More Kids On Psychiatric Drugs

The Result: More Kids On Psychiatric Drugs

Once identified as a suicide risk by TeenScreen—“false positive” or not—kids are referred to a “mental health professional” for evaluation.13 No alternative is offered, despite repeated studies showing that the “mental disorders” TeenScreen purports to identify can be caused by a host of other factors: physical illness, poor diet, hormonal changes, study difficulties and other educational problems, allergic reactions and the normal trials and tribulations of being a teenager.14 • Dr. James Howenstine, researcher and internal medicine specialist said, “This whole field of psychiatric diagnosis needs to be reconsidered in view of the strong evidence that…parasitic infections,…candida, borna disease virus [infectious neurological syndrome that causes abnormal behavior and fatality], streptococcus [bacteria that causes disease and infection], and other infectious agents are capable of producing…symptoms that will generate a psychiatric diagnosis.” Further, “There is a real possibility that many, perhaps most patients, have an infectious illness that is correctable, not a permanent psychiatric impairment.”15


  • Such thorough physical evaluation is unlikely, however, with a program that refers youths solely to mental health professionals. And, as TeenScreen Executive Director Laurie Flynn has stated, the ultimate aim of the program is not just identification, it’s linking youths with treatment.16 A 2002 survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry found that child psychiatrists treat 9 out of 10 children by drugging them. 17
  • TeenScreen often leads to more youths being prescribed antidepressants. According to former Pennsylvania government investigator, Allen Jones,

“TeenScreen is a nefarious [wicked] effort to recruit our children into the quagmire of biological psychiatry.”

  • Jim Gottstein, an attorney who represents clients harmed by psychiatry, says TeenScreen “ends up being nothing more than a Drugging Dragnet.” “The high rate at which we are drugging America’s children with psychotropics,” he says, “is a national disgrace.”18
  • Psychotropic drug prescription for teenagers skyrocketed 250% between 1994 and 2001.19
  • A study published in Psychiatric Services, entitled, “Trends in the Use of Psychotropic Medications Among Adolescents, 1994‐2001,” found that the average annual rates for prescription of psychotropic drugs for adolescents increased, “…with especially rapid acceleration after 1999”—the same year the TeenScreen program was initiated.20
  • According to FDA estimates, 15 million antidepressant prescriptions were written in 2003 for under 18 year olds.21 Between 1995 and 1999, the use of antidepressants increased 151% for 7 to 12 year olds and 580% for children under six.22 Between 1998 and 2002, there was another 49% increase in children taking antidepressants.23 Sales of the drugs topped more than $13 billion in 2004.24
  • Between 2000 and 2003, spending on psychoactive drugs for children exceeded expenditures for any other pediatric medication category, including antibiotics and asthma medicines.25
  • According to a July 27, 2005 article in The Wall Street Journal, antidepressants and antipsychotics are the third and fourth biggest classes of drugs in the United States after cholesterol and heartburn medicines, generating $20.7 billion in 2004, with much of the cost “borne by government health‐care plans.”26 6
  • A study published in the July 21, 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association reported there was a significantly higher risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts during the first 9 days of treatment with SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressants, such as Paxil. According to the study, children starting treatment with these drugs are four times more likely exhibit suicidal behavior. The report also noted that children as young as 5 had committed suicide while taking these drugs.27
  • In September 2004, an FDA Advisory Committee concluded that not only do most antidepressant medications increase suicide risk in children they also fail to cure depression.28 Soon afterwards, acknowledging that a “causal role for antidepressants in inducing suicidality had been established,” and that children on such drugs were twice as likely to become suicidal as those given a placebo, the FDA ordered drug manufacturers to place a Black‐Box warning on all antidepressant labels.29 The Black‐Box warning is the most serious measure that the FDA can take regarding a prescription medication, short of banning its use. Since the Black‐Box warning label requirement, there have been 24 FDA and other international drug regulatory agency warnings about psychiatric drugs.
  • In 2004, N.Y. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Paxil manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline for committing fraud by hiding studies that “not only failed to show any benefit for the drug in children but demonstrated that children taking Paxil were more likely to become suicidal than those taking a placebo.”30 The company settled the case in September 2004 for $2.5 million.31 •

In fact, rather than reducing suicide, Dr. David Healy and Graham Aldred from the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University, reviewed published SSRI antidepressant clinical trials and determined that they increase the risk of suicide.32

There has also been a dramatic rise in the number of youngsters prescribed powerful, “atypical (new) antipsychotic” drugs, such as Risperdal (Janssen) and Zyprexa (Eli Lilly), that have not been FDA approved for use by children. Children are now the fastest growing market segment for these powerful new drugs, despite documented side effects that include mania, permanent neurological damage and suicidal ideation. 33


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