How to grow your business

Mary Weiss’s handsome son Mark died in 2004 in Minnesota in a half way house while enrolled in a Seroquel drug trial against his mother’s wishes. He had stabbed himself to death in the bathtub using a box cutter. Being enrolled in the drug trial was a condition of his release from the hospital.

The public labors under a false belief that forced medication somehow protects both the patient and others from the carnage that was witnessed in Tuscon last month. Since the truth surrounding drug efficacy and treatment is so hidden from the public, it appears that the real reason behind forced medication in many instances is to help the drug companies and universities to grow their business, shielded from public scrutiny. It may be the only reason, for all I know. What do any of us know from personal experience when it comes to the shenanigans behind these treatment programs?

Mary Weiss finally wrote to Charles Schulz, the head psychiatrist of the program, after receiving no replies to her earlier telephone calls to Mark’s doctors.

It wasn’t until April 28, after Weiss’s third letter, that she received a cursory response, in which Schulz wrote, “it was not clear to me how you thought the treatment team should deal with this issue.”

Mary Weiss was new to what a diagnosis of schizophrenia when it  comes to treatment actually means. How would she have known the kind of treatment her son needed since it is not available in most institutions and has been actively prevented from becoming widespread? She knew that the drugs were not helping him and only making him worse. If psychiatry were doing its job it would have made the kind of treatment her son needed the norm. Psychiatric survivors have been saying for years how best to treat mental distress but they are ignored by the medical profession. Schulz is hiding behind an uncontestable norm in modern psychiatry. Where it gets tricky for him, as it is for so many other psychiatrists, is that he is on record as receiving funding from AstraZeneca to conduct his research. Mother Jones magazine reported earlier that the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota receives $15,000 for every patient enrolled in these trials.

For his part, Schulz says he’s done nothing wrong, and maintains that he hasn’t violated any U of M policies. The FDA, state Attorney General’s Office, and the U of M’s Internal Review Board all found no link between Markingson’s suicide and the CAFE study. Schulz also points out that he started looking into quetiapine before it was even branded as Seroquel by AstraZeneca.

The link between Mark’s suicide and the CAFE study is obvious. The patient wasn’t being helped and his mother’s pleas that he was getting worse fell on deaf ears. There is a plethora of historical information that says that the drugs don’t work. Instead of helping Mark, a human being, like so many psychiatrists Schulz was choosing to help pharma reposition an existing product. If Mark had been given intense psychotherapy, minimal to no drugs with no strings attached, and other interventions such as I write about on my blog, chances are good that the outcome would have been different. Mainstream psychiatry has long known about, and rejected Soteria, but that’s the kind of help that Mary Weiss’s son needed. Today, the Finnish program Open Dialogue looks promising.

“I haven’t been particularly focused on quetiapine, in my opinion, but on the best ways to help schizophrenic people,” Schulz wrote in an email.

Psychiatrists know there are better ways to help “schizophrenic people” but that’s not where the money is.

Thanks to Stephany at Soulful Sepulcher for alerting me to this evolving story, which was originally published in CityPages.

Child soldiers in Washington State

It is hard for me as an outside reader to really appreciate the complexities of the struggles that other people like Stephany of Soulful Sepulcher and Becky of Involuntary Transformation have been having with the mental health system for their relatives. There is so much specific information that an outside reader can get lost. I don’t know if I am just waking up or if it is well know by others that children under 18, especially if they are institutionalized, are trialling drugs that are already on the market for eventual approval for children.

I’ve been following Becky’s blog about her son’s experience with the mental health system in Washington State. Washington State has decided that age 13 is the legal of the age to give informed consent when it comes to the mental health treatment. This is not in line with the age of consent in other types of health situations, in Washington State. Patients’ rights groups have been agitating to let adults decide whether they want mental health treatment or not, and Washington State extends this privilege to 13 year olds? This is odd, indeed, becautoday’s parents, including negligent ones, are lining up to get their young teens treated. Parents would gladly give their permission hoping for a quick fix. So, what on the one hand looks “progressive” in having young people make their own choices, on the other hand is something more sinister.

I don’t know how it works in other jurisdictions or whether Washington State is unique, but something seems rotten in the State of Washington. I don’t have the time to research the age of consent for mental health treatment in all jurisdictions but age 13 strikes me as surely the youngest. Check out the Community Health Plan of Washington here. Note what the plan says about cases of substance abuse. •Minors 13 or older may get this treatment without consent if DSHS decides minor is a “child in need of services.”

When Becky’s son turned 13, the doctor’s wrested complete control of decisions on the medications away from the mother. That’s what age of consent is all about. I have the further impression that her son was then deemed too sick to make his own decisions and fell under the complete control of the State.

Step 1 is taking the medical decision-making away from the parents of under 18s.

Step 2 is the State seizing complete control by deeming the child in need of services.

Step 3 is even more sinister because it appears, in the case of Becky’s son (and obviously countless others) that he was then enrolled in drug trials. From the impression I have I from reading Becky’s blog, these were not what the public usually thinks of as drug trials, where drugs are trialled before they are FDA approved. Her son appears to have been subjected to a variety of neuroleptics that are currently on the market but not approved for use in people under 18.

Ergo, it would seem that the pharmaceutical lobby has managed to get certain jurisdictions to lower the age of consent in mental health matters and then moves in with conducting experiments on the very young in order to win eventual approval of their products for use in children.

What I would like to find out is how widely known is it that children are trialing drugs? It is widely known that growing numbers of children are being put on antipychotics (off-label) and that the brunt of this falls on poor children but does the public know that lowering the age of consent for children means that pharma moves in and tests these drugs on child users of the mental health system? It is, of course, much easier to test these drugs if the child is institutionalized.