Horror Stories

This is VERY long, but a good history of both 'drugging in america' AND how our CHILDREN are being seen as profit centers for the pharmaceutical industry -- it's sorta 'dated', from Nov. 2010, but very relevant info and links ~!

-----Original Message-----
From: TradingPostPaul <tradingpost@riseup.net>
To: globalnetnews-summary@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Sun, Nov 21, 2010 7:26 pm
Subject: [globalnetnews-summary] Unsung Hero in Battle Against Psychopharmaceutical Industry
Ablechild: Unsung Hero in Battle Against Psychopharmaceutical Industry
by Evelyn Pringle / November 19th, 2010

The founders of Ablechild, Patricia Weathers and Sheila Matthews, have
earned the title of “Unsung Heroes,” as both pioneers and warriors for
over a decade, in the battle to protect children from the
Psychopharmaceutical Industry.

Ablechild (Parents for A Label and Drug-Free Education), is a national
non-profit founded in 2001, by these two mothers who each had personal
experiences with being coerced by the public school system to label and
drug their children for ADHD. Patty and Sheila went from being victims to
become national advocates for the fundamental rights of all parents and
children in the US.

Now with thousands of members, Ablechild acts as an independent advocate on
behalf of parents whose children have been subjected to mental health
screening and psychiatric labeling and drugging, and as a proponent for
children in foster care who are improperly treated with psychotropic drugs,
many times off-label, without informed consent.

Long Battle Against Coerced Drugging

Roughly eight years ago, on September 26, 2002, then Chairman the US House
Government Reform Committee, Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), held a hearing
on the “Overmedication of Hyperactive Children,” prompted by a series
in the New York Post.

“It’s estimated that 4 to 6 million children in the United States take
Ritalin every single day,” Burton said in his opening statement. He
pointed out that Ritalin was a Schedule II stimulant under the Federal
Controlled Substances Act, that research showed it was a more potent
transport inhibitor than cocaine, and use in the US had increased over a
500% since 1990. The Schedule II category also includes drugs such as
cocaine, morphine, and Oxycontin.

On one side of the issue, Burton said, they would hear from the
associations of psychiatrists and an organization known as Children and
Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), and they
believed 13% of the US population suffered from an attention disorder and
it should be treated with medication.

At the other end of the discussion, he said, was the Citizens Commission
for Human Rights (CCHR), and concerned parents, who challenged the
legitimacy of calling ADHD a neurobiological disorder and raised questions
about giving psychiatric drugs to children. Two of these “concerned
parents” were Patty Weathers and Neil Bush, the brother of then President
Bush, who was pressured by a private school in Houston to drug his son with
Ritalin after he was misdiagnosed with ADHD by the school.

Unsung Hero: Patty Weathers

At the hearing, Patty testified about the ordeal she and her son, Michael,
went through in a public school in New York State that began in 1997. When
Michael entered first grade, the teacher told Patty his learning
development was not normal and he would not be able to learn without

“Near the end of first grade, the school principal took me into her
office and said that unless I agreed to put Michael on medication, she
would find a way to transfer him to a special education center,” Patty
told the committee.

At this point, his teacher filled out an actor’s profile for boys, an
ADHD checklist, and sent it to his pediatrician, she said. “This
checklist, along with a 15-minute evaluation by the pediatrician, led to my
son being diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin.”

Michael was not given a physical exam prior to the prescribing of Ritalin
and no exams were conducted during appointments when refills for
prescriptions were written.

“I would never have subjected my son to being labeled with a mental
disorder if I had known that it was a subjective diagnosis,” Patty told
the panel. “I would not have allowed my son to be administered drugs if I
had been given full information about the documented side effects and the

“At no time was I offered any alternatives to my son’s needs, such as
tutoring or standard medical testing.” she said. “The school’s one
and only solution was to have my child drugged.”

Early on, Michael experienced the common side effects of Ritalin, such as
sleep problems and loss of appetite, and by the third grade, Michael became
withdrawn, stopped socializing with other children, and began chewing on
pencils and other objects. He was then put on Dextrostat, an amphetamine,
which only worsened the problems.

But instead of recognizing the drug side effects, the school psychologist
then claimed Michael had either bipolar or social anxiety disorder and
needed to see a psychiatrist. The psychologist gave Patty the number for a
psychiatrist to call and the psychiatrist talked to her and Michael for a
short time, and “again, with the aid of school reports, diagnosed him
with social anxiety disorder,” she recalled.

Without telling her it was not approved for children, the psychiatrist
prescribed the antidepressant, Paxil, saying it was a “wonder drug for
kids.” “Those were her exact words,” Patty told the committee.

The drug cocktail caused even more horrendous side effects, until
Michael’s behavior became so out of character that Patty could not even
recognize her own son. “Through this whole ordeal, the school
psychologist’s favorite saying was that it was trial and error,” she
said. “If one drug didn’t work, try another.”

After watching Michael become violent, psychotic, hear voices and
hallucinate, Patty stopped giving him the drugs. Not recognizing that he
was going through withdrawal, the psychiatrist wanted to hospitalize
Michael and try different sedatives and antipsychotics until they found
“the right one,” but Patty refused to allow it.

After she became unwilling to give Michael the drugs, “the school threw
him out,” she told the panel. “As a final blow, they proceeded to call
Child Protective Services on my husband and I, charging us with medical
neglect for refusing to drug our child,” she said.

The complaint filed by the school stated in part: “[Michael's] behavior
at school is bizarre: He hears voices and appears delusional, he chews on
his clothes and paper, he talks to himself and rambles when he talks.”

A month-long investigation cleared the charges and independent
psychiatrists determined the bizarre behaviors were caused by the drugs and
Michael did not need hospitalization. Medical testing by Dr Mary Ann Block,
a Texas osteopathic physician, later showed that Michael suffered from
anemia, hypoglycemia and allergies. When those conditions were treated, any
attention problems disappeared.

On August 7, 2002, the New York Post ran a front-page article featuring
Patty’s story. Within a few days, over 65 parents came forward to
describe similar stories of coercion and intimidation used by school
districts to strong arm them into drugging their kids.

Unsung Hero: Sheila Matthews

Connecticut mom, Sheila Matthews, turned on the TV one day and saw Patty
testifying on C-Span at a hearing titled, “Behavioral Drugs in
Schools,” on September 29, 2000, before the US House Subcommittee on
Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Sheila immediately related with Patty because she was then going through
what she would later call the “ADHD nightmare,” of being pressured to
put her 7-year-old son on Ritalin, after he was screened and diagnosed with
ADHD by a school psychologist, with claims he would “self-medicate” and
end up a drug addict if she did not medicate him.

While testifying at this hearing, Patty explained that being labeled made
Michael feel worse about himself and “like a freak” because he “had
to be drugged to go to school.”

She also voiced her concerns for other families over the intimidation
tactics used by schools to coerce parents into drugging their children.
“If I didn’t have family members who were willing to financially back
my son and I in my son’s cause, it is entirely possible that my son would
have ended up in a psychiatric ward,” she told the panel.

That very day, Sheila made up her mind to expose the misleading information
being given to parents about so-called mental disorders in public schools
and expose the coercive tactics being used on parents who refused to label
and drug their children.

She wanted to meet Patty so she contacted the Congressional office and they
put her in touch with Marla Filidei, Vice President of CCHR International.
Marla hooked her up with Patty, and together, they founded Ablechild.

National Spokespersons

Over the past ten years, Patty and Sheila have become national
spokespersons. The normally shy, quiet Patty has made appearances on more
than two dozen media programs including ABC’s Good Morning America, the
Today Show on NBC, Hannity & Colmes, on Fox, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, A&E’s
Investigative Reports, and Montel Williams.

She has also been interviewed for stories in major newspapers including the
New York Times, New York Post, USA Today, and Christian Science Monitor, as
well as Time, People, and Redbook magazines, and has been interviewed by
Gary Null, Sean Hannity, Michael Regan, and other popular radio talk show

In February 2001, Patty received a “Human Rights Award,” from CCHR, and
was recognized for standing up against the injustice of psychiatric
labeling and drugging of children in public schools at the group’s annual
banquet. Sheila received an award from CCHR in 2002, and was recognized for
her hard work and role as national spokesperson.

Sheila has also appeared on TV numerous times including shows on CNN, NBC
and Fox, and has been interviewed on many talk radio programs. Her story
has also been featured in major newspapers and magazines.

In her home state of Connecticut, Sheila worked with State Representative,
Lenny Winkler (a nurse by trade), to secure passage of the first state law
in the country that restricts schools from suggesting psychiatric
diagnosing and drugging of any child as a condition of attending school.
She testified before the Connecticut State Assembly about her own personal
experience with the school trying to pressure her to put her son on Ritalin
and the lack of validity of the disorders children are being labeled with.

Sheila was with the Connecticut Governor when he signed the bill into law
in 2001 and told USA Today that she was thrilled “because it gives
parents an awareness that there should be a clear difference between
education and medication.”

“No other industry has total access to our children the way the
psychiatric community does, and I think this new law is just the beginning
of changes to come,” she told Kelly Patricia O’Meara, in an interview
for Insight News.

“Kids should be off-limits as targets of convenience for the drug
industry,” Sheila said. “I want the mental-health industry out of our

However, any victory celebration was short lived because in September 2001,
a number of family orientated magazines began running the first ever ads
for ADHD drugs. “It seems like every time we take a step forward, they
come back and hit us harder,” Patty told Time magazine.

After the Connecticut law was passed, Sheila continued to work with other
parents on state and federal levels to pass similar bills. By 2003, seven
states had passed laws against schools coercing parents to drug their
children or expelling students whose parents refused to medicate them.

On a national level, both Sheila and Patty made many trips to Washington to
educate lawmakers. In September 2001, Patty and CCHR’s Bruce Wiseman and
Marla Filidei, briefed legislators at a national congress of the
“National Foundation of Women Legislators,” and gained their unanimous
approval of a model law in the “Child Medication Safety Act (CMSA),”
which mandates that: “State educational agencies develop and implement
policies and procedures that will prohibit school personnel from requiring
a child to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance such as Ritalin
as a condition of attending school or receiving services.”

In both October and November of 2001, Sheila traveled to Washington with
Marla and Lawrence Smith, whose 11-year-old son died of a heart attack
caused by Ritalin, to meet with key lawmakers and discuss the crisis of
children being diagnosed and drugged in schools and the need for federal
legislation to end it. They also worked with Congressional staff to get
co-sponsors for the CMSA

In July 2002, the nationally syndicated columnist and radio show host,
Armstrong Williams, featured Sheila, Patty and Lawrence Smith in a radio
show on safeguarding children from being labeled and drugged in public

The next month, Patty appeared on NBC’s Today Show, on August 8, 2002,
and the same day, the New York Post ran an article reporting that Patty was
calling for a state wide tracking system to determine how widespread forced
drugging was in schools.

Strongest Foe Funded by ADHD Drug Makers

In March 2003, Patty, Michael, and Sheila appeared on a Montel Williams
show on promoting “A Parents Right to Choose,” along with Connecticut
Rep, Lenny Winkler, Bruce Wiseman, Patricia Marks, Dr Mary Ann Block, and
Vicky and Steve Dunkle, whose 10-year-old daughter died from Desipramine
toxicity, after the antidepressant was prescribed for ADHD as a result of
pressure from school officials to medicate the child.

The guests covered everything from the subjective diagnosis of mental
disorders, with no confirming medical testing, to the many side effects of
psychiatric drugs, to the fact that most children involved in school
shootings were on psychiatric drugs. They warned that due to coercion in
schools, parents all over the country were losing the right to choose
whether their kids would take powerful drugs, including stimulants,
referred to as “kiddie cocaine.” At the end of the program, Montel
asked the audience to write to Congress asking for federal legislation
against the coerced drugging of school children.

After the show aired, CHADD, the main front group for the stimulant makers,
organized a letter writing campaign to Montel, who they said “mocked”
ADHD, as part of responding to “offensive media depictions” of ADHD,
they claimed in CHADD’s 2002-2003 Annual Report.

The group also published an open letter to Montel, saying no one would
“dispute that unnecessarily placing a child on medication is

“But the greater travesty is delaying proper diagnosis and effective
treatment for those who truly need it,” CHADD said. “The sad truth is
that many more children with mental disorders slip unrecognized past the
gatekeepers of mental health services than those who are improperly

In April 2003, Ablechild issued a press release blasting CHADD for lobbying
against the CMSA with claims that only a “handful” of incidents had
occurred involving parents being coerced by schools to drug their children.

In lobbying to CHADD’s membership, the group’s CEO, E Clarke Ross, used
the electronic newsletter, “News from CHADD,” to raise questions about
whether the problem was common enough to require federal legislation and
called such cases “isolated and highly publicized.” Because a number of
states and school boards had passed laws or resolutions, Ross claimed the
federal bill was “legislative overkill.”

However, for a May 13, 2003 investigative report on the CMSA published in
Insight magazine, in which Ross again referred to “a few highly
publicized cases,” Kelly Patricia O’Meara interviewed Mike Stokke,
deputy chief of staff to the Speaker of the House at the time, and found
cases of school personnel demanding that parents drug children as a
condition of staying in school were far from isolated in numbers or areas.

In case after case, Stokke told Insight, “when we started meeting some of
these families who have been through this problem, such as in New York, New
Jersey and Connecticut, we saw the coercive action of the state come in and
say that the teacher says you have to take these drugs.”

“And if you don’t it’s child neglect and the child is taken away from
the parents,” he said.

“Many of the parents that we talk to are people who have the means to
fight back but what is troubling,” he said, “is that there are many
families out there in similar situations who don’t have the means to
fight the system.”

In the press release, Ablechild noted that CHADD was only opposing the CMSA
because its livelihood was at stake being the group was funded by stimulant
makers. Complaints about the funneling of money through CHADD, to increase
drug sales and the diagnosis of ADHD, were discussed at length during the
September 29, 2002, hearing on the use of behavioral drugs in schools.
Portions of a 1995 report on the matter, by the US Drug Enforcement
Administration, were even read into the record.

“It has recently come to the attention of the DEA that Ciba-Geigy, the
manufacturer of Ritalin, marketing under the brand name Ritalin,
contributed $748,000 to CHADD from 1991 to ’94,” the agency reported.
“The DEA has concerns that the depth of the financial relationship with
the manufacturer was not well known to the public, including CHADD members,
that have relied upon CHADD for guidance as it pertains to the diagnosis
and treatment of their children,” it wrote.

The agency was particularly concerned that most of the ADHD material
prepared for public consumption by CHADD, and made available to parents,
did not address the potential or actual abuse of Ritalin. Instead, it was
portrayed as a benign, mild substance that’s not associated with abuse or
any serious side effects.

CHADD received $848,000 from Novartis in 2001, according to testimony at
the hearing.

Kids Disabled for Cash

On its website, CHADD provides a link to a webpage on “Disability
Benefits,” and tells parents that some kids with ADHD can be declared
disabled and receive benefits including “cash payments,” under the
federal Supplemental Security Income program.

“Children under age 18 who have disabilities, including some children
with AD/HD, can receive SSI if they meet eligibility criteria,” CHADD
says. “The SSI program can provide monthly cash payments based on family
income, qualify the child for Medicaid health care services in many states,
and ensure referral of a child into the system of care available under
State Title V programs for Children with Special Health Care Needs.”

At the congressional hearing ten years ago, Colorado Representative, Bob
Schaffer, reported concerns about Federal cash incentives to label children
with ADHD, and specifically the two that resulted in cash payments to
parents and schools.

In 1990, the SSI program made low-income parents eligible for a cash
benefit of more than $450 a month for each ADHD child, and in 1991, the
Department of Education made it so schools could receive more than $400 a
year for students with ADHD, under the Individuals With Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA).

Both cash incentives coincided with a dramatic rise in the number of
children labeled with ADHD. In 1989, children citing mental impairments,
including ADHD but not retardation, made up only 5% of disabled kids on
SSI. But that figure rose to nearly 25% by 1995. Between 1990 and 1992, the
number of ADHD diagnoses jumped from about one million to over three
million, Schaffer informed the committee.

The IDEA also had a “child find” provision which required states to
actively seek out kids who may qualify for special education in order to
receive Federal special education funds, Patti Johnson, a member of the
Colorado State Board of Education, told the panel. In many states, schools
had also become authorized Medicaid providers and collected funds for
children labeled with one of the learning or behavior disorders, she

“Between SSI, Medicaid and IDEA, we have turned schools into aggressive
identifiers of disabled children,” Schaffer told the panel. “Without a
doubt we are subsidizing the aggressive pursuit of children with

“It is not resulting in accurate diagnosis,” he said. “It is
resulting in an over diagnosis.”

Roughly a decade after the hearing, the new book, Anatomy of an Epidemic:
Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental
Illness in America by Robert Whitaker, reports that the number of kids
receiving SSI checks due to mental illness increased 35-fold between 1987
and 2007, from 16,200 to 561,569.

Drug Money Pours In

Despite non-stop criticism over being in the pocket of the pharmaceutical
industry, money from ADHD drug makers continues to pour into CHADD year
after year.

The group’s Income & Expense Reports, show CHADD received $507,000 in
2002, $674,000 in 2003, and five years later, the amounts nearly tripled.
For the fiscal year of July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, CHADD received a
total of $1,205,000, from Eli Lilly, J&J’s McNeil division, Novartis,
Shire US, and UCB. In addition, 64% of sales and advertising, or $466,104,
came from drug companies.

The next year’s report shows CHADD received a total of $1,174,626, from
Lilly, J&J’s McNeil division, Novartis, and Shire, and 57.2 % of sales
and advertising, or $412,500, was from drug companies.

For the year 2008, Lilly’s full year grant report lists a $200,000
donation to CHADD. The 2008 IRS filing for the Eli Lilly Foundation also
shows a $50,000 gift, a drop from the $100,000 given to CHADD in 2007.
Lilly’s 2009 grant report lists a $130,000 donation and the first quarter
report for 2010 shows a $50,000 grant for CHADD. Lilly is the only ADHD
drug maker required to post grant reports online, so there is no way to
break down how much money is pouring into CHADD from the other companies.

The group’s 2008 IRS filing lists CHADD’s most significant activity as,
“provides support for individuals with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorders.” Yet the non-profit blew $330,000 on its annual conference and
another $114,950 on a 20th Anniversary Gala that same year, according to
the 2008 I&E report.

Also, in sharp contrast to the yearly SSI income of about $8,000 for
persons disabled by ADHD, the group’s 2008-2009 tax forms lists
compensation for CEO Ross as $187,747, and the next two highest paid
officials of this “non-profit” earn $130,217 and $121,095.

Landslide Vote

On May 21, 2003, the CMSA passed by a landslide vote of 425-1 in the House.
On May 27, 2003, Sheila and Patty appeared on the national radio show Scams
and Scandals, for a program about the need for the Act to end the abuse of
parents by schools. During the show, they asked all parents who had
experienced abuse similar to theirs to go online and sign Ablechild’s

The next month, Sheila was featured in her hometown newspaper, The New
Canaan Advertiser, in a front-page article on June 5, 2003 with the
headline: “Mother pushing Congress to prevent schools from ADD
testing,” with details of her campaign to enact federal legislation. The
article profiled AbleChild, and criticized CHADD for its industry funding
and opposition to the CMSA.

When public health officials in the UK and US announced that Paxil
increased the risk of suicide in children in June 2003, Sheila pushed her
Governor’s office to issue a press release warning against the use of
Paxil with kids. In July 2003, the Associated Press reported that the
Department of Children and Family Services in Connecticut planned to stop
using Paxil to treat young people with depression.

The New American published an article titled, “Drugging Our Kids,” by
William Norman Gregg in August 2003, and covered Patty and Michael’s
story in depth, along with similar cases reported by other parents
including Neil Bush and two families in which children died as a result of
coerced drugging.

On February 20, 2004, Patty spoke on the nationally syndicated Joyce Riley
radio show, and discussed the need for the CMSA in the wake of recent FDA
hearings on the link between antidepressants and suicide, including Paxil,
the drug Michael was prescribed.

Patty and Michael were both on CNN’s Lou Dobbs on April 15, 2004. Patty
noted the need for the CMSA, evidenced by nearly 1,000 signatures on
Ablechild’s website from parents with similar stories. Michael described
how bad it felt to be on medications and Patty warned about the lack of
informed consent given to parents regarding both the diagnoses of mental
disorders and the drugs used as treatment.

The next month, Patty led a protest of hundreds of parents, children and
human rights activists at the opening of the American Psychiatric
Association’s annual conference in New York City, saying parents were fed
up with psychiatrists telling them their children’s behavior was a
“mental disorder” requiring dangerous drugs.

Sheila was again featured in her hometown newspaper on May 10, 2004, in an
article about the need for an investigation by the Connecticut Attorney
General into the drugging of children in foster care. Sheila was quoted
throughout and promoted passage of CMSA.

Another federal bill that was introduced as a “Prohibition on Mandatory
Medication,” amendment to the IDEA in April 2003, was passed by the House
and Senate on May 13, 2004, and banned state and local educational agency
personnel from requiring a child to take a drug covered by the Controlled
Substance Act as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation,
or receiving services. Key wording from the CMSA was included in the

On September 13, 2004, Patty testified at an FDA advisory panel hearing on
the need for black box warnings on antidepressants about the risk of
suicide and violence. “The FDA had enough evidence 14 years ago to issue
these warning labels,” she told the committee.

She also testified about the lack of science behind psychiatric labels
given to children. “Parents are told that their child has a chemical
imbalance or a neurobiological illness,” she testified. “We risked our
child’s life based on this fundamental lie.”

“The FDA is well aware that there are no x-rays, biopsies, blood tests or
brain scans that verify these mental disorders as a disease or illness,”
she said. “The FDA should not be condoning or approving these drugs
without evidence of disease, illness or physical abnormality that would
justify risking our children’s lives with a harmful and potentially
lethal drug.”

The hearing ended with a vote by the panel in favor of black box warnings.

In November 2004, Patty was interviewed by a French TV producer for a news
program in France, similar to 60 Minutes, focused on the pressuring of
parents by schools in American to put children on psychiatric drugs. Other
guests included Vicky Dunkel and Tom Woodward, whose daughter committed
suicide after being prescribed an SSRI.

On February 17, 2005, Patty testified at a hearing titled, “ADHD
Diagnosis, Treatment & Consequences,” in New York City, and told the
story of what happened when Michael was labeled mentally ill in a public
school and she refused to keep drugging him.

“The irony of the whole ordeal was that I was charged with medically
neglecting my son, when there was no proof that anything was medically
wrong with him,” she testified.

The next month, the Ladies Home Journal ran an article titled, “A
Generation out of Control,” with a sub-heading that read: “A record
four million children — some as young as 2 — are being diagnosed with
ADHD and many are being put on powerful medications, perhaps for life.”

The article featured Sheila, and Patricia Marks, another Connecticut mom
whose son was misdiagnosed with ADHD. The article discussed the dangers of
teachers diagnosing kids in schools to solve classroom problems and warned
parents to make sure and rule out undiagnosed medical conditions that might
manifest as ADHD.

Also in March, in letters to the US Attorney for the District of Minnesota
and the FDA, Ablechild called for an investigation into the role of
antidepressants in a school shooting by Jeff Weise in Red Lake, Minnesota,
who was on Prozac when he went on a rampage, killing his grandfather first,
and then fellow students and teachers at his school, before committing
suicide with the same gun.

In a press release, Ablechild expressed outrage and frustration with the
FDA for “continuing to turn a blind eye to the all so obvious link to
violence and mania that these drugs are having on our youth, and even more,
their deadly link to uncontrolled school terror that has occurred from
coast to coast.”

In October 2005, Sheila issued a statement from Ablechild strongly opposing
TeenScreen, a program aimed at screening kids for mental illness in
schools. “TeenScreen is nothing more than the bio-behavioral health
industry’s attempt to garnish big government funding for useless programs
that profitably promote a course of recommended psychotropic drug
“treatment” which has been clearly liked to suicide and violent
behavior,” she warned.

In October 2006, Sheila appeared on The Big Story with John Gibson on Fox,
in a segment titled “Investigating the Link: Antidepressants &
Violence,” based on recent school shootings in Pennsylvania and Colorado,
and spoke of the need to investigate the correlation between psychiatric
drugs and school shooters, and toxicology tests to determine whether
shooters were on drugs. As the founders of Ablechild, parents came to them
all the time, Sheila said. “Their children are committing suicide on
these drugs and we’re very concerned.”

At the end of the show, the reporter noted particular concern about the
fact that 30 million Americans were taking antidepressants, and being that
5% would develop mania, there could be “a million and a half potential
maniacs waiting to explode.”

Focus On Drug Side Effects

Over the years, Ablechild has also focused on educating the pubic on drug
side effects and MedWatch, the FDA’s adverse drug reaction reporting
system. On December 13, 2006, Sheila testified at the FDA advisory hearing
on the risk of suicide with adults on SSRIs and presented the results of
two surveys showing a lack of public knowledge about Medwatch, and asked
the FDA to initiate campaigns to let consumers know where and how to report
ADRs, as consumers detect adverse effects sooner than providers.

In June 2007, Shelia, along with two CCHR representatives, met with
Washington lawmakers regarding the renewal of the “Prescription Drug User
Fee Act.” The new Act was signed into law in September 2007, with key
measures to help increase public knowledge about prescription drug risks,
as well as better safety monitoring by the FDA.

On November 6, 2007, Ablechild issued a news alert to warn that despite the
black box warnings, the mental health industry was continuing to downplay
the suicide risk of antidepressants. Based on information posted within the
MedWatch system, “an estimated 63,000 suicides have been committed by
people under the influence of antidepressants,” the alert reported.

It also noted that most parents were not aware that at least eight school
shooters “were under the influence of antidepressants documented to cause
not only suicidal ideation but also mania, psychosis, hostility,
hallucinations and even ‘homicidal behavior.’”

With 1.5 million children on antidepressants in the US alone, “Ablechild
is deeply concerned about the number of children being prescribed the
powerful and potentially lethal drugs,” the alert stated.

In December 2007, Sheila called into a National Public Radio program, when
the topic was the recently passed FDA reform bill, and discussed a new
requirement that all print ads include an 800 number and information on
reporting side effects to MedWatch. She also noted the importance of the
new clinical drug trial registry that would be available on the internet,
and the elimination of conflicts of interest on FDA advisory committees.

Protect Youngest Victims

In 2008, Ablechild teamed up with Amy Philo’s “Unite for Life”
coalition of advocacy groups in efforts to protect unborn children and
nursing infants from forced drugging through their mothers’ ingestion of
drugs, by lobbying against a bill called the “Mothers Act,” for short,
aimed at screening pregnant women and new mothers for mental illness.

The Act “quite simply is a feeder line for the psycho-pharmaceutical
industry and will result in more mothers and infants being put at risk for
being prescribed antidepressants and other dangerous psychiatric drugs,”
AbleChild warned in a letter made available on its website for persons to
sign and send to members of Congress.

In April 2008, Patty, Amy Philo, Marla Fidili from CCHR, Mathy Downing,
whose 12-year-old daughter committed suicide after being given Zoloft
off-label for test anxiety, and about 40 more advocacy allies, went to
Washington to lobby against the Mother’s Act.

The latest evidence of infants being harmed by psychiatric drugs ingested
by their mothers was reported on July 2, 2010, with a Medscape Today
headline, “Psychotropic Medications Linked to Serious Adverse Drug
Reactions in Children,” for a study by Danish researchers of 4,500
adverse drug reactions (ADRs), in children younger than 17, listed in the
national Danish ADR database between 1998 and 2007.

The results showed 429 reports were from psychotropic drugs, with the
largest share from stimulants at 42%, followed by antidepressants with 31%,
and antipsychotics at 24.5%.

Almost 19%, or 80 of the ADRs, were for children between the age of birth
and 2. All but one was serious, with two deaths associated with the SSRIs
Celexa and Prozac. These findings were “probably due to the mothers’
intake of psychotropic medicine, primarily antidepressants and
antipsychotics, during pregnancy,” the study authors wrote.

Sheila and Patty, along with Amy Philo, Mathy Downing, and Vicky Dunkle,
received an “Outstanding Achievement Award for Children’s Rights,” in
February 2009, at CCHR’s annual banquet, highlighted by a video tribute
featuring much of their work.

In April 2009, Sheila drafted a petition in support of the “Parental
Consent Act,” and made it available on Ablechild’s website for persons
to sign and send to members of Congress. Introduced by Texas Congressman
and physician, Ron Paul, the bill prohibits federal funds from being used
to establish or implement any universal or mandatory mental health
screening program for public school students and establishes a parent’s
right to refuse screening of a child without fear of being charged with
child abuse or neglect. In an April 30, 2009 speech, Paul pointed out that
“parents are already being threatened with child abuse charges if they
resist efforts to drug their children.”

“Imagine how much easier it will be to drug children against their
parents’ wishes if a federally-funded mental-health screener makes the
recommendation,” he said.

Million Kids Misdiagnosed With ADHD

After a decade of work by Sheila and Patty to expose the fraud behind
labeling kids with ADHD, on August 17, 2010, USA Today reported that a new
study from Michigan State University found nearly 1 million children may
have been misdiagnosed with ADHD, not because of any real behavioral
problems, but because they were the youngest in the class.

Children who are the youngest in their grades are 60% more likely to be
diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest kids, according to the study published
in the Journal of Health Economics. In fifth and eighth grade, the youngest
children were more than two times as likely to be on Ritalin compared with
the oldest students, the study found.

Evelyn Pringle is an investigative journalist focused on exposing
corruption in government and corporate America. She can be reached at:
evelyn-pringle@sbcglobal.net. Read other articles by Evelyn, or visit
Evelyn's website.