Ablechild Submits Legislative Requests in Public Safety and Security Committee

February 16th, 2014 | Breaking News, Legislation Alerts

Ablechild Submits Legislative Requests in Public Safety and Security Committee

In response to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s announced funding in the state’s mental health budget, Ablechild has introduce two pieces of legislation with the Public Safety and Security Committee, that would provide informed consent and consumer access to the FDA’s MedWatch adverse drug event reporting system.

It is no secret that prescription mind-altering drugs are linked to a number of violent incidents across the country. It also is no secret that the use of psychiatric drugs is increasing at startling rates. For example, currently 70 million Americans (one in five) is taking a mind-altering drug.

In 2010, alone, more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written for Americans and ten percent of high school children are prescribed prescription psychiatric drugs to “treat” ADHD. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that there is a greater risk posed by prescription drugs than illicit substances.

As is well known, Ablechild sued the State to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records and toxicology report in order to learn whether Lanza had been prescribed psychiatric drugs and whether those drugs may have played a role in his violent behavior.

Although the state refused to make public Lanza’s mental health records and complete toxicology report, what is known is that Lanza had at least been prescribed the antidepressant, Celexa, in 2007. Immediately after taking the Celexa, Nancy Lanza reported to the Yale Child Studies Center that she believed Adam was having an adverse reaction to the drug.

Despite Nancy Lanza’s concerns about the drug, mental health practitioners at Yale did not make Lanza aware of the FDA’s MedWatch System in order that she could report the adverse event, nor is there any information provided in the State Police Report of the shooting that Yale made any effort to report the adverse event to the FDA.

Ablechild has submitted to the Public Safety and Security Committee an amendment to Raised S.B. 98 to include training of the MedWatch System to security personnel. The amendment would make it mandatory to provide verbal and written information to parents of children who are flagged in the drug detection and gang identification process.

Ablechild’s second legislative request to the Public Safety and Security Committee is to make February 14th of each year MedWatch Awareness Day, which would acknowledge the important role the MedWatch System plays in protecting the health and well-being of the State’s consumers.

“Both of these legislative measures,” said Ablechild co-founder, Sheila Matthews, “are an important part of informed consent.  This is about public safety, and it’s about making sure that parents know that they can directly report adverse drug events to the FDA. The system is completely private and there is no cost associated with it.”

“Less than one percent of the actual adverse drug events are reported to the FDA,” explained Matthews “because people are not aware that the system exists.” “These legislative initiatives,” said Matthews, “would be a great help to Connecticut consumers and, ultimately, help the FDA decided when action needs to be taken on a drug.”

Both legislative requests have been sent to the Public Safety and Security Committee and Ablechild looks forward to the upcoming public hearings to gain support for the measures.

 

 

Is Lanza’s Psychiatrist’s Drugging Indicative of Connecticut’s Mental Health Services?

February 6th, 2014 | Breaking News

Is Lanza’s Psychiatrist’s Drugging Indicative of Connecticut’s Mental Health Services?

In today’s Connecticut News Times there was a brief article spelling out the State’s legislative agenda, including efforts to block the right of the public to have access to information on homicides.  This legislative measure is in response to the State’s continued unwillingness to make public the mental health records of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza.

The obvious point of having public disclosure of Lanza’s mental health records is two-fold. First, it is important to know whether Lanza was prescribed any psychiatric mind-altering drugs that may have played a part in his violent behavior. The disclosure of these records also is necessary in order for lawmakers to make informed decisions about costly, mental health legislation.

Ablechild has, for more than a year, used every legal means available in order to persuade the State to release Lanza’s mental health records.  Apparently, the State is using Lanza as the backbone of enormous legislative efforts to increase mental health funding and services within the State, yet there is no evidence that Lanza used any State mental health services.  All available information reveals that Lanza’s mental health was paid for by private insurance.

Based on the State Police Report, no mental health records are available for Lanza after 2007 when he was 15-years old.  Additionally, Lanza’s apparent primary psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, surrendered his license in June of 2012, destroyed his patient records and move to New Zealand, making it impossible to obtain Lanza’s mental health records from the primary source.

Whether Lanza had been prescribed psychiatric mind-altering drugs is extremely relevant to understanding his uncharacteristic violent behavior.  Furthermore, it is important to remember that Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, during the Ablechild FOIA hearing, revealed that the reason for not divulging the identity of the antidepressants he (Lanza) was taking was because it would “cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Based on this information, it certainly seems that Lanza had been prescribed, at a minimum, antidepressants. However, Ablechild has been contacted by a mother whose young son also had been a patient of Dr. Paul Fox and, based on this child’s medication record, one could easily question whether Lanza’s mental health “treatment” included just antidepressants.

For example, this unidentified ten-year old child began receiving “treatment” from Dr. Fox in 1998 for an apparent diagnosis of Asperger’s and, from what has been made public, Lanza also was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of five or six.

Between January 1998 and March of 1999 (14 months), Dr. Fox prescribed to the unidentified ten-year old the following antidepressants: Celexa, Remeron, Effexor and Wellbutrin.  Additionally, Fox prescribed Neurontin, an Antiepileptic; Buspar, an Antianxiety; Zyprexa, an Antipsychotic; and Adderall, an Amphetamine.

recordsRecord2

As if prescribing eight mind-altering drugs to a ten-year old during a 14 month period isn’t outrageous enough, Dr. Fox prescribed these drugs as cocktails.  The safety and efficacy for all of these drugs have not been established for pediatric use, nor are there any clinical trials showing safety and efficacy for pediatric use in any of these drug cocktail combinations.  The majority of clinical trials last a few weeks or months. In other words, Dr. Fox doesn’t know how these drugs adversely affect a child’s developing brain when prescribed in combination, let alone singularly.

One daily drug regimen for the unidentified ten-year old includes the following:

8AM        1 Celexa (20mg)

4pm        1 Neurontin (300mg)

6PM        2 Buspar (15mg) each

8PM        1 Neurontin (300mg)

10PM     1 or 1/2 Remeron (15mg) if trouble sleeping.

Dr. Fox’s drug “treatment” regimen seems more in line with a chemical lobotomy, especially in light of the patient’s age.  But there also is the added concern of adverse reactions associated with the mind-altering drugs prescribed.

For example, each of the Antidepressants carry the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Black Box Warning.  This is the federal agency’s most serious warning, which includes increased suicidal thinking and suicidality.  More importantly, all of the Antidepressant drugs listed report adverse reactions such as “mood and behavior changes, anxiety, agitated, hostile, aggressive and hallucinations” to name a few.

Recall that Adam Lanza received the same diagnosis as our unidentified ten-year old. Is it possible that Dr. Fox chose a similar, or worse, drug “treatment” regimen for Adam Lanza?   Who knows? The State of Connecticut apparently doesn’t want the public to know and is doing everything legally and legislatively possible to block access to Lanza’s mental health records.

After reading the list of mind-altering drugs prescribed to our ten-year old unidentified child, the State should be asking Dr. Fox some serious questions. And rather than spending so much time and effort trying to convince the people of Connecticut that increased mental health (which equates to increased drugging) is the answer to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to investigate the outrageous psychiatric drugging of the state’s children?

If Dr. Fox’s drug “treatment” regimen is indicative of the type of mental health being provided by the State of Connecticut, increasing services does not bode well for its children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will The Governor Include MedWatch Training To Proposed Mental Health Initiatives?

January 27th, 2014 | Press Releases

Will The Governor Include MedWatch Training To Proposed Mental Health Initiatives?

Sandy Hook Shooter Proves Need For Inclusion

In an apparent response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Connecticut Governor, Dannel P. Malloy, has announced increased funding in the state’s mental health budget. Why?

If shooter, Adam Lanza, had been a product of the state mental health system there may be some evidence to back up such broad changes, and this increased spending may make sense. But, to date, there is no evidence that Lanza received any state mental health assistance.

In fact, based on what little information has been made public about Lanza’s mental health treatment, it appears that, beyond school recommendations to the family, the father’s private insurance was used and the family did not depend on state sponsored benefits.

Of course, the last publically known mental health treatment Lanza received was from the Yale Child Study Center, which, oddly enough, provided information to investigators about an adverse drug event Lanza was experiencing from the prescribed antidepressant, Celexa.

According to the State Police investigation of the shooting, Yale Child Study Center Registered Nurse, Kathleen Koenig, prescribed Celexa to Lanza and was “immediately” contacted by Nancy Lanza, who reported that her son was “unable to raise his arm.”

Did Koenig recommend discontinuation of the antidepressant?  No. In fact, Koenig told police investigators that she tried to “convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing any purported symptoms which Adam might be experiencing.”

Koenig’s response seems questionable.  First it is important to point out that Celexa has not been approved for use by children, so the prescription was written “off-label” when Adam was 15 years old.  More importantly, though, the “serious side effects” include: “call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as: very stiff (rigid) muscles.”

To the layman, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Lanza, unable to lift his arm, may have been experiencing one of the serious side effects of the antidepressant.  In fact, a quick perusal of the internet reveals many reports of similar complaints associated with Celexa.

Is it possible that Koenig was unaware of the specific side effects associated with Celexa?  Did Koenig review the possible adverse side effects of Celexa before providing her medical advice?

Koenig further reports to investigators that “Nancy Lanza was not receptive to Koenig’s reasoning,” and that Nancy Lanza “missed at least one scheduled appointment…and failed to schedule subsequent appointments for Lanza.”

Again, given Koenig’s response to Nancy Lanza regarding what very likely could be a serious adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, is it so tough to understand why Nancy Lanza decided to end her son’s relationship with the Yale Child Study Center?”

It is interesting to note, however, that investigators do not mention whether Koenig reported this adverse drug event to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch System. Nor do investigators mention whether Koenig advised Nancy Lanza that she could report the adverse event to the FDA herself.

Ablechild believes that the MedWatch System is an important, no-cost, tool that is necessary for the FDA to make safety recommendations and post warnings to consumers about drugs. In an effort to provide consumers with this important information, Ablechild is lobbying State lawmakers in an effort to have information about the MedWatch System made part of any new mental health training among educators and mental health care workers.

Given that the Yale Child Study Center receives state mental health funding, it seems appropriate that Governor Malloy might consider it important for organizations, such as the Yale Child Study Center, be made aware of the availability to consumers about the MedWatch System.

It’s only speculation, but it would appear that Nancy Lanza’s reporting of the adverse drug event her son was experiencing was a perfect time for an organization, such as Yale Child Study Center, to take advantage of the FDA’s MedWatch System.

 

 

 

 

The Hunt For Lanza’s Mental Health Records Becomes Embarrassing For the State

January 24th, 2014 | Breaking News

The Hunt For Lanza’s Mental Health Records Becomes Embarrassing For the State

According to media reports today, Peter Lanza, father of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, has had a conversation with the Chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, Scott Jackson, regarding Lanza’s willingness to provide the much needed and, frankly, necessary mental health records of his son.

Oddly enough, it appears that Lanza is the only person who truly understands how important this information is and relayed through Jackson that “he (Lanza) believes that retroactive psychoanalysis is fraught with danger.”

In other words, any psychological autopsy done without having all his son’s medical/mental health  information is nothing but speculation and certainly not worthy of building recommendations for sweeping changes within Connecticut’s mental health services programs.

The joke is that Lanza gave up these records to the police immediately following the shooting and this is reported in the State Police Report. Not only did the police have the information, so did the FBI and the state’s attorney, Stephen Sedensky.

Additionally, medical/mental health records were taken from Nancy Lanza’s home immediately after the shooting. Clearly, it is no secret that investigators have these records. Why then hasn’t the commission requested the records from the investigative bodies?

It is incomprehensible to think that Jackson is forced to go begging to the father of the shooter for these records when they were in the hands of the investigators almost immediately.

More distressing is that fact that the state’s attorney knows much more than has been released. Recall that as a result of Ablechild’s law suit to obtain Lanza’s mental health/full toxicology records, we were told by the State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, that the reason for not releasing Lanza’s medical records was because it would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Where did Kwanashie get that information?  What medications would people “stop taking” if Lanza’s records were made public?  And, in fact, is it because of the medications that Lanza had been prescribed that there appears to be an effort to suppress this information?

Furthermore, recall that the state Office of the Child Advocate was tasked with investigating the deaths at Sandy Hook and requested “any and all records, and all communications Newtown School personnel and any and all entities.”  After having issued a subpoena to obtain those records, there is no follow-up as to whether the Office of the Child Advocate ever got them.  But, it is one more avenue that the commission may take advantage of.

What is certain is that at least the last five years of Lanza’s mental health records are unaccounted for and they are absolutely necessary if the commission is to make any recommendations about the State’s mental health care system.

What also is certain is that the “hunt” for Adam Lanza’s mental health records is becoming embarrassing.  Ablechild would suggest that the commission talk to the investigative bodies, Dr. Robert King of the Yale Child Study Center, Dr. Paul Fox, the Office of the Child Advocate, and the Assistant Attorney General, Patrick Kwanashie.  The records exist. Finding out why they are being treated as a “State Secret” is another matter.

Foster Care in Connecticut Conflicts of Interest

January 22nd, 2014 | Press Releases

Foster Care in Connecticut and Conflicts of Interest

Today the  Connecticut Mirror ran an article that for any eight grader would be confusing. Supposedly, the State Department of Children and Family Services, DCF, isn’t meeting federal standards when it comes to the State’s Foster Care System.

However, beneath the service what the story really appears to be is special interest groups looking for increased funding, specifically mental health funding.

Interestingly, in 2011 Ablechild wrote about the conflicts of interest that permeate the Foster Care system and, again, these same special interests are rearing their ugly heads in search increased mental health funding.

Worse, it appears that these special interest groups are jumping on the Sandy Hook mental health gravy train. As is well known, in the wake of Sandy Hook, the State will be considering increased funding for increased mental health services for the state.

Although the federal monitor believed that “system-level problems persist” in the State’s Foster Care system, Ablechild finds it odd that despite a decrease in the number of children in the state’s Foster Care system, and praise from the Department of Health and Human Services, federal agency that oversees Foster Care, that there is now a huge push for increased funding.

Regardless of what strides have been made in the State’s Foster Care system, it appears that the vast majority of funds that may be appropriated most certainly will be for additional mental health services.

Ablechild agrees with Raymond Mancuso, the federal court monitor, when he said “the problem has intensified.”  But deferring to special interest groups with conflict of interest issues, and throwing money into increased mental health funding won’t address any of the stated problems within the system.

 

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

January 18th, 2014 | Breaking News

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

Today’s Hartford Courant reported two important pieces of information. First, Peter Lanza, apparently is willing “to turn over at least some of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s treatment records.” And, secondly, the Courant apparently interviewed Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, Chairman of the Yale Child Study Center.

While Ablechild earlier applauded Peter Lanza for his willingness to provide the all important information about his son’s mental health treatment, to learn now that only “some” of the records will be made available seems an enormous waste of time. Seriously, what good to anyone is a partial record of Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment?

In fact, the State Police Report of the shooting incident also provided only partial records of Lanza’s mental health treatment and now the Commission set up by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, to make recommendations about possible changes to the State’s mental health system, still is going to be left with partial information.

Recall that the State Police Report only provided spotty information about Lanza’s mental health treatment up to the age of 15, leaving out Lanza’s 2005 admission to the Danbury Hospital.  Five years, from age 15 to twenty, are missing. What happened to those records? Why didn’t investigators think those records would be important?

The last known treatment for Lanza was from the Yale Child Study Center, and that was not a positive outcome. Nancy Lanza reported to Yale that Adam was experiencing an adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, Celexa,  prescribed by Yale. Nancy Lanza apparently did not return to the Yale Child Study Center after that incident.

The point of the Commission contacting Peter Lanza was to get a complete picture in order to make informed decisions.  Now to learn that only “some” of the records will be provided leaves more questions than answers.  Is it possible that the Commission can make informed decisions based on partial records? No, of course not. So why the dog and pony show?

Furthermore,  one has to wonder why anyone from the Yale Child Study Center is involved in any part of this discussion.  Given that this outfit apparently provided the last known mental health treatment to Lanza, doesn’t this seem like a conflict of interest?

After all, according to the State Police Report, it was Dr. Robert A. King of the Yale Child Study Center who indicated “that serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) agents such as Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro or Paxil, are useful in reducing these symptoms, sometimes in conjunction with a low dose of an atypical neuroleptic such as Risperidone.”

This is the question. Was Adam Lanza prescribe drugs other Celexa by the Yale Child Study Center. More than that, during the course of Adam’s life, what psychiatric drugs was he prescribed?  What is known is that Adam was treated over many years, by many mental health care practitioners, for his disorders.

Adam’s primary psychiatrist was Dr. Paul Fox, who, in 2012, surrendered his license to practice in Connecticut and New York, destroyed his records and moved to New Zealand.  Clearly, Dr. Fox cannot provide the Commission with any records, which then puts greater burden on Peter Lanza.  Why?

The State Police Report lists medical records for Adam, which were taken from the Lanza home immediately after the shooting incident.  Is it possible that Nancy Lanza had in her possession no records for Adam’s mental health treatment for the last five years of his life?  Common sense says no.

Where are these records, and  why hasn’t the Commission contacted the State Police requesting all the records that were taken from the Lanza home?  One would think that Governor Malloy, if he’s serious about instituting new mental health regulations, would have some pull in this request.

With every new article written about the Commission’s efforts to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records, the story gets crazier. The Commission must be able to review all of Lanza’s mental health records or what’s the point?  It still is only a partial picture. Making recommendations based on “some” of Lanza’s mental health records isn’t serving the State.

 

 

 

Lanza’s Medical Records Too Many Unanswered Questions

January 11th, 2014 | Breaking News

Lanza’s Medical Records Too Many Unanswered Questions

The Hartford Courant reported today that the father of the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, is willing to release his son’s medical records to the Commission tasked with making possible changes to the State’s mental health services.

While Ablechild applauds Peter Lanza’s willingness to assist the State, the offer, and reporting of it by The Courant, raises important questions.  It also, unfortunately, reveals big, Grand Canyon size, holes in the official investigations.

As is well known, Ablechild spent the last year mired in State stall tactics in response to the organization’s request for Adam Lanza’s medical/mental health/toxicology records, which are key to understanding the motive for the tragic assault at Sandy Hook, and also whether any changes need to be made to the State’s mental health services.

The result of Ablechild’s exhaustive efforts was the State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, explaining that the reason for withholding Lanza’s medical records was because it would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.

Really, which “medications?”  Clearly, the State has information, and great concerns, about medications Lanza had been taking. Why else would the Assistant Attorney General make such an astonishing statement?

Ablechild publicly released this information, as did other news organizations. However, despite what can be called extensive coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting incident and its aftermath by The Courant, the news organization apparently did not find the information important enough to report it to its readers, let alone do any follow-up.

This is odd given The Courant’s inside knowledge of Lanza’s medical records.  In June of 2013, six months after the shooting incident at Sandy Hook, (about the same time Ablechild began making official requests for Lanza’s records) The Courant ran a piece title, Adam Lanza’s Medical Records Reveal Growing Anxiety.

According to the article, “The Courant obtained exclusive information from medical and school records that have for months been kept secret by agencies investigating the shootings.  The documents span Lanza’s life from birth to age 18, including a September 2005 medical summary of the Danbury Hospital emergency room visit.”

The Courant’s admission of having inside information about Lanza’s medical records is extremely important now that both the State’s Attorney General and State Police have issued their respective reports on the shooting incident.

Most important is the fact that neither of the official reports mention Lanza’s 2005 Danbury Hospital emergency room visit, leaving one to question why this particular information would be left out of official investigative reports, especially in light of the fact that The Courant already had made it public.

In fact, no medical/mental health information about Lanza is provided in either report after 2007, when Adam would have been fifteen years old. The last acknowledged mental health treatment was provided by the Yale Child Studies Center when Adam was fifteen years old, abruptly ending in February of 2007. Apparently, Nancy Lanza had reported to Kathleen Koenig that there had been an adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, Celexa, Adam had been prescribed by the Yale Center.

Neither of the investigative reports mention any mental health treatment after this Yale incident for the five years leading up to the shooting.

Having announced that the newspaper was in possession of Lanza’s medical records until the age of 18, the question, then, is what additional information does The Courant have regarding Lanza’s medical/mental health treatment?  The Courant reports to having three years of information beyond what has been made available by the official investigations.

Furthermore, according to the same article in The Courant, it “obtained exclusive information from medical and school records that have for months been kept secret by agencies investigating the shootings.”   The Courant appears to be reporting that the investigative agencies were in possession of this “secret” medical information but, apparently, failed to make it part of either investigation? Why?

Beyond what, if any, additional information The Courant may be able to provide about Lanza’s mental health treatment, one also has to wonder why the Commission is left begging the father of the shooter for information that should have been made public as part of the investigation.

Certainly, one would expect that, in order to form a legitimate, informed, opinion about what may have been the motive for the attack, both of the official investigations would have requested and then were provided all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records. One might assume this information is the “secret” records that The Courant reported.

And, in fact, both of the investigative reports reveal that medical/mental health records were obtained from the Lanza home and also from Peter Lanza directly after the incident.

Why, then, is this State sponsored Commission getting the run-around?  Either both official investigative teams asked for, and received, all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records, or they didn’t.  Has the Commission even asked this question?  Has The Courant asked the question?

Additionally, Ablechild spent three full days reviewing every single sheet of paper made available in the State Police Report. Yes, it was frustrating.  Due to the extensive duplication of documents and heavy redactions, the report provided little in the way of answers, but nothing so difficult as to require the assistance of a law firm.

More to the point, the law firm that apparently is tasked with making sense of the documents for the Commission, very likely could have a major conflict of interest.  According to the attorney for the Commission, Daniel J. Klau, his law firm, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, is working on the documents.

Klau’s law firm represents no less than 19 pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Novartis, Abbott and Johnson & Johnson.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume the Commission obtains all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records and they reveal that Lanza had been prescribed one or several drugs, including a drug produced by one of the pharmaceutical companies Klau and his law firm represent. That clearly would be a conflict of interest.  Will Klau (and his law firm) recuse himself?

In fact, because State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie has made it abundantly clear that “medications” are involved in this case, it would seem logical to request that the entire Commission disclose all personal and professional ties to the pharmaceutical industry and, if appropriate, remove themselves from the Commission.

Frankly, an investigation that provides no medical/mental health information about the last five years of the shooter’s life is embarrassing.

The fact that Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, Dr. Fox, destroyed his records and fled the country is, at best, suspicious.

That the official investigative reports did not make public Lanza’s medical/mental health records is a scandal.

The fact that the State created Commission, tasked with making recommendations about the future of State mental health services, is left relying on the shooter’s father for medical/mental health data, is also a scandal.

It is time for full disclosure in every aspect of this case and Adam Lanza’s medical/mental health/full toxicology reports must be made public.

The victims, their families, and the people of Connecticut deserve all the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor’s Newtown Panel Stymied by Lanza’s Missing Mental Health Records

January 6th, 2014 | Blog

Sandy Hook Advisory Committee Stymied by Lanza’s Missing
Mental Health Records

Say it isn’t so.  The Chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Committee, Scott Jackson, doesn’t have the medical/mental health records of Adam Lanza, which are necessary for his committee to make appropriate recommendations for changes to the State’s mental health system.

This is really old news to Ablechild.  Having spent nearly a year utilizing every legislative and legal avenue available to make public the toxicology, medical and mental health records of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, Ablechild was stymied by State officials at every step.

Yes, Ablechild is empathetic to the difficulties Jackson is having obtaining this important information, which is key to making – or not making – changes to the State’s mental health system.

Interestingly, Jackson has hired a law firm to comb through the thousands of pages released by the State Police. What law firm and at what cost to Connecticut taxpayers?  It only took Ablechild three days to review the redundant and heavily redacted documents within the State Police Report.  Nevertheless, Jackson apparently has read enough of the report to start asking questions.

According to Jackson, “one of the things that we really talked about quite a bit was that we need to understand the story of Adam Lanza and Nancy Lanza and we really don’t have it.” In particular, Jackson said “in order to understand how we got to where he was from a treatment standpoint, they’re going to need a little bit more.”

“A little bit more?”  With all due respect, the Committee needs more than a “little bit” of information.  Other than providing a few psychiatric diagnoses, and the mention of one psychiatric drug prescribed to Lanza, there are no specifics provided about the shooter’s mental health treatment.

In fact, it’s fair to say that more is known about the mental health records that were destroyed by Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, than what mental health treatment Lanza received.  Worse still, the last five years of Lanza’s mental health services is nonexistent.

According to the data provided by both the State Attorney’s office and the State Police Report- literally thousands of pages – there is zero mention of any mental health services provided to Lanza after 2007. Why?

And, with what little information is provided, why are physician treatment “summaries” provided in the recently released State Police Report?  Wouldn’t the actual comments of those psychiatrists treating Lanza be of more help to the Committee than a detective’s summation?

Dr. Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist and member of the Committee, understands the importance of hearing directly from the “horse’s mouth.”  “It’s better,” said Schwartz, “than nothing to have these summaries, but these summaries are not by clinical people.”

Schwartz opines that it may be necessary to contact the shooter’s father, Peter Lanza, to obtain the necessary records.  Why?  Wouldn’t the investigative bodies already have requested and obtained these records?  If not, it seems odd that both investigations would conclude they were unable to find a motive for the attack without first having considered Lanza’s complete mental health treatment record.

Additionally, in May of 2013, Peter Lanza signed a PeterLanzaConsent PeterLanzaConsent form allowing the State Medical Examiner to make public his son’s toxicology report.  Why, then, has the full toxicology report been withheld?

Furthermore, it may serve the Advisory Committee members well to speak with Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, who explained during the Ablechild Freedom of Information hearing that the reason for withholding Lanza’s toxicology report was because it “would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Sounds like Kwanashie has the inside track on Lanza’s mental health records.  But if that avenue fails to produce results, given that it was his idea to set up the Advisory Committee, perhaps Governor Malloy could pull some strings with his own agencies.

The bottom line is that without reviewing Lanza’s complete mental health record, there is no way the Advisory Committee can, or should, make any decisions about instituting changes to the State’s mental health services.

 

The Sandy Hook Investigation and the “YALE Folder.”

January 4th, 2014 | Blog

Since the mental health bombshell released last week by the Connecticut State Police that Adam Lanza’s psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, had destroyed Adam Lanza’s records, had sex with patients, and moved to New Zealand, additional questions about Lanza’s mental health treatment are surfacing.

Nancy Lanza had written an email to Dr. Fox on February 1, 2007, advising him that she wished Fox to “take the lead role” in treatment he would be receiving at the Yale Child Studies Center.

The State Police report reveals that the YALE Child Studies Center had evaluated and treated Lanza from October 2006-February 2007. Given that Lanza’s mental health records abruptly end in February of 2007- four months after beginning treatment with the Yale Child Studies Center- one has to wonder what happened.

More odd is that the treatment at Yale reportedly ended just six days after Nancy Lanza’s email to Fox, asking him to “take the lead.”

The last report from the Yale Child Studies Center in February 2007 was that Nancy Lanza had decided to discontinue the prescribed antidepressant, Celexa, as she believed Adam was experiencing an adverse reaction to the drug.

Is it possible that after more than ten years of seeking mental health assistance for Adam that Nancy Lanza decided to just stop, especially since by all accounts Lanza’s condition was getting worse, not better?

Other than prescribing mind-altering drugs, what other treatment did Lanza receive at the Yale Child Studies Center?  Was Lanza participating in a clinical study of some kind?

It’s difficult to know, as there simply is no information made available about Lanza’s mental health after his brief treatment at the Yale Child Studies Center.

Given Nancy Lanza’s documented devotion to obtaining mental health services for Adam, it seems bizarre that the State Police report fails to provide information about the last five years of mental health records.

In light of the article dated June 30, 2013 by The Hartford Currant, stating that the paper had access to Lanza’s medical records from birth to age 18, it becomes more curious that the official State Police report would fail to make these records public.

 

Presidential Executive Orders in Mental Health: A History of Failures

December 26th, 2013 | Breaking News

Numerous Presidential Executive orders and millions in appropriations for Mental Health in Connecticut have produced nothing but failure and may actually be harmful. Hundreds-of-millions more tax dollars have been promised with no hope of real change.   Despite the enormous amount of money being funneled into mental health, the big return seems to be little more than semantics – merely changing words rather than policy.

The State of Connecticut was one of 13 States to receive a federal “mental health transformation” grant under President Bush. The grant was issued as an executive order to “transform” the broken mental health system and was funded through 2010.  And, what was the return on the investment?  Connecticut suffers the largest mass murder/suicide in United States history within years of this “new improved mental health delivery system.”

Patricia Rehmer, the Commissioner of Mental Health in Connecticut, touts on her resume the fact she had oversight of the $13.7 million granted to Connecticut to then revamp the mental health delivery system.  Ablechild participated in all the committee hearings on that grant and called for disclosure to the consumer on the link between the increased risk of suicide, violence and psychiatric drugs.  Ablechild encouraged the State to educate the public on the MEDWATCH program, and to provide alternatives to psychiatric drugs and forced mental health services.  Ablechild also wrote to then Governor Rell requesting an accounting of how the funds were distributed and whether the public would be advised of the results. The Governor denied Ablechild’s request.

Despite tens-of-millions poured into the State’s mental health system with little or no accountability as to how those funds were spent, in the wake of Sandy Hook, President Obama has promised another $100 million thru an executive order to “make it easier to access mental health services.”  That’s great. But what happened to the $13.7 million from President Bush’s grant?

Are you doing the math?  Are you following the insane process?

On December 20, 2012, within weeks of the Sandy Hook shooting, Senator Scott Frantz stated on WCBS to Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau that mental health providers will get a “slight boost” in the wake of the shootings and will have no funding cuts despite the fact that, “it has not been determined if there was direct connection between that and the massacre.”

Recall that Lanza’s mental health, educational records, and full toxicology report are being withheld from the public by the state of Connecticut.

The push, apparently, is to use this $100 million dollars to improve access to mental health services. However, according to the Hartford Courant’s article of June 20, 2013, Adam Lanza’s Medical Records Reveal Growing Anxiety” Lanza did have access to mental health services for many years. Lanza had been “screened” and released as not being a harm to himself or others.

Ablechild is taking the lead in calling for Lanza’s records to be made public, which will be crucial during the upcoming Connecticut legislative session.  The goal is to protect public safety and stop the mismanagement of taxpayer funds.  Is the increased mental health helping or hurting the public? Not everyone is convinced that more money spent on mental health access will have a positive effect – at least, to date, the State cannot prove that the tens-of-millions spent so far has shown any improvement.

For example, Dr. Hank Schwarts, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Institute of Living in Hartford said in regard to mental health issues, “to write a report now, with what we have, would almost be embarrassing.”http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-state-police-drag-feet-on-newtown-report-20131224,0,6056179.story

 

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