Over the past week or so ABC News in America have been covering the plight of the thousands of children caught in the loop of the mental health system. These children have each had a poor start in life and have been placed into Foster care because, more often than not, they have been abused by their parents or, in some instances, have had to deal with the death of their parents.
Last night ABC's 20/20 rounded off their investigation with a 10 minute special entitled Confronting Doctors [As yet not available on YouTube]. It was, in essence, a pastiche of their two previous specials from Wednesday and Thursday but featured a more in-depth look at the case of 7 year-old Gabriel Myers.
Gabriel's father was in prison whilst his mother had become addicted to prescription drugs. One day she had drove to a shopping mall with Gabriel in the car and had fallen asleep. She was thrown into prison whilst Gabriel was placed into Foster care. [I use the word care loosely]
During the weeks that went by Gabriel was moved from home to home and saw a number of therapists. He became disruptive, trashing his room. From that point he was assigned to psychiatrist, Sohail Punjwani who, for reasons only known to himself, deemed Gabriel to be in need of psychotropic medication, this after a five-minute consultation and a diagnosis based on nothing but personal opinion, an opinion that would ultimately result in 7 year-old Gabriel Myers taking his own life by wrapping a shower hose around his neck and hanging himself.
Gabriel's death was ruled as an accident but anyone who knows just how dangerous these drugs can be, not only for adults taking them but children too, will know that putting a child as young as 7 on a mixture of mind altering drugs was the probable causation into him taking his own life. There is overwhelming evidence that shows how these drugs can induce suicidal thoughts. Psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry alike will point to the trauma in young Gabriel's life as being the possible reason why he killed himself, kind of hypocritical when you consider for a moment that a child is thrown into a strange place with adults he has never met and children he has never met all the time missing his mom and wondering when he will see her again. Adding fuel to the fire [psychiatric drugs] was clearly not the answer, it was merely a way of suppressing or dumbing-down young Gabriel.
Sharyn Alfonsi of ABC News tracked down Gabriel's psychiatrist and asked him why he had prescribed these drugs to Gabriel.
Punjwani: "Sad stories happen but that does not mean the doctor is responsible for it because we are in the business of taking care of these children."
Alfonsi then pressed Punjwani and asked him how much time he actually spent with Gabriel. She put it to him that he only spent 5 minutes in consultation with Gabriel.
Punjwani: "That is untrue."
Later, and off camera, Punjwani conceded that it was possible that he only spent 5 minutes with Gabriel whilst adjusting his medication.
Alfonsi revealed that Punjwani has an arrest record for being in possession of cocaine and to avoid prosecution he agreed to go through a court mandated rehabilitation program.
The plight of Gabriel is truly tragic, it appears he was removed from one trauma to another, one burning building to another. His case is just a small part of a bigger picture, a picture that the world of the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry and medicines regulators don't want the likes of you and I to see. It's a secret society where the 3 bodies that know the truth do everything in their power to suppress the truth. It's a wanton neglect of our little people whereby on the odd occasion we get the 'good' psychiatrists speaking out about this mindless form of abuse.
The prescribing physicians should hang their heads in shame, although I doubt very much if they have any conscience relating to the prescribing of these drugs to children who haven't even had a chance to develop a fully working brain. Doctor's, it could be argued, such as Punjwani are the ones with the mental disorders, it is an act of insanity to hand out brain altering medication to children on an assumption, particularly based on such little time spent with that child during consultation.
1. The state of being seriously mentally ill; madness.
2.Extreme foolishness or irrationality.
I think it safe to suggest that anyone who thinks prescribing mind-altering drugs to a child suffering the trauma of being separated from their parents could fall into category 2 [above]
To make matters worse neither the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry or medicines regulators take accountability for this huge failure, instead, they buck-pass by blaming one another and/or the child's original "illness". Are we expected to believe that young Gabriel Myers actually had an illness, that the majority of children placed in Foster care have an illness?
For too long we, firstly as human-beings and secondly as parents, have ignored the abuse of the mind that these drugs cause our children, we cannot see this abuse because their are no bruises, no broken bones, no bandages. Imagine, if you will, the brain of a small child. Apart from taking a severe blow to the head I can't think of any other way other than prescribing these medications that would cause brain trauma. To numb one's thinking, to suppress emotions such as grief or loss is, in my books at least, abuse.
It has become acceptable to use these dangerous medications on children, mainly, in part, to the massive promotional campaigns by the pharmaceutical industry and key opinion leaders [leading 'relnowned' psychiatrists] who add their names to ghostwritten publications that deem these drugs effective to use in children. As parents we too have a responsibility. A naughty son or daughter does not necessarily mean we have a little Damien Thorn or Regan McNeil on our hands. They should not be labelled with a mental disorder for showing human emotion. Furthermore, they should not be given cocktails of pharmaceutical drugs because they show signs of grief or loss.
The drugging of children in Foster care in America is appalling, it's by no means just an American problem, it's going on in other countries. We have a society that automatically labels unruly children as misfits, brats, we have an industry that labels them with psychiatric disorders. We have, in essence, the perfect set of lab rats to abuse and to make a whole heap of money whilst doing it.
The ABC trilogy of stories is very much the tip of the iceberg. Children in Foster care are 13 times more likely to be prescribed drugs that can cause a bio chemical imbalance than children not in care. It's a startling figure but those not in care who are prescribed these drugs are also in danger.
There are two kinds of bullies, there are those that abuse then there are those that stand back and watch the abuse without intervening. I'll leave the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry and the medicines regulators to decide on which type of bully they are.
A lot of effort has come from advocates and organisations during the making of this series. It is because of people and organisations whose hearts are in the right places that ABC were able to broadcast across America, they were able to spread the awareness that has been created over the years by a long list of people who bang the drum constantly regarding the abuse of drugging children. The list is long but a special mention goes out to Sheila Matthews of Ablechild, Ken Kramer of Psych-Search and, of course, where would we all be without the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights.
Part III can be found on the ABC 20/20 website HERE
12 Year-Old Kid Speaks before Senate and Congress about Psychiatric Drugs
U.S. Government Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children With Mind-Altering Drugs ABC News Part I
Billion Dollar Drug Company Law Firm Restructures Connecticut Welfare System
In Memory of Gabriel Myers
Twitter - #FosterChange
ORDER THE PAPERBACK 'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman US and CANADA HERE OR UK HERE
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