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Home > Research Articles > CCHR Testifies Before Presidential Commission On Safety Of Children Under Psychiatric Care

U.S. Newswire

Saturday, November 16, 2002

CCHR Testifies Before Presidential Commission On Safety Of Children Under Psychiatric Care Wed Nov 13, 2:06 PM ET To: National Desk, Health Reporter Contact: Marla Filidei, V.P. of CCHR International, 800-869-2247 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 /U.S. Newswire/

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an international mental health watchdog, testified today before the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health at the Meridian Hotel in Beverly Hills, warning that any recommendations for greater and earlier psychiatric intervention in children's lives, could be a death sentence for hundreds of them.

Bruce Wiseman, the U.S. president of CCHR told the commission, "No longer is it a question of whether children die from psychiatric treatments, but rather whose child will be next. Despite President Clinton (news - web sites) passing regulations in 1999 to protect against restraint procedures in psychiatric facilities, at least nine more youths have died from suffocation or cardiac arrest while psychiatric staff viciously held them on the floor. The youngest was nine-years-old."

Last month, 17-year-old Charles Chase Moody suffocated, investigators say, after being physically restrained by staff members of the Brown Schools behavioral treatment facility in Mason County, Texas -- the fifth death in this chain of facilities since 1998.

Additionally, in the last two years, at least four children have died from cardiac problems caused by psychotropic drugs or from the toxic reactions from their over-prescription. The youngest was aged seven.

Mrs. Vicky Dunkle of Pennsylvania, whose 10-year-old daughter, Shaina, died of the toxic effects of a prescribed adult-dose of a psychotropic drug, still lives the nightmare of February 26, 2001, when Shaina suffered a seizure and died in her arms: "Shaina looked into my eyes as her life ended and I could do nothing to save her."

According to Mr. Wiseman, "It seems that many in our mental health system are unaware that parents looking for help do not expect their children to be harmed during the course of psychiatric 'treatment,' let alone killed."

He presented commission members with CCHR's latest report, "The Silent Death of America's Children," which details a litany of needless and tragic child deaths in the mental health system, as well as recommendations he urged the commission to adopt.

On April 7, 2000, 16-year-old Cecil Reed suffered a massive, fatal heart attack while swimming at the Bronx Children's Psychiatric Center in New York. A cocktail of four prescribed psychiatric drugs triggered the attack. Cecil's father had repeatedly tried to get the hospital to stop drugging his son, after his son pleaded, "Daddy, I don't want to take medicine anymore. They are just using me as a guinea pig."

The same year, while skateboarding, 14-year-old Matthew Smith from Michigan died suddenly from a heart attack. The coroner determined that Matthew's heart showed clear signs of the small blood vessel damage caused by stimulant drugs like amphetamines, and concluded that he had died from the long-term use of the prescribed stimulant.

The "quick fix" drug mentality has spawned a lucrative industry where more than 20 million prescriptions for stimulants are written in the United States each year. In 2000, the sales of two of these stimulants reached $348.5 million. Suicide is the major complication of withdrawal from certain stimulants and amphetamine-like drugs.

Says Mr. Wiseman, "While there are those who have testified before the commission that the mental health system is dysfunctional and merely requires a massive injection of funds and better organization, this is a blinkered assessment. It is absolutely vital that any assessment of the effectiveness of our mental health system or its funding, consider the atrocious record of abuse, fraud and death that now characterizes mental treatment of our children."

"The bottom line is that, rather than an enlightened and compassionate mental health system attending to the needs of our young, we have a dangerous and coercive system that stands impassive, not only in the face of repeated failures, but, unbelievably, child death due to treatment.

"It is the duty and right of parents to protect their children from further harm. It is the duty of the government to support them in this."

------ CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and has been responsible for more than a 100 legislative reforms that now provide rights and protections in the mental health industry. For more information log onto http://www.fightforkids.com. Call CCHR's toll free number, 1 800 869 2247 for a copy of "The Silent Death of America's Children."


-0- /© 2002 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/