Inquest hears of teenager's SSRI use

July 15th, 2005 | News Archive

CBC News

A coroner’s inquest in Fredericton was told Tuesday that a 16-year-old foster child may have stopped taking an anti-depressant medication just weeks before she killed herself in November 2003. The year after Heather White’s death, Health Canada issued a warning about the class of drug Heather’s family doctor had been prescribed to deal with her depression. She was taking a medication called Celexa, a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI).

INDEPTH: Depression medications

The warnings advised doctors to carefully monitor patients of all ages for suicidal thoughts, especially in the early stages of taking SSRIs. Health Canada also warned patients to tell their doctors before changing the dosage or stopping the medication entirely.

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Sainsbury Backs Tom Cruise

July 15th, 2005 | News Archive

John Mappin, United Newspapers

(PRWEB) July 15, 2005 — Following Tom Cruise’s campaign over the past two weeks, Sebastian Sainsbury of the prestigious Sainsbury family issues a strong warning in Britain and an alert to all UK parents.

Speaking to United National Newspapers today, Sebastian Sainsbury stated the following this morning.

“As a parent of two young children, I hold an inherently responsible position for the welfare of my children. Following some of the recent media and speaking with other parents, I feel the need to extend that responsibility to encompass a wider sphere by informing parents of a situation that could potentially affect all children.”

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Family Advocate Opposes Illinois' Plan for Mandatory Mental Health Screening

July 12th, 2005 | News Archive

By Jim Brown, AgapePress

An Illinois pro-family activist is urging parents to find out what stage their state is at in implementing President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health — and to strongly oppose the plan.

On June 30, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich received a final proposal from the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership. Two years ago, the state Legislature charged the Partnership with crafting a plan to reform Illinois’ mental health system. The plan calls for the screening of all Illinois children ages zero to 18 and pregnant women for mental health problems.

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What’s 'Good for You' Often Ends Up Being Bad

July 12th, 2005 | News Archive

Nearly One-Third of Initial Medical Studies Misleading, Major Review Finds

The Associated Press

CHICAGO – Here’s some medical news you can trust: A new study confirms that what doctors once said was good for you often turns out to be bad — or at least not as great as initially thought.

The report is a review of major studies published in three influential medical journals between 1990 and 2003, including 45 highly publicized studies that initially claimed a drug or other treatment worked.

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GUEST OPINION: Universal Mental Health Screenings: A Call to Rally

July 27th, 2004 | News Archive

By Penny Pullen, former state rep and President of Eagle Forum of IL.

OPINION — A recent letter-to-the-editor writer first asked how such an invasive law as Illinois’ new universal mental health screening atrocity could be passed, and then answered, essentially, that anything can pass any time if it’s characterized as being “for children.”

This may be true today, sad to say, but once upon a time, it was not. And so, I’m not so sure it is true.

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50,000 Children Taking Antidepressants

September 20th, 2003 | News Archive

Sarah Boseley, Health Editor, The Guardian

· Drug withdrawn over fears it made youngsters want to kill themselves
· New questions for pharmaceutical firms

An antidepressant which GPs have been prescribing to thousands of children, in spite of the fact that it is not recommended for their use, can cause youngsters to want to kill themselves, the government’s regulatory agency warned yesterday. Read more…

Father whose son died due to coerced psychiatric drugging in school, testifies in support of Michigan House Bill 4025

March 25th, 2003 | Press Releases

“My son’s death should urge lawmakers to support informed consent and the right to refuse the coerced psychiatric drugging of children in our public schools.”

On March 21, 2000, Matthew Smith, 14, died from a heart attack while skateboarding. The coroner determined his death was caused by the long-term use of the stimulant forcibly prescribed to him through the school.

“It all started for Matthew in the first grade, when the school social worker kept calling us in for meetings, complaining that Matthew was ‘fidgeting’ and ‘easily distracted,’ said Lawrence Smith. “She told my wife and I that if we wouldn’t consider drugging our son, after the school had diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), that we could be charged for neglecting his educational and emotional needs.” After also being told that the stimulant was safe and effective, the Smiths acceded to the pressure.

On March 25th 2003, Mr. Smith testified before the Michigan State Legislature in support of House Bill 4025, which would prohibit school personnel from making a psychological diagnosis of a child and would also prohibit school personnel from recommending psychotropic drugs for any child.

Smith states, “The violation of parents’ rights occurs when they are not informed about the unscientific nature of so-called disorders such as ADHD or the risks of the drugs prescribed to treat their children. Not one more family should have to undergo the tragedy that mine has suffered, due to schools coercing parents to drug their child.”

“If we hadn’t been pressured by the school system, Matthew would still be alive today,” says Mr. Smith. “I cannot go back and change things for us at this point. However, I can speak out against the injustice to my family and families across the nation who are being coerced into drugging their children, in the hopes that legislators will enact safeguards for parents rights.”

Reports of parents being threatened with medical neglect or child expulsion, have prompted several states to enact state laws prohibiting school personnel from recommending drugs and reinforcing a parents right to refuse drug treatment. Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and Virginia have passed such laws over the past two years. Since 2003, 15 more states have introduced similar laws, including Hawaii, Texas, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Vermont and West Virginia.

A federal bill, “The Child Medication and Safety Act,” has also been introduced in Congress.

Lawrence Smith can be contacted at

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