Ablechild Submits Legislative Requests in Public Safety and Security Committee
In response to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s announced funding in the state’s mental health budget, Ablechild has introduce two pieces of legislation with the Public Safety and Security Committee, that would provide informed consent and consumer access to the FDA’s MedWatch adverse drug event reporting system.
It is no secret that prescription mind-altering drugs are linked to a number of violent incidents across the country. It also is no secret that the use of psychiatric drugs is increasing at startling rates. For example, currently 70 million Americans (one in five) is taking a mind-altering drug.
In 2010, alone, more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written for Americans and ten percent of high school children are prescribed prescription psychiatric drugs to “treat” ADHD. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that there is a greater risk posed by prescription drugs than illicit substances.
As is well known, Ablechild sued the State to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records and toxicology report in order to learn whether Lanza had been prescribed psychiatric drugs and whether those drugs may have played a role in his violent behavior.
Although the state refused to make public Lanza’s mental health records and complete toxicology report, what is known is that Lanza had at least been prescribed the antidepressant, Celexa, in 2007. Immediately after taking the Celexa, Nancy Lanza reported to the Yale Child Studies Center that she believed Adam was having an adverse reaction to the drug.
Despite Nancy Lanza’s concerns about the drug, mental health practitioners at Yale did not make Lanza aware of the FDA’s MedWatch System in order that she could report the adverse event, nor is there any information provided in the State Police Report of the shooting that Yale made any effort to report the adverse event to the FDA.
Ablechild has submitted to the Public Safety and Security Committee an amendment to Raised S.B. 98 to include training of the MedWatch System to security personnel. The amendment would make it mandatory to provide verbal and written information to parents of children who are flagged in the drug detection and gang identification process.
Ablechild’s second legislative request to the Public Safety and Security Committee is to make February 14th of each year MedWatch Awareness Day, which would acknowledge the important role the MedWatch System plays in protecting the health and well-being of the State’s consumers.
“Both of these legislative measures,” said Ablechild co-founder, Sheila Matthews, “are an important part of informed consent. This is about public safety, and it’s about making sure that parents know that they can directly report adverse drug events to the FDA. The system is completely private and there is no cost associated with it.”
“Less than one percent of the actual adverse drug events are reported to the FDA,” explained Matthews “because people are not aware that the system exists.” “These legislative initiatives,” said Matthews, “would be a great help to Connecticut consumers and, ultimately, help the FDA decided when action needs to be taken on a drug.”
Both legislative requests have been sent to the Public Safety and Security Committee and Ablechild looks forward to the upcoming public hearings to gain support for the measures.