Fwd: DENDRITE: NY Times pushes forced drugging

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 17:34:33 PDT


----Original Message Follows----
From: "David Oaks - Support Coalition International" <dendron@efn.org>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: DENDRITE: NY Times pushes forced drugging
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:09:13 -0500 (CDT)

DENDRITE ALERT -- April 13, 1999
Copy/post to appropriate places on & off Internet.
Win human rights in the "mental health system."
Support Coalition International.
web: www.efn.org/~dendron e-mail: dendron@efn.org
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     NO SURPRISE:
     CORPORATE MEDIA ACT AS CHEERLEADER FOR
     PSYCHIATRIC DRUG INDUSTRY.

     EDITORIAL BY _THE NEW YORK TIMES_ PUSHES
     FORCED OUTPATIENT PSYCHIATRIC DRUGGING.

     ACT NOW! OPPOSE THE GOVERNMENT FORCING
     BRAIN DAMAGING DRUGS INTO YOUR OWN HOME!

     E-MAIL YOUR LETTER TO THE EDITOR
     OF _THE NEW YORK TIMES_ TODAY!

_The New York Times_ endorsed court-ordered involuntary
psychiatric drugging of people living out in the
community, even in their own homes (4/11/99).

You can oppose forced drugs now by e-mailing to them at
letters@nytimes.com or faxing to (212) 556-3622. Keep
your letter below 400 words. Include your postal
mailing address and phone for confirmation.

You may "blind copy" your response to Support Coalition
for possible posting on the web at: dendron@efn.org

Below is a sample response from Support Coalition.

AT BOTTOM is a copy of _The New York Times_ editorial.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From: Support Coalition International <dendron@efn.org>
To: letters@nytimes.com
Subject: Letter to Editor of _The New York Times_
Date: Tue, Apr 13, 1999, 10:51 AM

Dear Editor:

Forcing citizens to take powerful psychiatric drugs
against their expressed wishes, even while they are
living out in the community in the supposed sanctity of
their own homes, is a profound violation of core
American values of freedom and independence.

Your editorial (Sun. 4/11/99) endorsing court-ordered
outpatient psychiatric drugging, no doubt gave comfort
to the pharmaceutical industry, but what about those
impacted by such authoritarian laws? Our organization
of 70 advocacy groups is led by survivors of human
rights violations in the "mental health system"; we
unanimously condemn the quiet rise of this chemical
crusade.

Organizations representing the disabled, homeless and
people of color are finally joining with us to resist
the pharmaceutical fundamentalists. After all, studies
indicate African Americans are far more likely to be on
the receiving end of longer-lasting, higher-dose
neuroleptic psychiatric drugs, especially in emergency
settings. [1,2]

Involuntary outpatient commitment laws transform our
members' homes into wards, their neighborhoods into
institutions. While many of our members choose to take
prescribed psychiatric drugs, others have very good
reasons for "just saying no." For example, researchers
have shown that long term use of neuroleptics is
linked to changes in the size and shape of the brain
that are visible under CT and MRI scans.[3,4]
Neuroleptic-induced brain changes can result in even
worse emotional and mental problems than the subject
originally had.

We wish creating a more peaceful, caring, sane society
was as easy as handing out soma, or sprinkling pixie
dust for that matter. But, no, real social change will
take hard work and perhaps even some discomfort among
the establishment. This may be why _The New York Times_
editorial board would prefer any other alternative to
actually addressing underlying issues -- even an
alternative that is as taxpayer-draining,
liberty-crushing, and brain-damaging as forcing drugs
into our communities.

Readers of _The New York Times_ deserve to know about
more humane and empowering options -- such as peer
mutual support and housing programs -- which are
working right now in a cost-effective and sustainable
way for people in crisis.

Sincerely,

David Oaks, co-coordinator
Support Coalition International
454 Willamette, Suite 216
PO Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

Phone: (541) 345-9106
Fax: (541) 345-3737
E-mail: dendron@efn.org
Web: www.efn.org/~dendron

Notes:

1: American Psychiatric Association: _Psychiatric
Services_ 3/96

2: American Psychiatric Association: _Hospital &
Community Services_ 1/94.

3: American Psychiatric Association: "Subcortical MRI
Volumes in Neuroleptic-Naive and Treated Patients with
Schizophrenia"; by Raquel E. Gur, M.D., Ph.D., Veda
Maany, B.A., P. David Mozley, M.D., Charlie Swanson,
M.D., Warren Bilker, Ph.D. and Ruben C. Gur, Ph.D.
American Journal of Psychiatry, December 1998.

4: The Lancet: "Neuroleptics in progressive structural
brain abnormalities in psychiatric illness"; by Al
Madsen, N Keiding, A Karle, S Esbjerg, R Hemmingsen;
Sept 5, 1998 v352 n9130 p784(1).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL ENDORSING FORCED DRUGS:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MEDICATING THE MENTALLY ILL

Opinion by The New York Times Editorial Board

Sunday, April 11, 1999, Week In Review, Page 16

Respond:  e-mail: letters@nytimes.com
          fax: 212/556-3622

Since last January, when Kendra Webdale was pushed in
front of a Manhattan subway train by a man with a
history of mental problems, politicians in Albany have
been debating whether to make it easier to force people
with mental illness to take their medication.  Andrew
Goldstein, the man accused of shoving Ms. Webdale to
her death, had been repeatedly hospitalized for
schizophrenia, but seemed to have a pattern of dropping
out of his treatment programs and neglecting to take
his medicine.

Now Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has proposed
legislation that would make it possible for courts to
order some of the mentally ill to follow their
outpatient treatment programs or face
institutionalization.   Proposing a new law in the wake
of a widely publicized tragedy is such a knee-jerk
reaction for politicians that Mr. Spitzer's bill
deserves special scrutiny.  But the idea has real
merit.

The bill would apply only to people who have been
hospitalized due to a failure to follow a treatment
program.  When such patients are released, hospitals or
caregivers could apply to the court for a special order
requiring that they take their medication and follow
their outpatient program.  Petitioners would have to
demonstrate that the patients' history showed a
particular danger that they would fail to take care of
themselves, and that their conditions were serious
enough to justify court supervision.  If patients
ignore an order and failed to take medication,
caregivers could ask that they be recommitted to the
hospital for re-evaluation.

Civil libertarians worry that such a law could be used
to force medication or commitment on someone with
borderline mental problems.  Mr. Spitzer and the
Legislature must be sensitve to those concerns.  But
they must also listen to families of the mentally ill
who too often see their loved ones' refusal to take
medication lead to recurrent psychotic symptoms.  The
result of that sort of tailspin is seldom the kind of
violence that led to the Webdale tragedy.  But it
almost always takes a terrible toll on the patient, the
family and the community.  That was just the pattern
described last week by parents of a man shot while
brandishing a sword on a commuter train.  He had been
repeatedly treated for mental problems but failed to
follow through on his outpatient care.  If the
legislature can make it easier to avoid these crises,
it should act promptly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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non-profit federation of 70 groups in 11 countries
united to WIN campaigns for human rights in
the "mental health system." For info on Support
Coalition, see the web site: www.efn.org/~dendron

DID YOU SEE DENDRON YET? _Dendron News_ #41 has
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