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Is Your ADHD Support Group a Front Organization for the Pharmaceutical Industry?

By Richard DeGrandpre, Ph.D.

On May 18, 1999, the New York Times reported that “social phobia ranks today as the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder in the United States……….affecting an estimated 19 million Americans, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Many are to bashful even to talk to therapists.” In the same week, the Boston Globe reported that “Epidemiological studies have found that acute social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder in the United States………. affecting up to 13 percent of Americans. Jerilyn Ross, president of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America……she hopes a publicity blitz planned by………..SmithKline Beecham will raise awareness of social anxiety disorder and lead more people to seek help, which could include psychotherapy instead of drugs.” Why were the Boston Globe and the New York Times both writing about “social phobia disorder” in the same week, and why would a drug company spend its money to “raise awareness” of a mental-health disorder? The answer: the FDA had just approved a drug for the treatment of social phobia. As the Boston Globe put it, SmithKline Beecham makes the drug Paxil, which was “the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for treating social anxiety disorder.”

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‘Shut Up and Pass the Prozac’ – Top Psychiatrist, Pro-Family Advocates Left Out of National Debate on Mental Health

By Debbie Thurman, Christian Communication Network

MONROE, Va., July 18 /Christian Wire Service/– “Shut up and pass the Prozac.” That is the consensus of the media in the most volatile round of psycho trash talk in recent memory. Since Tom Cruise kicked it up a notch on the “Today” show with Matt Lauer, all manner of “experts” have weighed in on both sides of the debate.

One of the most articulate and credentialed critics of current psychiatric practices was notably absent, however. Dr. Peter Breggin of The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, was essentially shut out of the debate by the media, at one point being forced to watch a 90-minute-long exchange between Jane Pauley and CNBC’s Donny Deutche, which he was invited to join by link-up, but to which he was never asked to contribute a comment.

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Arianna’s Call For Drug-Violence Investigation Never More Timely

By Kelly Preston

Kirstie Alley and I recently supported 20 doctors from various health care fields, including family physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, researchers, nutritionists and surgeons in a letter to the FDA calling on it to strengthen its warnings on stimulants and antidepressants, especially when prescribed to children.

This was in response to the FDA’s recent warning that not only do antidepressants cause hostility and suicidal behavior in children, but also stimulant drugs [June 28 FDA advisory]. The doctors’ letter states: “We can no longer sit back and let the clock tick, waiting for more deaths, suicides or people driven to violent acts by psychotropic drugs. The FDA must continue to be vigilant, to root out other substances that have — one way or the other — slipped under the radar screen, and are now wreaking havoc with the nation’s youth.”

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Lawmaker Calls for Registry of Drug Firms Paying Doctors

New York Times, by Gardiner Harris

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — An influential Republican senator says he will propose legislation requiring drug makers to disclose the payments they make to doctors for services like consulting, lectures and attendance at seminars.

The lawmaker, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, cited as an example the case of a prominent child psychiatrist, who he said made $180,000 over just two years from the maker of an antipsychotic drug now widely prescribed for children.

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St. Petersburg Times, Letters to the Editor

I am the mother of a 16-year-old autistic son. First, autism is not a mental illness. There are physical situations that precede the condition. The best definition I ever heard came from Bob Doman, the founder of the National Association for Child Development, when he told me he referred to autism as “brain toxicity.”

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Skyrocketing Numbers of Kids Are Prescribed Powerful Antipsychotic Drugs. Is It Safe? Nobody Knows.

The ‘atypical’ dilemma

By Robert Farley, Times Staff Writer

More and more, parents at wit’s end are begging doctors to help them calm their aggressive children or control their kids with ADHD. More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs.

In the past seven years, the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs has increased some 250 percent. Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.

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The New Face Of Antidepressants?

By Ed Silverman

For the past three years, the controversy over antidepressants has largely centered on exploring links between the pills and suicidal behavior, particularly in youngsters. But there has also been considerable chatter about homicidal thoughts.

Several killings around the country have prompted defense lawyers to blame an antidepressant for a killing. Most famously, this occurred in South Carolina, where 12-year-old Chris Pittman claimed Pfizer’s Zoloft prompted him to kill his grandparents. And one of the Columbine killers was prescribed Luvox.

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Grassley Seeks Marketing and Safety Documents From Major Drug Maker

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the drug maker, Eli Lilly and Company, for information related to the risks and marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.

Grassley made this request in response to allegations that the company downplayed safety risks and engaged in other improper marketing practices that may be jeopardizing patients’ health. The text of Grassley’s letter follows here.

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Showdown Looms in Congress Over Drug Advertising on TV

By Milt Freudenheim, The New York Times.

Drug advertising aimed at consumers, a fast-growing category that reached $4.5 billion last year, will face hard scrutiny in the new Congress, according to industry critics in both the House and Senate.

The consumer ads will be on the griddle early in this session at hearings on the user fees that manufacturers pay to speed the reviewing of new drugs by the Food and Drug Administration. The user fee law will die in the fall unless Congress acts to renew it.

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Parents Join State Legislators in Calling for Investigation into School Shootings and Psychiatric Drug Use

Patricia Weathers
(845) 677-8115

Sheila Matthews
National Vice President
(203) 966-8419

Three school shootings in the past week have left 11 dead and 29 wounded, prompting the Bush administration to call for a school violence summit with education and law enforcement officials to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath. Yet parents and legislators say that the government has consistently ignored the correlation between school shooters and psychiatric drug use and are likely to do so again at the upcoming summit.

Last year, following the Red Lake Minnesota school shootings and the revelation that the shooter Jeff Weise was under the influence of the antidepressant Prozac, a coalition of Tribal leaders and National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL) issued a joint resolution calling on Congress to fully investigate the correlation between psychiatric drug use and school shooters that had left 29 dead and 62 wounded. Ablechild also requested an investigation at that time.

The joint resolution called for such an investigation “to include all autopsies, toxicology reports, dosages of drugs that school shooters were either taking or withdrawing from, and testimony from medical experts who have exposed the dangers of these events”.

To date Congress has not acted upon this request. Nearly a year later, the Rocky Mountain News reported that Colorado school shooter Duane Morrison had an antidepressant in his car. Morrison took several girls hostage, killing one of them before committing suicide.

The evidence tying psychiatric drugs to acts of violence continues to mount; the FDA has warned that antidepressants can cause suicidal ideation, mania, and psychosis. The manufacturers of one antidepressant, Effexor, warn the drug can cause homicidal ideation. And earlier this month a study published in the Public Library of Science-Medicine journal found that the antidepressant Paxil raises the risk of violence. Though the study focuses specifically on Paxil, the researchers concluded that antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft most likely pose the same risk. Lead researcher of the study, Dr. David Healy, director of Cardiff’s University’s North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine stated, “We’ve got good evidence that the drugs can make people violent and you’d have to reason from that that there may be more episodes of violence.”, a national grassroots parent’s organization, calls on all concerned citizens to contact their federal representatives, urging them to conduct a full investigation into the link between the spate of school shootings and possible psychiatric drug use of the shooters. Furthermore, state officials must demand full toxicology reports on all three recent school shooters to determine psychiatric drug usage or withdrawal. The victim’s families and the public at large deserve no less.