AbleChild Participates in Gun Violence Roundtable in Bridgeport, Connecticut

July 1st, 2015 | Press Releases

On June 29, 2015, AbleChild was one of two organizations that participated in an important Roundtable on gun violence, held in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Mayor Bill Finch, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Bridgeport Police Chief, Joseph Gaudett Jr., hosted the event in response to yet another community rocked by an attempted mass killing in Bridgeport, Connecticut that took the life of one and injured eight others.

Kenny Jackson of Street Safe, an organization that mentors young people, told the group, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” referring to Senator Blumenthal’s attempt to sue gun manufacturers, go after the NRA, and ban “illegal” weapons.  Jackson illustrated that it is the human element that his organization’s mission focuses on, including increased parental involvement and mentoring programs.

Jackson introduced several of his staff members who shared their stories about their own journeys through the criminal justice system. AbleChild is in agreement with one of the member’s experiences with a child he mentored in the Bridgeport public school system. The Street Safe member said the student was misdiagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, ADHD, and thought there was great need for increase numbers of parent advocates for families meeting in Individual Education Plans (IEP).

Mayor Finch indicated that over-diagnosing may be due to “cultural differences” and that this was not the first time he had heard of psychiatric misdiagnosing.  AbleChild believes over-diagnosing is the product of mass marketing of psychiatric drugs and the lack of informed consent.

AbleChild’s mission is informed consent regarding psychiatric diagnosing and the potentially deadly “treatment” that is recommended.  The DEA classifies many of the mind-altering psychiatric drugs as “controlled substances.”  The “treatments” are associated with increased risk of suicide and violence according to the Food & Drug Admistration’s Black box warning on the drug packaging.

Senator Blumenthal, one of the sponsors of the roundtable, explained his desire to propose legislation to ban the use of illegal guns termed straw purchases. AbleChild does not understand how Senator Blumenthal believes a ban on an already illegal process would reduce gun violence.

AbleChild pointed out the recent indictment of several Newtown police officers who were reportedly involved in the distribution of controlled substances and “illegal” guns (4 long guns), exactly what Senator Blumenthal is trying to ban.

Furthermore, on November 26, 2013, one day after the release of the report of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Senator Blumenthal held a roundtable discussion in Bridgeport with the intent to reduce gun violence .  According to Senator Blumenthal, “The report on the Newtown tragedy revived the memories of what gun violence did not only to the Newtown community but to all communities.”

So it appears to be the same old, same old.  It is all about guns and no personal responsibility. Despite the fact these roundtables have been held on several occasions, lawmakers and law enforcement refuse to look outside the possibilities that something or someone is responsible other than a gun.  And the violence will continue.

 

 

 

Connecticut State in Mental Health Denial

The recent July 9th Ct. Mirror article, Children Stuck in Crisis, accomplishes the intended purpose of deceptively convincing the people of Connecticut that there’s a severe mental health services crisis in the state.

On the surface, the article’s author, Arielle Becker, provides a compelling scenario of the state’s youth failing to get the needed mental health care and forced to rely on emergency room services. The problem with the presentation is Becker’s failure to address a key piece of information in the reported mental-health-crisis-puzzle – the increased psychiatric drugging of Connecticut’s children.

The entire article focuses on the specific case of Peter, a 6 foot, 220 pound 13-year old, who apparently has been in the care of mental health professionals for many years of his young life. Peter is described as having “psychiatric issues and a developmental disorder that places him on the autism spectrum.”

Becker does not provide any details about Peter’s psychiatric history, including information such as when he first was diagnosed with a psychiatric mental disorder, the number of specific mental disorders he has been labeled with and, most importantly, which mind-altering psychiatric drugs he has been prescribed during his young life.

These are not unimportant questions, especially when one considers the known adverse reactions associated with most psychiatric drugs. For example, antidepressants carry the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Black box” warnings for increased risk of suicidality. Other known adverse reactions associated with antidepressants include aggressive and abnormal behavior, hallucinations, mania and psychosis.

Other psychiatric chemical “treatments” include anti-anxiety and antipsychotic drugs, which also carry such adverse reactions as hostility, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, restlessness and tremors.

Becker, in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mental health services crisis explains that “some mental health care providers link it to an increase in the number of children with mental health needs…others see a greater willingness to recognize problems because awareness of mental illness has grown.”

What obviously is missing from the list of reasons for the “crisis” is the increased prescribing of dangerous psychiatric drugs. In fact, the only mention of any psychiatric drug “treatment” comes at the end of the article when Becker finally reveals that Peter was seen by psychiatrists at the Institute of Living and “his medication was changed.” That’s it. Pathetically, that is the extent of the conversation about psychiatric drugging.

But the lack of important information doesn’t end there. Becker also does not provide any information about all the previous failed attempts to “fix” Connecticut’s broken mental health system. For example, in 2008, lawmakers attempted mental health fixes through the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental HealthConnecticut’s Mental Health and Transformation State Incentive Grant.”

This $13 million dollar “fix,” as explained by Project Director, Pat Rehmer, as “Transformation efforts and activities are broad based and far reaching as they have been implemented across multiple state agencies offering the state’s citizens an array of accessible services and supports that are culturally responsive, person and family-centered.”

Certainly sounds like this “fix” should have helped Peter but, alas, it is another costly, failed mental health Band aid. Not surprisingly, this “transformation” also did not address the ever-increasing use of psychiatric drugs for “treatment” of Connecticut’s children.

Is it any wonder, then, that the “crisis” not only exists, but is worsening? The people of Connecticut still are not getting accurate information, and it is these omissions that render this article irrelevant in the debate for increased mental health services.

Ignoring important information does not benefit those who are suffering, nor does it help those in a position to make the necessary, and deadly serious, changes that are needed.

 

 

NEWTOWN ONE YEAR LATER, THE MISSING LINK

December 13th, 2013 | Breaking News, Press Releases

In one of a long string of mass murders ending with the killer committing suicide, Sandy Hook, Newtown grabbed the attention of the entire world on December 14, 2012 when yet another mental health client went on a killing spree.

President Obama went to Newtown, Connecticut during the time families were mourning the loss of their children and before their burials.  The President took to the stage at the Newtown High School blocks from the deadly killings and delivered a powerful, moving heartfelt speech where he began to launch a very targeted campaign.  The President said, “We as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.”

As Steve Peoples from the Associated Press writes in his article, Year after Newtown, Gun control Groups keep hope”, “A divided Congress denied President Barack Obama’s calls for change.”  The Associated Press article describes the movement being led by President Obama.  What is not mentioned in the article, this political movement is being built on the backdrop of mourning parents, a failed investigation, a State unwilling to release the shooter’s mental health and special education records, with an incomplete release of a toxicology summary.

The AP report discloses a battle plan of a national operation backed by an alliance of well-funded organizations set up to pressure Congress ahead of next fall’s elections. The groups are sending dozens of paid staff into key states, enlisting thousands of volunteer activists preparing to spend tens of millions of dollars against politicians who stand in the way of their goals.

As the Cofounder of Ablechild, during a Fox News interview with Douglas Kennedy in the aftermath of the Red Lake massacre, Douglas Kennedy asked me, “What do you want?”  I responded, “A federal hearing into to link between psychiatric drugs and school shootings”.

We are not alone in asking the hard question. In Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s home district town hall meeting in Minnesota, again the same question, “What is the link to the shootings and the psychiatric drugs?”

The Congresswoman’s response is stunning. She said that the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, has a “rule” that prohibits the Congress from studying the link between psychiatric drugs and mass shootings. (video 39.30).

Is that true? No.

The CDC is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services.  It certainly doesn’t have the power of “rule” making over Congress.

Ablechild reached out for clarification to her office regarding her comments on this CDC rule.  We received back an article about President Obama and gun control that had nothing to do with our quest for clarification on the CDC rule.  We were asked to put our request in writing; we did and as of yet have not received a response.

Congresswoman McCollum’s home State of Minnesota on March 21, 2005 suffered a killing spree called the “Red Lake Massacre” that occurred in two places on the Ojibwa Red Lake reservation.

A 16 year old, Jeffrey Wiese killed his grandfather, a tribal police officer and his grandfather’s girlfriend at their home, before going to Red lake Senior High School where he killed seven people, and wounded five others, then committed suicide.

According to relatives the teenager was taking the antidepressant Prozac, 20 milligrams 3 times a day.

Congresswoman McCollum has a great opportunity to respond to her district and push for federal hearings on mass murders and their link to psychiatric drugs.

Ablechild will continue to push for these federal hearings.  We plan to participate in the upcoming Connecticut February short legislative session to ensure the toxicology panels at the medical examiner’s office are updated and include clinical trial drugs, as well as to obtain a transparent policy  regarding toxicology reports, mental health records, and the associated link to mental health treatments in the aftermath of mass murders and suicides.

This type of legislation will ensure the public has the compelling data that already exists allowing the public to fully participate in the legislative process and to produce life saving public policies.

We agree with President Obama, it is time to ask hard questions.  We, however, don’t think it is a time to build a political movement, pass executive orders giving more funding to an unregulated and unaccountable mental health industry without asking the hard questions.  This is a vital pubic health and safety issue.

We encourage Congresswoman McCollum along with her district voters to help us obtain those federal hearings and welcome her response on our inquiry.

 

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