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Proposed Legislation Misses Target in the Aftermath of Parkland Mass Murder

Following the Parkland school shooting sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, there is an attempt to make it easier for juries in the State of Florida to impose the death penalty, a bill has been filed in both houses of the Florida Legislature to change the determination from unanimous consent to just eight jurors voting in the affirmative.  Once again, special interest groups appear to be begging for more power in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting.

The State of Connecticut in the aftermath of Sandy Hook allowed special interest groups to hijack lawmaking to go after the 2nd Amendment and gun manufacturers. Florida in the aftermath of Parkland is now allowing special interest groups to change unanimous consent by a jury to eight in agreement to put a human being to death.  Both States appear to be willing to look at any measures except those that will address the real issue at hand, the State’s involvement (and responsibility) in the wide-scale drugging of too many of these shooters from kindergarten to young adults.

The sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz exposed for the first time the psychiatric behavioral health vendors hired by the State of Florida to provide mental health treatment to Nikolas Cruz from a very young age. Cruz’s introduction to behavioral modification thru the use of psychiatric drugs began while he was still in elementary school.  According to court testimony, he was first put on Strattera in 2003 when he was just seven years old. The following is a list of what is known about his “treatment.” What is missing, and was absent from the testimony during his trial, is the serious adverse events associated with each of these drugs and increased adverse events when taken as a cocktail.

  1. Concerta .54 mg
    The most common side effects of the medication include headache, abdominal pain, insomnia, decreased appetite, nervousness, and dizziness. But the drug can also cause serious side effects that range from drug dependence to growth suppression to psychiatric problems.
  2. Strattera increased…25, .40, .50
    Irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, psychotic/manic symptoms, delusions, hypomania.
  3. Intuniv (guanfacine)
    Irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, psychotic/manic symptoms delusions, hypomania.
  4. Risperdal 25 mg and long-lasting mg increased and decreased
    aggressive behavior, agitation, anxiety, change in vision, including blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, difficult speaking, swallowing, inability to move eyes, increased amount of urine.
  5. Focalin Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride .10 increased to 15 XR long-acting,
    nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, sudden outburst, mental mood behavior changes, agitation, aggression, abnormal thoughts, and psychosis.
  6. Clonidine
    irritability, mood changes, insomnia, nightmares, delusional perception, hallucinations, mental depression, vivid dreams.

The State of Florida’s Behavioral Health vendor, Henderson, was not held to account in relationship to Cruz’s actions and the cocktail of psychiatric drugs he was placed on from 7 years of age. In fact, Henderson still has a very profitable contract with the State of Florida to provide “treatment” to children in the Department of Children and Family Services.  According to Henderson’s financial statement of June 20, 2019, approximately 80% and 77% of the organization’s total revenue and receivables were derived from 3 entities.

Revenue        Receivables

State of Florida Department of Children and Family Services
54%                38%

Broward County
12%                17%

Medicaid Revenue
14%                19%

If Cruz is any indication of the success of the program, serious questions need to be asked of Henderson behavioral health as well as to the State of Florida.  Henderson’s contract is more than $52 million. The financial report makes a powerful point of illustrating its need for continued financial support from the State, stating if there is a “significant change in the funding from the government entities it could have an adverse effect on the organization’s operation.”  One can only wonder if the high stakes of losing a $52 million state contract with some Medicaid revenue mixed in is the reason to focus on changing the make-up of a jury versus getting to the bottom of the State’s role in drugging the Parkland mass murderer, Nikolas Cruz.

Furthermore, don’t the citizens of the State of Florida deserve some explanation from Henderson about Cruz’s mental health treatment? According to Buzzfeed News from 2010 thru November 2016, Broward County Sheriff’s deputies responded to at least 36 emergency 911 calls from the Cruz home.

Is this the same time that Florida State vendor, Henderson Behavioral Health, was overseeing the “treatment” of Cruz, ultimately prescribing at least six mind-altering drugs, some not approved for children by the Food and Drug Administration?

The official statement in the report in the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting from Henderson was, according to Jared Bienenfeld, a therapist with Henderson Mental Health, “deemed Nikolas to be no threat to anyone or himself at the present time.”

The sentencing of Cruz failed to have Henderson Behavioral Health explain its determination that Cruz was not a harm to himself or others.

The defense spared Cruz from the death penalty and spared the State of Florida vendor from losing its multi-million-dollar behavioral health contract.  Once Cruz aged out, and his insurance no longer covered the addictive mind-altering cocktail of drugs given to him by the State’s vendor, he turned to street drugs and months prior to the Parkland mass murder he took five bars of the prescription drug Xanax.

All Americans should demand Cruz’s treatment and billing records from Henderson Behavioral Health be disclosed. The question, ultimately, is whether there is a commitment to finding out why these mass shootings are occurring. To get to those answers, appropriate questions must be asked of those in the mental health business who are impacting the lives of children at the State’s behest. The relationship between the State and mental health vendors, at the cost of millions to the tax payers, needs to be examined. How many more people must die before the mental health community finally is held accountable for its “treatment” services.