experience it as a form of trauma or re-traumatization leading to a worsening of their condition and increased experiences of distress.”

WHO’s call for an end to involuntary mental health treatment extends to those experiencing acute mental distress.  WHO notes that individuals in mental health crisis “are at a heightened risk of their human rights being violated, including through forced admissions and treatment….  These practices have been shown to be harmful to people’s mental, emotional and physical health, sometimes leading to death.”

CCHR’s co-founder, Thomas Szasz, M.D., a psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry considered by many scholars and academics to be psychiatry’s most authoritative critic, agreed.  “The most important deprivation of human and constitutional rights inflicted upon persons said to be mentally ill is involuntary mental hospitalization,” he wrote.

The UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), signed in 2006, lays out the right to liberty and security for the disabled, including the mentally disabled.  This right also challenges the coercive treatment legally allowable under involuntary commitment laws, even when “justified” by criteria like “a need for treatment,” “dangerousness” or “lack of insight.”

Beyond involuntary commitment, WHO points out that additional rights in CRPD to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse also prohibit coercive practices, including seclusion, restraint, and administering psychiatric drugs, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychosurgery without informed consent.

The WHO reports lay out a vision of holistic mental health services, as contrasted with today’s narrow focus on the diagnosis and drugging of individuals to suppress symptoms, a mental health approach that results in “an over-diagnosis of human distress and over-reliance on psychotropic drugs.”

Additionally, WHO states that a series of UN Human Rights Council resolutions have called for a human rights approach to mental health services and for nations to tackle the “unlawful or arbitrary institutionalization, overmedication and treatment practices [seen in the field of mental health] that fail to respect…autonomy, will and preferences” of those seeking to recover from mental health challenges.

Years ahead of the WHO reports, Dr. Szasz advocated an end to forced psychiatric treatment, writing: “increasing numbers of persons, both in the mental health professions and in public life, have come to acknowledge that involuntary psychiatric intervention are methods of social control.  On both moral and practical grounds, I advocate the abolition of all involuntary psychiatry.”

As a human rights organization and mental health industry watchdog, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights has exposed and campaigned against the abusive use of involuntary institutionalization and psychiatric treatments given without consent, including forced drugging, restraints, and involuntary electroshock.  CCHR’s Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights enumerates the rights we believe each individual is entitled to in the mental health system.

CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by members of the Church of Scientology and Dr. Szasz to eradicate abuses and restore human rights and dignity to the field of mental health.

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General News News for Colorado

Denver Psychiatrist Charged with Wrongly Prescribing Drugs

Denver area psychiatrist Howard Weiss has been indicted on 120 federal charges that include allegations he prescribed higher doses of psychiatric drugs without trying lower doses or alternative treatments first.  At least one of his patients died of an overdose, according to the indictment, although he is not charged in that death.

He is also charged with prescribing addictive drugs to already-addicted patients and prescribing high doses of benzodiazepines to patients taking opioids, a combination of drugs that could prove fatal.

According to the Denver Post, the indictment alleges that Weiss prescribed pills — including amphetamines such as Adderall and benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium — to patients at dosages that were too high and without exploring other avenues of treatment.

The indictment alleges that, in one three-month period, one patient was prescribed 9,000 Adderall pills, 480 pills of the muscle relaxant Soma and 480 Xanax tablets.

Weiss has a criminal history.   According to the disciplinary document  on the Dept of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) website, in 1995 Weiss was suspended from practice in the State of Virginia after conviction on federal charges involving filing false and fraudulent billing claims of in-patient psychiatric services. He served his sentence of probation and paid a fine and restitution, and his license was later reinstated in Virginia.

Weiss was granted a license to practice in Colorado in 2003. In 2019 he once again faced disciplinary action after the Colorado Medical Board reviewed information that Weiss “simultaneously prescribed multiple controlled substances in high doses to multiple patients” and “permitted patients to make determinations regarding their prescription medications despite clear evidence of abuse or misuse.”  He was found by the Board to “pose an immediate risk to the public health, safety or welfare” of the citizens of Colorado.  In an emergency action, his license was once again suspended.

If you are concerned about the psychiatric drugs prescribed to you or a loved one, discuss it with your doctor. You can also research psychiatric drug side effects here.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening mental and physical withdrawal symptoms.

If you or anyone you know has experienced harmful side effects from psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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General News

Juneteenth: Time for American Psychiatric Association to repudiate slave-owning “Father of Psychiatry”

More than 175 years after its founding, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued a public apology in January for psychiatry’s “role in perpetrating structural racism” and said it hoped to make amends.

Here’s a suggestion to the APA: repudiate and discontinue all symbolic association with Dr. Benjamin Rush, the slave-owning “Father of American Psychiatry” who is responsible for the “scientific racism” at the very root of the structural racism in psychiatry that the APA now says it regrets.

And what better time to cut psychiatry’s ties to Rush than on America’s first nationwide celebration of Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Until 2015, a seal with the image of Benjamin Rush served as the APA’s logo, and the APA still presents a Benjamin Rush award at its annual meeting.

The man in whose honor this APA award is bestowed bought a child slave, William Grubber, in the early- to mid-1770s, scholars believe, and owned him for some two decades.  Rush released Grubber from slavery in 1794, only after receiving, in his words, “a just compensation for my having paid for him the full price of a slave for life.”  In other words, Rush made sure he got his money’s worth from his slave before allowing him to go free.

However, Rush’s transgressions against African Americans go far beyond the human rights abuse of enslaving another human being.  He established a supposed biological justification for racism, setting a precedent for later psychiatrists and psychologists and their subsequent forms of “scientific racism” to oppress Blacks.

In 1792, Rush declared that Blacks suffered from a disease he called “negritude” that he theorized was caused by a variant of leprosy, the cure of which was when Blacks’ skin turned white.  Rush based his view in part on the work of another scientist who had applied a harsh and corrosive acid to the skin and hair of an African American man to turn him “white.”

With his view, Rush believed Blacks should not intermarry with other races because this supposed disease could infect their children.

Rush considered that African Americans were able to easily endure surgical operations and pain, labeling this “pathological insensibility.”

America’s first psychiatrist also treated his patients  with darkness, solitary confinement, and a special technique of forcing the patient to stand erect for two to three days at a time, poking them with sharp pointed nails to keep them from sleeping – a technique borrowed from a British procedure for taming horses.  He invented the “tranquilizer” chair into which the patient was strapped hand and foot, along with a device to hold the head immobile.

Benjamin Rush was apparently unable to recognize the human rights abuses he was committing.

By failing to disavow him, the APA may be revealing that it is as blind to human rights abuses as Rush was.

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General News

For Mental Health Month: The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights

All human rights organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles and goals of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

In 2017, Dr. Dainius Pūras, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, called for a revolution in mental health care around the world to “end decades of neglect, abuse and violence,” and stating

“There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model of mental health services, including the front-line and excessive use of psychotropic medicines, and yet these models persist.”

Human rights include the right to one’s own mind, and to protect oneself and one’s loved ones against any abusive or harmful “treatments” given under the guise of mental health.

Every man, woman and child is entitled to the fundamental human rights set forth in this Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, regardless of race, political ideology, religious, cultural or social beliefs.

Given the fact that virtually no human or civil rights specifically protects citizens from mental health abuses, it is vital that the following rights be recognized and that all countries adopt this Declaration.

  1. The right to full informed consent, including:
  2. The scientific/medical test confirming any alleged diagnoses of psychiatric disorder and the right to refute any psychiatric diagnoses of mental “illness” that cannot be medically confirmed.
  3. Full disclosure of all documented risks of any proposed drug or mental “treatment.”
  4. The right to be informed of all available medical treatments which do not involve the administration of a psychiatric drug or treatment.
  5. The right to refuse psychiatric drugs documented by international drug regulatory agencies to be harmful and potentially lethal.
  6. The right to refuse to undergo electroshock or psycho-surgery.
  7. No person shall be forced to undergo any psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.
  8. No person, man, woman or child, may be denied his or her personal liberty by reason of mental illness, without a fair jury trial by laymen and with proper legal representation.
  9. No person shall be admitted to or held in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility because of their political, religious or cultural or social beliefs and practices.
  10. Any patient has:
  11. The right to be treated with dignity as a human being.
  12. The right to hospital amenities without distinction as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, social origin or status by right of birth or property.
  13. The right to have a thorough, physical and clinical examination by a competent registered general practitioner of one’s choice, to ensure that one’s mental condition is not caused by any undetected and untreated physical illness, injury or defect, and the right to seek a second medical opinion of one’s choice.
  14. The right to fully equipped medical facilities and appropriately trained medical staff in hospitals, so that competent physical, clinical examinations can be performed.
  15. The right to choose the kind or type of therapy to be employed, and the right to discuss this with a general practitioner, healer or minister of one’s choice.
  16. The right to have all the side effects of any offered treatment made clear and understandable to the patient, in written form and in the patient’s native language.
  17. The right to accept or refuse treatment but in particular, the right to refuse sterilization, electroshock treatment, insulin shock, lobotomy (or any other psychosurgical brain operation), aversion therapy, narcotherapy, deep sleep therapy and any drugs producing unwanted side effects.
  18. The right to make official complaints, without reprisal, to an independent board which is composed of non-psychiatric personnel, lawyers and lay people. Complaints may encompass any torturous, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment received while under psychiatric care.
  19. The right to have private counsel with a legal advisor and to take legal action.
  20. The right to discharge oneself at any time and to be discharged without restriction, having committed no offense.
  21. The right to manage one’s own property and affairs with a legal advisor, if necessary, or if deemed incompetent by a court of law, to have a State appointed executor to manage such until one is adjudicated competent. Such executor is accountable to the patient’s next of kin, or legal advisor or guardian.
  22. The right to see and possess one’s hospital records and to take legal action with regard to any false information contained therein which may be damaging to one’s reputation.
  23. The right to take criminal action, with the full assistance of law enforcement agents, against any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff for any abuse, false imprisonment, assault from treatment, sexual abuse or rape, or any violation of mental health or other law. And the right to a mental health law that does not indemnify or modify the penalties for criminal, abusive or negligent treatment of patients committed by any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff.
  24. The right to sue psychiatrists, their associations and colleges, the institution, or staff for unlawful detention, false reports, or damaging treatment.
  25. The right to work or to refuse to work, and the right to receive just compensation on a pay-scale comparable to union or state/national wages for similar work, for any work performed while hospitalized.
  26. The right to education or training so as to enable one better to earn a living when discharged, the right of choice over what kind of education or training is received.
  27. The right to receive visitors and a minister of one’s own faith.
  28. The right to make and receive telephone calls and the right to privacy with regard to all personal correspondence to and from anyone.
  29. The right to freely associate or not with any group or person in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility.
  30. The right to a safe environment without having in the environment, persons placed there for criminal reasons.
  31. The right to be with others of one’s own age group.
  32. The right to wear personal clothing, to have personal effects and to have a secure place in which to keep them.
  33. The right to daily physical exercise in the open.
  34. The right to a proper diet and nutrition and to three meals a day.
  35. The right to hygienic conditions and non-overcrowded facilities, and to sufficient, undisturbed leisure and rest.

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General News

Speak Out About Psychiatrist/Psychologist Sexual Abuse

With studies showing that an average of 6% to 10% of psychiatrists and psychologists sexually abuse their patients, including children young as 3 years old, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is encouraging victims of sexual abuse by mental health practitioners to contact us and speak out about it.

The observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April would not be complete without a cautionary look at how common it is for psychiatric practitioners to have sexual contact with patients, often under the guise of therapy.

The sexual crimes committed by psychiatrists are estimated at 37 times greater than rapes occurring in the general community, one U.S. law firm stated. [1]

Psychiatrists themselves indicate that 65% of their new patients tell them that they have been sexually abused by previous psychiatrists. Sexual assault or rape is not just limited to females. Men are also victims of therapist sexual abuse or rape. And so are children. [2]

Data from national studies suggest one of every 20 sexual incidents between psychotherapists and their patients involved minors – the average age was 12 for boys, 7 for girls. [3]

Psychiatrists who sexually abuse patients are often serial abusers, with some surveys noting over 50% of male therapists reporting sexual involvement with more than one patient. [4]

Clinicians have compared psychotherapist-patient sexual involvement to rape, child molestation, and incest, putting victims at increased risk of suicide, according to the study, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients” in Annals of Health Law[5]

Sexual assault victims commonly struggle with emotional repercussions such as: Feelings of no self-worth, denial, crying spells, paranoia, helplessness, loneliness, shame, anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, numbness, withdrawal, depression, fear of relationships and intimacy, and more. [6]

The findings of a national study of 958 patients sexually abused by their therapist suggested that 90% were harmed and of those, only 17% recovered.  About 14% of those who had been sexually involved with a therapist attempted suicide. [7]

Women are the usual targets of sexual assault, but men and children of both sexes have been attacked in the name of therapy.

A person seeking help is already in a fragile state and may already feel victimized by their situation. To add a sexual attack is heartless, cruel, and blatantly wrong no matter how these activities are justified.

The prevalence of such behavior has prompted laws in some states prohibiting any sexual contact between practitioner and patient. CCHR has long pushed for uniform state laws prohibiting mental health practitioners from engaging in sexual relations of any sort with a patient, making it not only a gross violation of medical ethics, but also illegal.

Colorado is one of the several states that specifies that “consent” is not a valid defense. The state takes the position that the psychiatrist is in a position of overpowering influence and trust. Therefore, a patient cannot consent to sexual relations with a therapist and ANY sexual contact is considered a “boundary violation” and is illegal, even if initiated by the patient.[8]

A report in Annals of Health Law said that when sexual contact occurs in a psychotherapeutic setting, it is not unusual for the patient to have been persuaded that it was a necessary and integral part of the therapy itself. [9]

In a therapeutic setting, such relationships by and large involve male practitioners assuming domineering roles to bring usually much younger female patients under their sway. Done under the guise of therapy or love and never to the patient’s benefit, a complaining or protesting patient need no longer be blamed for the seduction, experience shame and regret or be coerced into silence.

With the #MeToo movement shining an unprecedented spotlight on this complex societal issue, it is time to uncover the perpetrators of sexual abuse and bring them to justice.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual contact by a mental health worker, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

 

[1] “Doctor Sexual Assault Cases: Capable Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Fight for Justice,”
https://www.beasleyfirm.com/medical-malpractice/doctor-sexual-assault/

[2] Op. cit. “Doctor Sexual Assault Cases.”

[3] Kenneth Pope, “Sex Between Therapists and Clients,” Encyclopedia of Women and Gender, Academic Press, Oct. 2001

[4] Gary C. Hankins et al, “Patient-Therapist Sexual Involvement: A Review of Clinical and Research Data,” Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry Law, Vol. 22, No.1,

[5] Clifton Perry, Joan Wallman Kuruc, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients,” Annals of Health Law, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 1993
https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.bing.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1356&context=annals

[6] Doctor Sexual Assault Cases: Capable Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Fight for Justice,”
https://www.beasleyfirm.com/medical-malpractice/doctor-sexual-assault/; Kenneth S. Pope, “Therapist-Patient Sex as Sex Abuse: Six Scientific, Professional, and Practical Dilemmas in Addressing Victimization and Rehabilitation,”
https://kspope.com/sexiss/therapy1.php

[7] https://kspope.com/sexiss/sexencyc.php

[8] “Psychiatrist/patient boundaries: When it’s OK to stretch the line,” Current Psychiatry, 2008 August;7(8):53-62
http://www.mdedge.com/currentpsychiatry/article/63241/psychiatrist/patient-boundaries-when-its-ok-stretch-line

[9] Clifton Perry, Joan Wallman Kuruc, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients,” Annals of Health Law, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 1993, https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.bing.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1356&context=annals

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General News News for Colorado

Denver And Pueblo Psychiatrists Disciplined By Medical Board For Unprofessional Conduct

Two Colorado psychiatrists had their licenses put on five years’ probation by the Colorado Medical Board for unprofessional conduct under the state Medical Practice Act.

The disciplinary action taken against psychiatrist Thomas William Starkey, Jr., of Denver, is the result of his violation of an earlier agreement with the Board.  After pleading guilty to driving under the influence, Starkey signed a July 2019 agreement with the Board to stop performing any act requiring a medical license, while the Board investigated and determined what further actions, if any, were warranted.

The Board then found that between July and October 2019, Starkey authorized his office staff to continue distributing pre-written prescriptions for medications to patients, in violation of his agreement with the Board.

In its Final Agency Order, dated January 27, the Board states that Starkey has a physical or mental condition that renders him “unable to perform a medical service with reasonable skill and with safety to patients in the absence of treatment monitoring” and that he “habitually or excessively used or abused alcohol, a habit-forming drug, or a controlled substance.”

In addition to five years’ probation, the Board ordered Starkey’s abstinence from addictive substances, treatment as determined by the Colorado Physician Health Program, and compliance monitoring.

Starkey was previously disciplined with five years’ license probation in October 2010, after the Medical Board found that he crossed the boundaries of professional conduct with a female patient the same day he terminated treatment of her.  He completed that probation in 2015.

Psychiatrist Andi Kristine Woodbury, of Pueblo, was disciplined by the Medical Board, effective January 8, with a Letter of Admonition and five years’ license probation and treatment monitoring for violating a section of the Medical Practice Act concerned with failing to notify the Board of certain physical or mental conditions, or failing to practice within the limitations of those conditions with safety to patients, or failing to comply with limitations agreed to under any confidential agreement.

Woodbury’s specific act or omission that prompted the Board’s disciplinary action was not further detailed, but it follows the March 2020 voluntary surrender of her clinical privileges during an investigation of her professional competence and conduct at the medical facility at which she worked and a July 2020 evaluation by the Colorado Physician Health Program, which concluded she could practice safely if she received treatment and monitoring.

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General News

American Psychiatric Association Apology Fails To Fully Admit Psychiatry’s Racial Human Rights Abuses and Role In Creating Racism

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) recent apology for its support of structural racism understates psychiatry’s racial human rights abuses and its long history of instigating racism by providing “rationales” that justified and perpetuated it.

Over the last 50 years, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has exposed that sordid history and intensified its efforts last June by forming the Task Force Against Psychiatric Racism and Modern Day Eugenics.

The APA’s apology, issued January 18, states: “The APA apologizes for our contributions to the structural racism in our nation….”

The APA further admits: “These appalling past actions, as well as their harmful effects, are ingrained in the structure of psychiatric practice….”

But the APA glosses over “those appalling past actions” by merely admitting that psychiatric “practitioners have at times subjected persons of African descent and Indigenous people who suffered from mental illness to abusive treatment, experimentation, victimization in the name of ‘scientific evidence,’ along with racialized theories that attempted to confirm their deficit status.”

That bare-bones admission fails to adequately portray the magnitude of psychiatrists’ role as prime instigators of “scientific racism,” creating and promoting the false theories of racial inferiority that have been widely used to “justify” the oppression, segregation, and population control of Black Americans.

It is noteworthy that in the late 1700s, psychiatry’s own “Father of American Psychiatry,” Dr. Benjamin Rush, a slave owner, created a medical justification for racism by claiming Blacks suffered from a disease called “negritude,” supposedly a form of leprosy, and recommended their segregation to prevent them from “infecting” others.  A logo with the image of Benjamin Rush is still used for APA ceremonial purposes and internal documents. The APA still gives a Benjamin Rush Award.

Psychiatrists in the American mental health movement later latched onto and promoted the false science of eugenics (from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “good stock”), which claims some humans are inferior to others and should not have children.

Pushed by mental health practitioners, the eugenics idea of racial inferiority became ingrained in the U.S. and led to efforts such as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s plan to reduce the Black population through sterilization and the Ku Klux Klan’s white supremacist activities.

Further, the APA’s brief confession of “experimentation [and] victimization” of people of color “who suffered from mental illness” not only downplays the barbaric psychosurgery and psychiatric experiments conducted on African Americans, but also fails to honestly admit that many subjects in these experiments were perfectly healthy.  Those experiments include:

  • In 1951, psychiatrist Walter Freeman experimented with lobotomies on Black patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, describing the procedure as “a surgically induced childhood.” (A lobotomy is psychiatry’s surgical procedure of cutting into the brain to try to alter behavior.)
  • In the 1950s, Black prisoners in New Orleans were used by psychiatrists Robert Heath and Harry Bailey for psychosurgery experiments that implanted electrodes into their brains. Bailey later boasted it was “cheaper to use [Blacks*] than cats because they were everywhere and cheap experimental animals.” [*Bailey’s racial slur is omitted here]
  • Psychiatrist Robert Heath conducted CIA-funded secret drug experiments on Black prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary using LSD and the drug bulbocapnine, which can produce severe stupor, to see if the drug would cause “loss of speech, loss of sensitivity to pain, loss of memory, [and] loss of will power.…”
  • In the mid-1950s at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), drug-addicted African Americans were given LSD in an experiment that kept many hallucinating for 77 consecutive days. In the 1960s, NIMH again used Black men as test subjects for an experimental hallucinogen, the chemical warfare drug BZ, which was many times more powerful than LSD.  In the 1970s, following riots in a predominantly black section of Los Angeles, NIMH experimented on African Americans, including children as young as five, to see if they had a violence gene that could be controlled by psychiatric drugs.

The APA has not admitted practitioners’ role in creating the present-day mental health system of psychiatric labeling, forced psychiatric drugs and treatment, and incarceration in psychiatric facilities that enabled racist treatment.

African Americans are disproportionately diagnosed with mental illness and disproportionately committed to psychiatric facilities.  They are more likely to be labeled with conduct disorder and psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, and overly prescribed antipsychotic drugs.  Black men are more likely to be prescribed excessive doses of these psychiatric drugs.  Black children are overly labeled with ADD/ADHD.

The APA is correct, therefore, in stating, “The APA is beginning the process of making amends….”  There is much, much further to go in publicly taking responsibility for psychiatrists’ essential role in instigating and perpetuating racism and for the human rights violations of its experiments and treatments.

Until it does so, its incomplete apology may be viewed as political pandering and an attempt to whitewash history to pave the way for the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry to expand – very profitably – into the African American community.

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General News News for Colorado

Police Responding To Report Of Psychiatric Facility Runaways Are Asked By Staff To Control “Rioting”

Police officers arriving at a Colorado Springs psychiatric facility Saturday night in response to a report of juvenile runaways were asked by staff to help them gain control of the facility from “rioting” patients who were “overtaking” them.

Officers were initially dispatched to Cedar Springs Hospital after receiving a report that juveniles had run away from the facility, according to the Colorado Springs Police blotter.

When officers arrived, they were advised that multiple patients were “rioting, overriding the facility, destroying property, and overtaking the staff.”

Several staff members suffered injuries that police described as “minor.”

Five juvenile “instigators” were arrested on charges that include 2nd degree assault, 3rd degree assault and harassment.

Information on what sparked the incident is not available.

What drugs the juveniles may have been prescribed is also not known.  Commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs carry well-known risks of side effects that include hostility, psychosis, aggression and violence.

If you or someone you know has had experience with this or any other psychiatric facility, we want to talk with you.   You can contact us by clicking here  or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Categories
General News

Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Push To Profit From COVID-19 Pandemic Ignores Individuals’ Resilience In Times Of Crisis

Note:  The rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide has generated alarming and self-serving predictions from the psychiatric industry about a potentially devastating mental health crisis in the making, along with a wave of urgent calls for huge increases in government funding for mental health treatment.  In response, we are republishing a May 2020 article from Citizens Commission on Human Rights International that reviews how wrong the predictions of mental health crises were in earlier disasters and how research has found that in times of crises, the individual’s own resilience has often proven to be the best “treatment” – and with no risk of the harmful and even life-threatening side effects of the psychiatric drugs used in mental health treatment.  [Warning: No one should stop taking any psychiatric drug unless under the supervision of a competent medical doctor.]

Some Media are Starting to Report How Resilience (Not Mind-Altering Psychotropic Drugs) is Better at Facing COVID-19 Restrictions

CCHR wants people better informed about the psychiatric-pharmaceutical agenda to use normal reactions to virus restrictions to push harmful psychiatric labels and drugs. The sources of predictions about “mental health epidemics” often have conflicts of interests with manufacturers of psychotropic drugs.

By Jan Eastgate
President CCHR International
The Mental Health Industry Watchdog
May 29, 2020

Throughout April-May 2020, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has researched and provided information about the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry using COVID-19 to scare people into believing that their mental health may be irreparably damaged. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs, that carry a heinous list of side effects, have been promoted, taking advantage of people’s understandable vulnerabilities—their normal reactions to abnormal times. Psychiatric drugs are already being tested to be repurposed to treat COVID-19, despite their own potential life-threatening risks.

However, CCHR’s research has also found that people’s resilience in times of disasters, including wars and terrorism, has often been the people’s best “treatment.” It was, therefore, a nice change to see mainstream media report and further substantiate this.

For example, on May 25, 2020, The Australian reported that rather than a “mental health epidemic” as a result of COVID, “history suggests we often rebound from mass trauma events.” In the late 1930s, “as Britain braced itself for a looming war and predicted mass civilian casualties from German bombing,” a committee of psychiatrists predicted that the bombs would cause three times more mental injuries than physical. Several large psychiatric hospitals were built outside London to deal with the mass trauma.

But despite 57 sequential nights of bombings, 41,000 Londoners killed and two million homes destroyed, every one of the predictions about how Londoners would react turned out to be wrong. In fact, the psychiatric hospitals remained empty and were repurposed for the physically wounded.

Something similar occurred following the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001. It was predicted that one in four New Yorkers would suffer PTSD and 9,000 counselors were dispatched across the U.S. to be prepared to deliver. But the tents established to deliver such services remained largely empty, and only half of the $200 million set aside for mental health help was spent.[1]

Richard Bryant, a professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales, who studied the impact of Australia’s devastating Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 said that 82% of people remained resilient.[2] Approximately 400 fires were recorded across Victoria; 173 people tragically lost their lives from the series of fires in 2009 and 414 were injured.[3] But as one study Bryant was involved in found, “Several years following the Black Saturday bushfires the majority of affected people demonstrated resilience without indications of psychological distress.” Only a minority required services for persistent problems.

Responding to recent mental health experts expecting a “tsunami of mental health disorders” from COVID, Bryant stated: “We know that time and time again over every disaster, including previous pandemics, most people will end up being resilient.” [4]

One of those doomsday mental health “experts” was Dr. Ian Hickie who, writing in The Guardian in the UK, claimed “the potential mental health and suicide impacts resulting from the massive economic and social dislocation caused by Covid-19 are front and center internationally.” He further reported a “predicted 25-50% increase in suicides over the next five years” according to his Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, of which he is co-director of health and policy. Hickie reported that the Australian health minister, Greg Hunt, made “Covid-19-precipitated mental ill health the same status as physical ill health.” The government has announced AUS $48.1m (U.S.$32 million) in additional funding for mental health.

Hickie, along with his cohort, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, are the co-founders of Australia’s national headspace: Youth Mental Health Centers in Australia which treat 12-25-year olds. Researchers have criticized the centers for being used as “’clinical laboratories’ for applied research.”[5] McGorry and Hickie were part of a joint statement on COVID-19 issued on May 7, that predicted “increases in youth suicide and a surge in demand for specialist mental health services,” and the telltale “calling for long-term modelling and investment in mental health to guide critical decision making in social, economic, and health policy to help Australia transition out of the coronavirus pandemic.” That “modeling” is based on one developed by the Brain and Mind Centre, and Australia’s The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence on prevention of youth suicide (YOUTHe), in which McGorry’s research group Orygen and the University of Melbourne are partnering. McGorry is the Professor of Youth Mental Health at the university.

It’s easy to “predict” that from such demands that this could lead to increased antidepressant and other psychotropic drug prescriptions, with individuals uninformed that the drugs can actually induce suicide prescribed to “prevent”—and that those suicides will be attributed not to the drugs but to “COVID-19 related” issues.

Hickie has served on the professional advisory boards convened by the drug industry in relation to specific antidepressants made by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Eli Lilly and has led projects funded in part by BMS, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Wyeth and Servier.[6] He has served on advisory boards convened by the pharmaceutical industry in relation to three specific antidepressants.[7]

McGorry is renowned for his debunked dangerous theory that pre-drugging adolescents with antipsychotics can prevent psychosis.[8] Mental health specialists told Australia’s Sunday Age that the focus on early intervention for adolescents and young adults had been “massively oversold” by the “McGorry lobbying machine.” “It’s extremely worrying that the government is listening to professional lobbyists who have a massive personal investment in the programs they’re recommending – and they are undoubtedly overstating the evidence. There’s a massive conflict of interest there,” said Professor David Castle from Melbourne’s St. Vincent’s Hospitals, referring to both Hickie and McGorry.[9]

McGorry has had financial ties to the drug companies, Janssen-Cilag, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novartis. He has also received honoraria for consulting and teaching from Roche, Lundbeck, and Astra Zeneca. His Orygen Centre operates four of the 27 headspace centers in Victoria.   Orygen has also been funded by drug companies Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag and Bristol-Myers Squibb.[10]

In the U.S., the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has purported that those put in isolation are “more likely to develop PTSD or increase substance use;” that the required excessive cleaning of hands could lead to compulsions;[11] and that almost 60% feel that the virus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives.[12] APA posted on its website that an “anxiety pandemic” is following fast on COVID’s heels.[13]

Perpetuating this, on May 21, the American Psychological Association released the results of a 10-point subjective survey of parents with children under 18, asserting that 46% rated their average stress level regarding the pandemic as 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. An article quoted Charles B. Nemeroff, professor and chair of the department of psychiatry at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). He stated: “This kind of chronic stress brings about, for all those people who have never had anxiety before, it sort of overwhelms them.” Pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth fund ADAA.[14]

Nemeroff came under federal investigation for his failure to declare $1 million he took from pharmaceutical companies. He’d taken the money while conducting supposedly unbiased research for the National Institutes of Health on drugs made by the companies he was receiving money from. A front-page report by The New York Times in October 2008 said that congressional investigators found Nemeroff had received $2.8 million in consulting deals with drug makers over seven years and failed to report at least $1.2 million of that to Emery University.[15]

The Wall Street Journal reported at least some of the warnings about the drugs: “Because benzodiazepines can reduce the body’s drive to breathe, overdoses can be deadly” and the drugs “can be difficult to stop, too. Withdrawal symptoms can include a surge in anxiety, tremors and, in some cases, seizures. The medications can be particularly dangerous for older adults: In seniors, their use is associated with falls and cognitive problems.” Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2013, according to a study published in 2016 in the American Journal of Public Health.[16]

CCHR’s online psychiatric drugs side effects searchable database is an excellent resource for finding free information about adverse effects of psychotropic drugs and the many drug regulatory agency warnings about them.

CCHR is fully aware of how the country’s challenging times (with its own staff part of the stay-at-home restrictions) and how, generally at a societal level, it can impact mental and physical health. But APA and other mental disorder groups making claims that high percentages of people will be anxious, depressed or have PTSD (based largely on surveys of a small number of people, and often with a Public Relations firm spin) is self-serving to rake in future profits. CCHR is researching more articles that convey how individuals’ innate resilience, including that which comes with a recovered economy and job safety, is most likely to be a winning “medicine.”

References:

[1] “Blitz Spirit: Fortunately for the COVID-19 generation, history suggests we often rebound from mass trauma events,” The Australian, 25 May 2020,  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/covid-health-crisis-trauma-could-be-overstated/news-story/a6146f9449f3748d1e21c2d1f11ad310
[2] Ibid.
[3] https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/black-saturday-bushfires; https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/bushfire-black-saturday-victoria-2009/
[4] Op. cit., The Australian, 25 May 2020
[5] https://www.cchrint.org/2015/04/27/drugging-kids-patrick-mcgorry/
[6] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/03/15/patrick-mcgorry-plans-to-dope-12yearolds-with-cannabis/
[7] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-7893.2012.00366.x
[8] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/03/15/patrick-mcgorry-plans-to-dope-12yearolds-with-cannabis/
[9] https://www.smh.com.au/national/mcgorry-accused-of-conflict-of-interest-20110806-1igxd.html
[10] https://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/240814/sub290-mental-health.pdf
[11] https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/sites/default/files/legacy/mm/digital/media/03Mar_PTMorganstein_Coronavirus_PDF_V2.pdf; https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychiatrists-beware-impact-coronavirus-pandemics-mental-health
[12] https://www.jnj.com/personal-stories/covid-19-taught-doctor-resilience-and-hope
[13] https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders
[14] https://www.cchrint.org/issues/psycho-pharmaceutical-front-groups/adaa/
[15] https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/health/policy/04drug.html
[16] “More People Are Taking Drugs for Anxiety and Insomnia, and Doctors Are Worried,” Wall Street Journal, 25 May 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-people-are-taking-drugs-for-anxiety-and-insomnia-and-doctors-are-worried-11590411600