Connecticut Fails to Meet Deadline on Sandy Hook Mental Health Gun Bill

The problem with instituting sweeping, costly and invasive mental health legislation is that there always are unintended consequences. The State of Connecticut, when passing Public Act 13-3, apparently didn’t consider that there are two sides to every story. And when it comes to “mental health” there most definitely is another side beyond the mental health we-need-early -intervention-to-help-those-suffering mantra.

A case in point is the recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, which found that more than 10,000 toddlers between the ages of 2-3 are being medicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD.   Worse still, these data are limited and the experts believe the problem is actually much worse on a national level.

But to fully grasp the insanity of drugging 2-3 year olds with highly addictive mind-altering drugs, let’s consider a few important pieces of information about this age group. First, the average weight for male toddlers at three years is 29.5 pounds and females is 28.4 and, by this age, only 80 percent of the child’s brain has fully developed.

Developmentally 2-3 year olds are learning to arrange things in groups, putting things in size order, remembering what they did yesterday, recognizing themselves in the mirror and learning to say please and thank you. Yes, great strides, but still the brain is not fully developed.

Now let’s consider the ADHD diagnosis. This alleged mental disorder is all about behavior.  Regardless of what the American Psychiatric Association, APA, believes, the National Institutes of Mental Health, NIMH, makes it clear on its website that “scientists don’t know what causes ADHD.” There is no test known to man that can detect ADHD as a biological/genetic abnormality.

Because the  APA has no proof of any abnormality that is the alleged ADHD, they have compiled a list of “abnormal” behaviors that apparently make up the diagnosis, including “is often easily distracted,” “is often forgetful in daily activities,” “often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly,” etc.  After considering the list of 18 criteria that make up the alleged mental disorder, ADHD, one has to wonder what child doesn’t repeatedly do most, if not all, of these behaviors.

Nevertheless, now, let’s consider the ADHD “treatment” most commonly used – Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine). Methylphenidate is a schedule II drug and, as such, is considered by the federal government to be one of the most addictive. It also is considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA,  “to produce discriminative stimulus effects similar to cocaine, which substitute for each other and for cocaine in a number of paradigms, and chronic high-dose administration of either drug in animals produces psychomotor stimulant toxicity including weight loss, stereotypic movements and death, and in clinical studies, they produce behavioral, psychological, subjective and reinforcing effects similar to cocaine.”

The DEA sums up Methylphenidate and Amphetamine use this way: “this data means that neither animals nor humans can tell the difference between cocaine, amphetamine or methylphenidate when they are administered the same way at comparable doses. In short, they produce effects that are nearly identical.”

In a nutshell, 2-3 year old toddlers are being labeled with an alleged mental illness that is not based in science or medicine and then “treated” with extremely addictive, mind-altering drugs before their brains are even fully formed.

Did legislators really consider the implications of Public Act 13-3, which pushes for early identification and screening for mental illness in the state’s children? Was even one expert allowed to testify before any committee, making lawmakers aware of the above facts?  No.

More importantly, according to Public Act 13-3, a Task Force was established to consider all of the mental health provisions and report back to the Legislature and the Governor.  Not surprising, this report, which was due no later than February 1st of this year, still has not been completed.

These Task Force recommendations may provide some guidance on just how intrusive the mental health provisions are. For example, at what age will Connecticut’s legislators decide early intervention and screening is inappropriate and harmful? Public Act 13-3 allows for “Mental Health First Aid Training” as part of in-service training for educators.  If a child is labeled with a mental illness through this early intervention and mental health screening, what rights are afforded to parents who refuse to accept this “help?”

Does this mental health intervention end at the school-age level or will the State continue to legislate mental health screening to include toddlers and preschoolers?    Given that nearly 8 million American children between the ages of 6-17 currently are taking at least one mind-altering, psychiatric drug, it is clear what mental health’s “treatment” consists of.  Yes, there are consequences for ill-advised and uninformed legislation.

 

 

 

Stimulants for ADHD Shown to Cause Sudden Death in Children

June 17th, 2009 | News Archive

By Dr. Peter Breggin
June 17, 2009

A new study, published Monday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, confirms what I’ve been warning about for years in my scientific books and articles. The stimulants used to treat children for so-called ADHD can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death in kids. The study was published by the journal online in advance of regular publication in the near future. On Monday, I had the opportunity to comment on the study on Good Morning America. Here is more detail.

The stimulant group of drugs includes amphetamines like Adderall and Dexedrine and methylphenidate products such as Ritalin, Concerta, and Focalin. The study focused on Ritalin because at the time it was more commonly used than the amphetamines, although amphetamines are probably even more toxic to the heart.

The results of the study were as dramatic as they are tragic. Children and youth age 7 to 19 taking prescribed Ritalin for ADHD were four to five times more likely to die of sudden unexplained cardiac arrest than other children who were not taking Ritalin.

Despite these ominous results, the study was skewed to hide just how many children die of sudden death when taking Ritalin. The study relied heavily on identifying cases through toxicology reports at autopsy. But autopsy studies for the detection of these controlled substances are geared to detect more massive doses from addiction and overdose. They are not sensitive enough to detect many cases of routine prescription use. As a result, many stimulant-caused deaths were probably missed.

Also, the study excluded a large number of sudden deaths if the children had even the slightest evidence of pre-existing heart disease. They excluded these children even when the coroner thought that heart disease played no role in the death. For example, if a child was taking stimulants and had minimal heart disease, such as a slightly enlarged heart, the researchers didn’t include the case as a possible death due to the stimulant. They also did not count children who were severely obese, anorexic, or asthmatic. But all of these children, especially ones with undetected heart disease, are much more highly at risk for of stimulant-induced sudden death. They even excluded children whose parents had some forms of heart disease.

It’s as if they did not want to confirm the obvious—that an examination of children with heart disease and related disorders would swell the numbers of those killed by Ritalin. In fact, the current FDA approved label specifically mentions the risk of cardiac sudden death when Ritalin is given to children with heart conditions.

Unconscionable, the study researchers were trying not to prove that stimulants cause sudden death in children. They made the findings despite their own attempts to avoid it. I was not surprised to find that some of the researchers for this study are among the biggest advocates of psychiatric medications for children.

Sudden cardiac death in children is rare, probably occurring—as the study notes—in a slightly little less than 1 in 100,000 children. But we need to take a few other facts into account. First, the rate is going to be much higher in children taking stimulant drugs. Not just the four or five times higher found in this study, but many more times higher when vulnerable children are included such as those with undetected heart disease, severe obesity, asthma, or anorexia. Second, stimulant drugs are one of the few causes of cardiac death in otherwise normal children, making it impossible to detect the risk before it happens.

There is also evidence from studies of stimulant addicts and case reports that stimulant drugs can cause heart disease, including inflammation and scarring. When drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are prescribed in routine pediatric doses, they commonly cause hypertension, which can lead to an enlarged heart. Yet children with even slightly enlarged hearts were excluded from the study. So the researchers ended up excluding any children with enlarged hearts caused by the stimulant treatment itself.

The same is true in regard to anorexia. Stimulants commonly cause anorexia. The researchers therefore excluded cases of stimulant-induced death in anorexic patients when the anorexia itself could have been caused by the stimulant.

Meanwhile the psychiatric establishment—represented by American Psychiatric Association, NIMH and drug companies–has been quick to dismiss the importance of the study. Instead, they should be emphasizing that the study detected the risk even though the highest risk patients were excluded, including some who were displaying toxic stimulant effects such as heart disease and anorexia.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a greater tragedy for the surviving family than the unexpected death of a child from taking a medication prescribed by a doctor. I’ve been involved as a medical expert or consultant for families in several tragic cases of stimulant-induced cardiac death. I’ve also been an expert in cases of suicide in children caused by stimulants. These tragic deaths are always heartbreaking. Years afterward, the emotional wounds remain as raw as ever for their parents and brothers and sisters. The family’s trust for doctors and the healthcare system can be forever shattered.

Yet the answer to this problem is simple. Don’t give stimulants to children. There are far better non-drug ways to deal with so-called ADHD. ADHD is defined as involving hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. These are not diseases—they are disciplinary and educational problems. Very often these children improve dramatically when parents develop a more consistent, rational and loving plan for discipline. Sometimes the problem completely disappears when the child is assigned a better teacher.

At times the child diagnosed with ADHD is simply a little delayed in learning self-discipline or finding the motivation to study. Often something is distressing the youngster, such as peer ridicule and abuse. Or the child may be especially full of life and need more opportunity to run, to play, and to be creative.

Whatever these children need, they don’t need toxic drugs that can lead to drug addiction, cause psychosis and depression, stunt growth, impair brain function, and even cause sudden cardiac arrest. I describe and document all of these adverse stimulant effects, and many more, in my medical book, Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, Second Edition (2008).

Our children don’t need drugs—they need us to protect them from misguided health professionals while we make every effort to meet their real needs in our families and schools. It’s time for all of us to retake responsibility for our children.

Dr. Breggin’s latest book is Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (St. Martin’s, 2008). It is now in paperback.

Dr. Breggin’s website is www.breggin.com
Email: psychiatricdrugfacts@hotmail.com

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