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Exhibit Educates Public on Psychotropic Drugs

Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:09 PM EST
By SLOAN BREWSTER, Press staff

Ritalin, Adderall, Thorazine, Zoloft, Prozac… The list of psychotropic drugs goes on and on, along with a host of disorders for which the medications are prescribed, but few people are aware of the process that brings a disorder into existence.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which was founded by the Church of Scientology, wants people to hear their take on the matter – a take they couple not with conjecture, but with countless indications of proof, including statistics, documentation, videotaped conferences on mental health, interviews with psychologists and psychiatrists and decades of historical data.

The commission’s touring exhibit, “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death,” opened last Tuesday and will run through Jan. 30 in the first floor of Main Street Market, in the space formerly occupied by It’s Only Natural. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit includes screenings of interviews with patients and conversations with mental health professionals, who admit brain scans do not offer evidence to prove the existence of mental health disorders and say drugs are often prescribed without any verification they will solve the problems.

“There are no tests to confirm,” said one psychologist during one such taped conversation. “I just speak with people and I make a decision as to the diagnosis.”

In one short film, a patient with a hidden camera visited several different mental health clinics. In each visit, the patient complained of the same symptoms. Each psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist offered a different diagnosis and some prescribed a number of drugs. Then there are the interviews with parents or family members of many patients who have taken their own lives while on psychotropic drugs or in the care of mental health professionals.

Visitors of the exhibit are led on a tour of the room and given the opportunity to read statistics, historical data and to see sometimes graphic depictions of restrained patients and other disturbing imagery.

“It was wrong what we were doing,” one psychologist said during an interview shown in the exhibit. “We were looking at five minutes of their life and diagnosing.”

“More than 100,000 patients die each year in psychiatric institutions around the world,” reads one statistic the commission lists. “An estimated 15,000 American children have died as a consequence of taking psychiatric drugs.” Visitors sit at stations set up throughout the exhibit and watch short films that offer evidence to prove the claims the commission makes. “It is an educational exhibit; CCHR is the premiere psychiatric watchdog in the world,” said Noelle Talevi, executive director of the commission’s Connecticut chapter. “We’re the only ones telling this side of the story – Their side of the story is that there is mental illness. Every behavior from the cradle to the grave is labeled as mental illness – the only answer is drugs.”

At the end of the exhibit, visitors return to a table near the entrance to the room, where they can get reading material to bring home, a DVD compilation of screenings shown in the exhibit or a documentary film called “Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging.” Some people who have been to the exhibit said they feel vindicated by what they have seen as they already suspected a lot of what the exhibit portrays, Talevi said. Some have indicated they were “blown away,” she said. “They now know they weren’t crazy.”

Others are surprised when they see things such as films of psychiatrists voting on disorders. “They are shocked to learn that ADHD was literally voted into existence,” Talevi said.

Samantha Kovath and Melissa Grover went on the tour last Wednesday. “It seems like the government is using medication as a way to brainwash people,” Grover said. “They want money. What better way to get money than to brainwash the people that work?” One of the last stations, “Masterminds of Destruction,” shows a disturbing quote suggesting the purpose of decades of prescribing adults and children with psychotropic drugs has been done with the intent of social control: “To achieve world government it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogmas.” The quote was made by psychiatrist G. Brock Chisholm, co-founder of the World Federation for Mental Health.

“[Chisholm] was saying it as part of a plan,” Talevi explained. “It was part of a speech to the World Federation for Mental Health.”

Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano also took the tour Wednesday. “Some of the stuff I knew, especially the stuff about kids,” the mayor said. “Where was all this when I was growing up?”