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TeenScreen: Gateway to Labeling and Drugging Your Children in the Name of Education

TeenScreen uses craftily designed questionnaires to label normal children with mental illnesses, and then prescribe them dangerous psychiatric medications. TeenScreen personnel only refer children to psychiatrists or mental hospitals for treatment, but a 2002 survey found that child psychiatrists treat 9 out of 10 children by drugging them (Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry).

TeenScreen is promoted as a suicide prevention tool, but in reality it allows drug companies, psychiatrists, and big brother government to use taxpayer money to further grow the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries.

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Antidepressant Efficacy May Be Overblown – Experts

By Karla GaleFri, NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Antidepressants, for the most part, do not provide meaningful benefit, two investigators in the UK argue in a report in the British Medical Journal this week, having reviewed published medical evidence on antidepressant efficacy.

Most people with depression are often initially prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor. Prescriptions for these medications have risen dramatically in the last decade.

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“Full Access” to Mental Health Failed Pittman Boy

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

 Excerpt: “Didn’t Your Brain have to tell you to Do it?” State’s Attorney questioned the gun expert In the State of South Carolina vs. Pittman

The Christopher Pittman tragedy is being played out in America this week in a small South Carolina courtroom where he is standing trial for the shooting deaths of his grandparents over three years ago. Now, a fifteen year old slender, inconspicuous boy, Christopher is being tried as an adult for the crime which he committed at age twelve, a crime that the defense can legitimately argue was induced by the drug, Zoloft, long suspected of causing possible mania and psychotic episodes and recently linked to suicide ideation.

Pfizer, the maker of the drug Zoloft appeared in court earlier in the week asking that the judge exclude from the defense, certain documents pertaining to their drug, arguing that these documents were “subject to protective orders” in another civil case. This is reminiscent of the October 2004 Congressional Hearings where Pfizer, along with other pharmaceutical giants, was mandated by the Committee to disclose all negative clinical data regarding its SSRI class antidepressant, data which had previously been withheld from the FDA and from the General Public.

At the same time, as the state attempts to prosecute this boy and eradicate any responsibility that this drug had on his mind at the time of the crime, it must dispute the growing evidence linking the drug with violence and mania. It must then prove safety and efficacy for the use in children. The state’s job looks insurmountable considering the FDA itself did not approve Zoloft for use in children.

The State’s gun expert showed the jury how to load and shoot the gun that was used to commit the crime. This demonstration led to a revealing question posed by the State’s own attorney, Barney Giese, “Doesn’t your brain have to tell you to do it?” For better or worse, the state finds itself in a dilemma, relying on psychiatrists own admissions that the drug Zoloft changes brain chemistry and alters human behavior.

Christopher Pittman did not arrive at this courtroom solely by his own actions, others bear responsibility. This boy had “full access” to mental health “treatment” with no barriers. This “full access” altered the course of his life. As Christopher Pittman faces life in prison, one must wonder: If he did not receive this questionable mental health “treatment”, would the outcome be the same? More precisely, as disturbing as it is, it is not where Christopher Pittman goes from here, but where he has been.

For further information regarding antidepressant risks in use in children and legal cases pending visit

Blue Cross Issues Warnings to Doctors Prescribing Drugs with Suicide Links. Will Insurance Companies Continue to Deny Death Protections for Suicide Victims?

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

 News that Blue Cross Insurance are warning physicians to exercise care and caution when prescribing antidepressants comes as no surprise in lieu of the recent antidepressant crisis that has plagued America for so long now and has recently come to a swift and direct result. Scrambling for damage control is a normal response under the circumstances by insurance companies nationwide. Blue Cross simply follows suit. Their actions should be viewed cautiously and with enough skepticism from those many Americans left victimized and harmed by antidepressant use. Many want to believe that insurance companies are operating in the best interest and safety of the patient. Others more attune to reality remain skeptical. What truly motivates insurance companies to take this initiative in warning doctors to be careful?

The bottom line is that the FDA has issued Black Box Warnings on all highly marketable Antidepressants after conducting a long investigation. Even with insurmountable evidence to establish their link to suicide this investigation dragged on. In a twisted and at times almost unbelievable fashion, Congress themselves had to step in to demand that the FDA disclose its data regarding certain drugs. Frustrating, and at times even ludicrous, this investigation revealed not only a clear definitive link to suicide by these drugs, but the FDA’s and drug industries desperate attempts to hide, cover-up, conceal, distort (call it what you may) clinical trial data.

In light of all these facts, it is little wonder that insurance companies are gearing up to minimize loss. Their logic in warning doctors to err on the side of caution when prescribing antidepressants is used in an attempt to save them billions in potential lawsuits.

Take for example, in the past, if a member of your family committed suicide and was taking an antidepressant or withdrawing from an antidepressant, your legal recourse, and protections under insurance is difficult at best and more often than not, nonexistent. Now up the stakes, by throwing the fact that these drugs have black box warnings on them, clearly spelling out their potential for harm. Insurance companies are between a rock and a hard place, under the gun to justify not paying claims to potential victims of the antidepressant suicide fallout.

An industry that has previously been in the driver’s seat, one that ultimately has had the final say in denying suicide victims claims, no longer has an unobstructed path to tread down. It treads today on shaky ground; no longer sure that denying death claims due to suicide, when antidepressants are involved, is in its best interest.

Accountability measures need to be enacted that would ensure that the families of victims of this antidepressant suicide crisis receive immediate protection and justice in the form of financial compensation.

Several flaws in a questionable system stress the importance of accountability here where it has been previously lacking. They are as follows:

  • Proper and full informed consent needs to be provided to the patient in writing prior to any psychiatric “treatment”. This entails revealing to the potential patient the risk of suicide when prescribing an antidepressant.
  • Toxicity testing on suicide victims is not mandated and needs to be required. Victim’s families are not provided with the information on the importance of toxicity screening and are not given the actual procedure on how to request testing at the time of death.
  • Suicides have been and are still routinely blamed on a person’s mental state or a person’s psychiatric diagnosis, rather than on the psychiatric “treatment” that the person had received prior to his death. This occurs routinely without scientific backing or verification of it being a fact. In this way, drug harm, is often overlooked or disregarded.
  • Overall, s uicides are rarely investigated on a national level. This prevents critical information from being gathered and used to factor into determining possible links or causes of suicide. Statistics need to be obtained.
  • Under “Right to Treatment”, insurance companies have been required to cover dangerous and risky psychiatric “treatment” even when the diagnosis itself does not withstand evidence-based criteria. Simply put, a person is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder based on lists of subjective behaviors rather than on confirming, objective blood tests or brain scans.

The overall picture is one that shows the drug industry, and the psychiatric Industry conveniently not being held accountable. Both groups arm themselves with strong lobbying groups in Washington whose sole purpose is to grease the palms of our political representatives.

In the midst of all this confusion, insurance companies are left with half-hearted attempts at restoring order in a disordered and chaotic system.

For more information on the risks of suicide and antidepressants and the recent “Black Box Warnings” on antidepressants, please visit us at

Children Suicide “Cluster” in Pennsylvania. Is Antidepressant Use to Blame?

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

 As Pocono Mountain East High School reels from its third unexplained child suicide that has occurred within the past six weeks, the mental health industry scrambles to explain away what so many people in this country, and in the U.K., have slowly but clearly begun to understand. Three child suicides all involving children who attended the same school inside of six weeks would appear alarming to the average person, but not to the American Psychiatric Association, which issued this statement concerning the matter. “Reports of suicide “clusters”, in which one suicide appears to trigger several others within a group such as a school or community, have increased.”

To say that suicide clusters have increased without addressing a possible antidepressant link is a “smoke screen” attempt to take our attention away from the stark reality, the shock, and horror that the average person would have to know that 3 children all attending the same school killed themselves all inside a 6 week period. One would think right away, what are the odds?

Psychologist Sara Camaerei, who practices with Family Treatment Associates of Stroudsburg, PA had this to say regarding the recent cluster of child suicides. “Suicide is a taboo in our society. No one likes to talk about it. When one individual commits suicide, it removes the taboo and others could think that maybe it’s an alternative.”

A taboo, simply put, is anything prohibited or forbidden by society, tradition or convention. To blame suicide on the fact that it is a taboo within society and that children are more likely to kill themselves because society as a whole does not like to talk about suicide is a far-reaching theory. To reach further and state that one child suicide would encourage other children to follow suit, simply killing themselves because this “taboo” has been removed, is another questionable theory that offers very little answers and does not get to the crux of the situation.

The reality is that both statements produce a tremendous amount of much needed “smoke and mirrors” on the mental health industries part in their futile attempt to divert our focus away from more logical explanations. The reality is that both statements and point of view do not address the current antidepressant crisis happening in this country and the very real plausible explanation into why children are killing themselves at such a rapid rate.

The facts should speak for themselves and override any meager attempts by a profit driven industry to explain away child suicides. The facts should not be covered up or go unheard when children continue to die. They are:

  • Last years ban of antidepressants for children in the U.K. due to their link to suicide ideations.
  • This years FDA investigation into the antidepressant link to suicide and violence.
  • This years Congressional Investigations into the FDA’s failure to act in the best interest of public safety by attempting to withhold crucial drug research and studies from the public.
  • The drug companies ability to withhold clinical data from the FDA and the public that clearly linked antidepressant use with suicide.
  • The recent issuance of “Black Box Warnings” by the FDA on all antidepressants clearly spelling out their link to suicide.
  • Over 850 parents have come forward on a national level to report being pressured and coerced by nation schools to place their children on behavioral drugs and antidepressants.
  • Parents and advocates taking action within states across the nation to enact state laws outlawing the prevalent practice of coercion by schools which led to the Federal government proposing “The Child Medication Safety Act,” which would safeguard both parental and children’s rights
  • Lack of a tracking system in place for each State and for the Nation overall, that would comprise useful data regarding the number of children dying as a result of psychiatric drugs.

These facts cannot be discounted. The question remains: Is the American public going to continue to buy into the mental health industries “smokes and mirror” attempts to dispel, distort and overshadow children dying, and the reason why they are dying?

Is this incident at Pocono Mountain East High School in Pennsylvania so easily swept under the rug by the industry promoting unapproved drugs to children? Will the American public allow this to happen?

The American public needs to demand accountability. Three child “cluster” deaths in Pennsylvania should be enough to prompt a full Federal investigation into the matter. The public needs to have access into the number of children dying as a result of psychiatric drugs. No accountability and No oversight is just plain Unacceptable.

For more information on children’s mental health issues, Federal and State laws involving a child’s right to grow up drug free, and education please visit

New Investigation: Death of 16 Year-Old Girl, State of Pennsylvania After FDA Warning Was Issued

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419, Fax (203) 253-0329

Vicky Dunkle
Vice President State of Pennsylvania
(814) 887-9296

Attention: Committee Members of Oversight and Investigations:

Antidepressant Use in Children

Last week Ablechild contacted the Committee Members of Oversight & Investigations to make notification that another child has died as the result of antidepressants not FDA approved for use in children. Ablechild Vice President of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Vicky Dunkle, met with the family of this latest victim, a 16 year-old girl on Friday, September 17, 2004. At the age of 14, their daughter started taking Wellbutrin. Two years later, their daughter hung herself, just 14 days after stopping Wellbutrin.

Mrs. Vicky Dunkle provided them information about the on-going Congressional investigation and the recent FDA warning. The family was unaware of the FDA warnings, and on-going investigations into this antidepressant crisis. This clearly highlights the overall public health crisis and lack of management to provide warnings and detoxification procedures. Having psychiatrists come on television to do damage control for the drug companies is not proper public health management. As this committee investigates this national health crisis, there must be a public health plan established to ensure that the public is fully aware of the investigation and the impact of withdrawal. This does not mean encouraging children to stay on antidepressants or focusing on the dangers associated with not seeking “drug” treatment. Non-drug approaches to depression and other behavioral issues should be encouraged and considered prior to prescribing off-label antidepressants.

This latest victim of drug suicide has left a family very willing to speak out. They were never told of the subjective nature of the diagnosis itself, or the dangers associated with the recommended “drug” treatment. Their daughter hung herself in her bedroom. Mrs. Vicky Dunkle’s help to the family comes with a keen sense of understanding, as her own 11-year-old daughter, Shaina Dunkle, died due to toxic levels of an antidepressant prescribed her that was not FDA approved for use in children.

Mrs. Dunkle has been featured on the Montel Williams Show, as well as other National television and radio programs. She is eager to speak out to protect American children and their basic human and constitutional rights. She has asked the family to report their child’s death to the FDA as soon as possible and contact the members of this Committee.

For more information on the recent FDA hearings regarding antidepressants and suicide in children please visit our website at

Black Box Warning on Antidepressants

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

Gloria Wright
Vice President State of North Carolina

AbleChild is pleased with the FDA advisory panel’s move to place “black box warnings”, the strongest possible warnings that can be issued, on all antidepressants that have been linked to suicide ideations. The FDA’s hearings appear now to offer hope and healing. During the hearings held February 2 and September 13, frustrated and anguished parents and victims testified as to the horrible acts of violence, suicide, and suicide ideation induced by antidepressant use. According to their testimony, SSRI drugs had the causal effect of perpetrating these terrible tragic reactions on their loved ones. SSRI’s are a class of antidepressants still under investigation for causing suicidal thoughts and acts in children and adolescents. Eight of these SSRI drugs have been banned since last year in the U.K. for anyone under 18 years of age. The FDA never approved the use of these drugs for use in children. These drugs failed to meet the basic FDA requirement for effectiveness, yet were prescribed to children through a loophole called “off label”.

Though this move to place “black box” warnings is long overdue, it is necessary and a welcomed step toward improving the informed consent process. Our organization has regularly requested accountability, which must be required of both the drug companies and the psychiatric industry. There must be a documented informed consent process prior to treatment. Our organization will continue to work with the Congressional Investigation and Oversight Committee and FDA to ensure that the wording on warning labels are clear so there is no chance for misinterpretation.

Misinformation is itself a clear and present danger to the safety of our children. We need to focus closely on ensuring any write-ups regarding risks are straightforward, clear, and are not in any way additional attempts to mislead the public further on the part of drug companies or the psychiatric industry. The decision of the advisory panel to place a “black box warning” on these drugs will go a long way towards reducing the suicide rate in the United States .

Ablechild’s president and co-founder, Patricia Weathers testified before the Advisory Panel, “It broke my heart to see so many senseless deaths. To hide this important information from the public is a deadly secret we cannot afford to keep any longer. These families trusted the psychiatric and drug industries, and that trust was broken.”

AbleChild will attend the Connecticut Statewide Conference on Inclusion in New Canaan , Connecticut , on Saturday, October 2. We will offer the Connecticut Department of Education, parents, children’s advocates, as well as educators access to the latest information on the advisory panel’s recommendations and highlight the importance of “The Child Medication Safety Act” which is still stalled in committee in the Senate. For more information, please visit our website:

FDA Talk Paper

Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Updates Its Review of Antidepressant Drugs in Children
Agency Details Plans to Present Data to Advisory Committees in September and Seek Advice on Appropriate Regulatory Actions

As part of its commitment to keep the American public fully informed about the status of its review of data concerning the use of antidepressants in pediatric patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing this update to provide health care providers and patients with the most current information on this topic.

FDA has completed a new analysis of pediatric suicidality (suicidal thoughts and actions) data submitted to the agency and will be posting its analysis on its web site. FDA will also be posting on its web site additional summaries of pediatric efficacy studies from drugs that have been studied in depression in pediatric patients. Although specific new labeling language has yet to be developed, FDA will assure that the labels of the antidepressants used in pediatric patients reflect the most recent information obtained from these studies and analyses.

Next month, on September 13 and 14, 2004, FDA officials will be discussing this issue at a public meeting of its Psychopharmacologic Drugs and Pediatric Advisory Committees, at which time the agency will hear from the public and solicit the advice of the committees on these labeling changes and other possible regulatory actions.


FDA has been closely reviewing the results of antidepressant studies in children since June 2003, after an initial report on studies with paroxetine (Paxil) appeared to suggest an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in the children given Paxil, compared to those given placebo. Later reports on studies of other drugs supported the possibility of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children taking these drugs. There were no suicides in any of the trials.

FDA has closely examined the studies of the antidepressants because of the potential public health impact of a link between the drugs and suicidality and the importance of these drugs in treating depression and other serious mental health conditions. On close examination of the initial reports of suicidality, it was unclear whether some of the identified suicidal behaviors reported in these studies represented actual suicide attempts or self-injurious behavior that was not suicide-related. FDA therefore arranged with Columbia University suicidality experts to review these reports.

Meanwhile, FDA brought the available information to its Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) and Pediatric Subcommittee of the Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committees on February 2, 2004. The advisory committee members advised FDA that even before the Columbia analysis was complete, the labeling should draw more attention to the need to monitor patients closely when antidepressant therapy is initiated. Based on this recommendation, FDA asked manufacturers to change the labels of ten drugs to include stronger cautions and warnings about the need to monitor patients for worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality, whether such worsening represents an adverse effect of the drug or failure of the drug to prevent such worsening. The new warning language has now been added to the labels for seven of these products. Sponsors for the other three drugs have agreed to adopt the language.

The “Columbia” Study

Because of concerns about whether the varied events identified by sponsors under the broad category of “possibly suicide-related” could all reasonably be considered to represent suicidality, FDA asked Columbia University to assemble an international panel of pediatric suicidality experts to undertake a blinded review of the reported behaviors using a rigorous classification system. The Columbia group submitted its completed review to FDA last month.

FDA has developed its analysis of the pediatric suicidality data, based on case classifications provided by Columbia University, and will be posting the analysis on its web site. While there are findings among these data suggestive of an increased risk of suicidality for some of these drugs, there remain inconsistencies in the results, both across trials for individual drugs and across drugs. Thus, an overall interpretation of these findings represents a substantial challenge.

The September FDA Advisory Committee Meeting

FDA’s next step, planned for some time, will be to update the Psychopharmacologic Drugs and the Pediatric Advisory Committees about the results of these reviews and to seek assistance from the committees in interpreting the data and in considering what additional regulatory actions may be needed to promote the safe use of these drugs.

As a public health agency, FDA must weigh the possibility of an increased risk of suicidality in young patients taking these drugs against the known risk of suicide in patients whose depression goes untreated.

FDA will be bringing the following issues and draft questions to the committees for their input:

  • Please comment on our approach to classification of the possible cases of suicidality (suicidal thinking and/or behaviors) and our analyses of the resulting data from the 23 pediatric trials involving 9 antidepressant drugs.
  • Do the suicidality data from these trials support the conclusion that any or all of these drugs increase the risk of suicidality in pediatric patients?
  • If the answer to the previous question is yes, to which of these 9 drugs does this increased risk of suicidality apply? Please discuss, for example, whether the increased risk applies to all antidepressants, only certain classes of antidepressants, or only certain antidepressants.
  • If there is a class suicidality risk, or a suicidality risk that is limited to certain drugs in this class, how should this information be reflected in the labeling of each of the products? What, if any, additional regulatory actions should the Agency take?
  • Please discuss what additional research is needed to further delineate the risks and benefits of these drugs in pediatric patients with psychiatric illness.

The meeting will be held in Bethesda, Maryland on September 13 and 14, 2004. So that all interested parties will have ample opportunity to review the information to be discussed next month, FDA will be posting information on its website at: and

Ablechild Petitions Connecticut Governor And Public Health Commissioner To Provide Public With FDA Warning On Antidepressants Before Treatment

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

 AbleChild has learned that last week the Connecticut Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Galvin, submitted to Governor Rell a written opinion on Informed Consent relating to the recent FDA Antidepressant Warnings and their link to Suicide in adults and children. Ablechild requests that the office of Public Health, as well as the Governor’s office, provide this written opinion on informed consent to the public immediately, to ensure that the public is aware of the ongoing investigation and public health warnings regarding antidepressants and the implications surrounding this issue.

This year FDA warnings on Antidepressants immediately followed an FDA investigation, which was launched on a different class of antidepressants known as SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). This investigation and subsequent warnings comes after the United Kingdom banned the use of SSRI’s in 2003 for anyone under age 18, due to their propensity to cause suicidal ideations in children and adolescents. Currently the FDA has required that the drug companies re-label antidepressants with stronger warnings, requiring them to disclose their links to suicide.

This past week, on the Federal level, a Congressional Investigative Subcommittee Hearing, which was to investigate drug companies’ concealment of clinical data involving harm and negative side effects of Antidepressants, was abruptly shut down. This shut down, was a result of the Subcommittee Chairman’s (Congressman Greenwood-PA) acceptance of a job with one of the company’s under investigation. This recent news highlights the corruption within the political process, and the conflict of interest, both of which have sadly overrode our children’s health and safety.

In light of these facts, Ablechild has taken immediate action in Connecticut to increase public disclosure of the very real risks and life threatening warnings that these drugs have, in hopes of dispelling the myth that these drugs are safe and effective. Misinformation, comprising of the idea that these drugs are safe for our children, has been for many years, all too easily and eagerly, spread by the pharmaceutical industry manufacturing them, as well as a major portion of the mental health industry. Both of these industries have vested financial interests as top priority.

The State of Connecticut has a responsibility to protect public health. The public needs to have access to all warnings in order to make informed decisions regarding whether or not to use antidepressants for “treatment”, being recommended for depression and other psychiatric labels placed upon our children. These warnings need to be taken seriously, should be disclosed readily prior to “treatment”, and should not be overlooked. Informed Consent, hand in hand, with public safety, should be everybody’s top priority!

To read more on antidepressant warnings visit

Victims of Antidepressants Respond to Federal Corruption in Ongoing Investigation. Drug Companies’ Influence Suspends Hearing.

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

 A hearing scheduled for yesterday, July 20, 2004, by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, headed by Congressman Greenwood of PA, was abruptly shut down just hours before it was to convene. This hearing, requested by victims, was scheduled to address both the withholding of clinical trial data from the public by drug companies, and the role of the FDA in the antidepressant investigation. Representatives from 7 pharmaceutical companies, their trade association, as well as, representatives from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and one top FDA official, were all scheduled to testify before the Subcommittee. Ablechild learned from the Associated Press that the hearing was suspended due to Congressman Greenwood’s announcement that he was seeking career opportunity from the pharmaceutical industry. This clearly raises ethical concerns.

Ablechild received a flood of calls from families outraged over the government’s depraved indifference to human rights, its lack of responsibility, and its blatant disregard for the public safety. Ablechild has put in an emergency request to the Senate to reopen these hearings to the public immediately, due to this Subcommittee’s inability to act in the best interest of the public. Parents contacting Ablechild know that the Subcommittee is unduly influenced and request that immediate action should be taken to uphold the integrity of this investigation.

On behalf of parents nationwide, Ablechild contacted Senator Santorum, from PA, specifically requesting that he take steps to reopen these hearings to ensure that the health and well being of our children is not, in any way, compromised. Ablechild points to the death of little Shaina Dunkle, from Pennsylvania, who at the age of 10, died from the direct result of antidepressants. Mrs. Vicky Dunkle, has repeatedly appealed to both Congressman Greenwood and Senator Santorum, asking for accountability in the death of her daughter. We have appealed to Pennsylvania, reminding them that Shaina Dunkle’s death should not be disregarded by the power plays of special interest groups influencing politicians and investigative hearings.

The government has the responsibility to protect public safety. Ablechild eagerly awaits Senator Santorum’s response.