Manufacturing Child Violence
In 1967 – a year after “values clarification” programs were unleashed on schools – a psychiatric research study group was formed to consider the “possibility of enhancing the quality of human life by chemicals and a review of the effects of these chemicals when prescribed to the non-psychotic, and possibly non-neurotic patients.”
The resulting publication released in 1971, “Psychotropic Drugs in the Year 2000, Use By Normal Humans,” reported that “… major efforts [had been] initiated by the pharmaceutical industry to look for new chemical substances which would have mind-altering properties.” The hoped-for end result of this drug research was a future “pill-taking culture with a drug of choice for all ages,” including “‘mind-expanders’ for the youth.”
The publication also predicted the possibility of drugs being “invented and used in ways which are not beneficial to mankind.” As the following violent legacy indicates, that possibility has become a harsh reality.
- Seven out of 12 recent U.S. school shootings were committed by teens who had been taking prescribed psychotropic drugs known to cause violent behavior.
- February 2004 saw 15-year-old Andreas B. of Germany, shoot and kill his foster father while taking prescribed psychotropic drugs.
- On May 17, 2004, 19-year-old Ryan Furlough of Maryland was convicted of the 2003 first-degree murder of a school friend, committed while Ryan was on a prescribed antidepressant.
- In Japan, in July 1999, two boys, aged 15 and 16, stabbed a third boy while under the influence of a sedative (sleeping pill) which, they said, made them feel “invincible.”
Children are particularly vulnerable to such drugs because their bodies are still developing. The drugs can create horrific physical and mental side effects including, but not limited to, hostility, spasms, grimacing movements, manic reactions, and seizures. They are also potentially addictive, and withdrawal from them can be far more difficult than from illegal drugs.
A 1996 French study entitled, “Suicide and Psychotropic Drugs,” established that “suicide attempts are more frequent among patients taking antidepressants.” In other words, suicidal impulses are a known side effect of mind-altering, psychiatric drugs. It is small wonder then that skyrocketing youth suicide rates have followed in the wake of widespread psychiatric, drug-based child programs.
The child casualties are tragic:
- In 2001, Matt Miller hanged himself in his bedroom closet one week after being prescribed an antidepressant. Another boy taking an antidepressant hung himself with a belt from a rafter. He left behind a letter pinned to his clothes thanking his parents for 14 wonderful years of life.
- In Canada in 2003, 25 days after being labeled as “oppositional defiant,” a 14-year-old boy took his own life while on an antidepressant.
- Three other Canadian teens were revealed as having committed suicide while taking prescribed antidepressants.
In 2003, the British medicine regulatory agency warned doctors not to prescribe Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants for under-18-year-olds, because of the risk of suicide. The following year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a similar warning, as did Australian, Canadian and European agencies. After hearings in September 2004, the FDA ordered that a “black box” warning be prominently placed on SSRI bottles, emphasizing the fact that the drugs can cause suicide.
But this warning does not go far enough. Children are dying, are killing others or being turned into addicts because of these and other psychiatric drugs. Their future will only be safeguarded when the unscientific “mental disorders” they are diagnosed with are abolished and dangerous psychotropic drugs are prohibited.
In 2004, John L. Whitehead, well-known constitutional attorney and author, warned: “The sad fact is that our public schools and parents have been duped by the psychiatric and drug industries. … [W]e as a nation must move away from the concept of drugs of any kind as an answer. By [not] doing so, we have opened the door to manipulation by unscrupulous drug marketers who would dope us up or drug us for a profit. If we, as a society, really mean that we are anti-drug, then let it start at home and at school.”
Psychologizing Young Minds to Violence and Death
While forthrightly exposing millions of children to the violence- and suicide-inducing nature of psychiatric drugs on one hand, psychiatry and psychology offer classes in “anger management” and “death education” on the other.
Death education, which has been used in many countries since the 1970s, requires children to discuss suicide, and write their own wills and epitaphs. One U.S. “death education” class (euphemistically called “forensic education courses”) involved taking students to a deserted river shoreline to observe a mock crime scene complete with a “dismembered mannequin in the car trunk, a severed arm in a grocery bag and a bloody hacksaw.”
A 2004 U.K. article on anger management and grief counseling programs being used in several schools under the “Healthy Lifestyle Project,” revealed students undergoing “grief counseling” were “drawing pictures of life and death or writing letters of things they wished they could have said to their loved ones.”
Critics cite Colorado’s Columbine High School teens Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as prime examples of the failure of “anger management” and “death education.” Both boys had attended a court-ordered counseling program, including anger management, for stealing a car. Then they participated in a death education class at school in which students were asked to imagine their own death. Harris, who was also taking an antidepressant known to cause hostility and suicidal reactions, subsequently had a dream where he and Klebold went on a shooting rampage in a shopping center. Harris wrote about his dream and handed it in to the teacher. Shortly afterwards, he and Klebold acted out the dream when, on April 20, 1999, they went on a shooting rampage, killing 12 students, a teacher, and wounding 23 others before shooting and killing themselves.
While claiming to teach individuals to control their aggression and anger, there are no standards for delivering anger management courses. “There are as many ways to approach [anger management] as there are people,” said W. Doyle Gentry, a clinical psychologist and director of the Institute for Anger Free Living in Virginia. “And it’s created a lot of confusing, even bizarre methods that can’t be taken seriously. I mean, if they ask you to beat a mattress with a tennis racquet [to work out your anger], it’s not going to do you any good.” One anger management student beat up a classmate so badly that six days later the boy was still hospitalized.
Research analyst Diane Alden stated, “We have had years of counseling, therapy, drugs, and touchy-feely non-academics, and what we have gotten for this is dumb kids who feel good about being dumb and violent.”
Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld, internationally renowned educator and author warns, “There must be something wrong with an education system that requires so many children to be drugged just to attend school. … This is a cruel and criminal activity.” As for solutions, he warns, “You cannot reform education without first divorcing it from behavioral psychology.”
Diagnostic Lies, Treacherous ‘Care’
The purportedly scientific diagnostic tool that underlies the drugging and mental health screening of children is an invented diagnostic system, the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM).
In 1952, the DSM contained no categories for infants or children except for three “adjustment reactions.” By 1980, an almost 1,000% increase in the number of childhood psychiatric “disorders” included mathematics, arithmetic, spelling and language disorders. In 1987, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD) was literally voted into existence by APA members and included in the DSM.
Psychiatrists now also redefine teen behavior as mental “diseases” with diagnoses such as “Conduct Disorder” and “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (when a child argues with his parent or teacher). In his 2002 book, The Culture of Fear, Barry Glassner, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, said the DSM makes children good candidates for imprisonment in psychiatric wards if they do any five of the following: Argue with adults, defy adult requests, do things that annoy others, lose their tempers, become easily annoyed, act spiteful, blame others for their mistakes, get angry and resentful or swear.
Two years later the symptom list has expanded to practically every emotion or behavior conceivable.
Today teachers are expected to fill out different reports on the psychiatric and psychological behavior of their students using DSM-based forms.
The “Teacher’s Report Form for Ages 6-18” rates 112 behaviors for each child. The child’s name is listed on the form. The list of supposed mental disorder symptoms include: Fails to finish things he/she starts, defiant, talks back to staff, bragging, boasting, can’t sit still, restless, or hyperactive, confused or seems to be in a fog, fidgets, daydreams or gets lost in his/her thoughts, disobedient in school, breaks school rules, over-conforms to rules, easily jealous, hangs around with others who get into trouble, bites fingernails, picks nose, skin, or other body parts, has difficulty learning, poor schoolwork, secretive, keeps things to self, showing off or clowning, speech problem, stares blandly, fails to carry out assigned tasks, talks too much, and underachieving, not working up to potential.
The “Teacher Problem Rating” on which the child’s name is also listed, supposedly evaluates the child’s relationship with other children, the teacher, his academic progress, how he affects the classroom and his self-esteem. The teacher is expected to make the evaluation which can range anywhere from no problem to extreme problem.
The “Disruptive Behaviors Disorders (DBD) Rating Scale” contains 61 questions, of which 39 are taken directly from the DSM. Teacher evaluation is again expected. “The youngster can be labeled as ‘mentally ill’ for typically childish conduct,” warned Beverly Eakman. “Even more troubling,” she continued, “is the fact that if a child is tagged with a mental health, or emotional disability, his family may also be deemed ‘dysfunctional.’ Something as simple as a ‘developmental delay’ or a death in the family can result in a DSM label that triggers what is called in some U.S. states an ‘Individualized Family Service Plan.’ This plan, in essence, allows the school to intervene into family affairs.”
The fact that there is no child that at some time wouldn’t be tagged mentally ill, using these assessments, indicates that this process is nothing more than a child patient recruitment tool. Once labeled, a child is automatically considered to have a chronic psychiatric disorder – in other words the patient recruitment line is for life.
The last thing that the DSM is based on is medical science. It is also devoted to the categorization of symptoms only, not verifiable pathology. In his book, The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs, published in 2000, Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, stated, “First, no biological etiology [cause] has been proven for any psychiatric disorder … in spite of decades of research. … So don’t accept the myth that we can make an ‘accurate diagnosis.’”
In 2002, Professor Szasz stated: “There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases. If such a test were developed (for what, heretofore, had been considered a psychiatric illness), then the condition would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease.”
Dr. Fred Baughman, Jr., a pediatric neurologist, says, “‘Biological psychiatry’ has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything ‘neurological,’ ‘biological,’ ‘chemically imbalanced’ or ‘genetic.’ With no abnormality in the ‘ADHD child,’ the pseudo-medical label is nothing but stigmatizing, and the unwarranted drug treatment that invariably follows, a physical assault. The ‘medication’ typically prescribed for ADHD and ‘learning disorders’ is a hazardous and addictive amphetamine-like drug.”
Dr. Julian Whitaker warns us about the effects of adding mandatory screening of children using the DSM. Referring to the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, he said that its “report goes on to say, ‘the extent, severity, and far-reaching consequences make it imperative that our Nation adopt a comprehensive, systemic approach to improving the mental health status of children.’ That means drugging them!” Or as he captures it: “52 million potential customers.”
Dr. Baughman reminds us of the cost in human lives: “The following children are no longer hyperactive or inattentive – they are dead. Between 1994 and 2001, I was consulted, medically or legally, formally or informally, in the following death cases:
- Stephanie, 11, prescribed a stimulant and died of cardiac arrhythmia.
- Matthew, 13, prescribed a stimulant and died of cardiomyopathy [disease of heart muscle].
- Macauley, 7, prescribed a stimulant and three other psychiatric drugs, suffered a cardiac arrest.
- Travis, 13, prescribed a stimulant and suffered cardiomyopathy.
- Randy, 9, given a stimulant and several other drugs and died from cardiac arrest.
- Cameron, 12, prescribed a stimulant and died from hyper-eosinophilic syndrome [abnormal increase in white blood cells].
“This is a high price to pay for the ‘treatment’ of a ‘disease’ that does not exist,” he said.