Friday 11 May 2012: "Drugs are destroying our children."
Tina is one of the parents attending the Rethinking Psychiatry symposium in Portland this weekend. Parents are hearing each other's stories: children diagnosed with various disorders from ADHD and OCD to schizophrenia are drugged with high concentrations of psychotropic medications such as Risperdal, Depakote, Haldol, and Zyprexa. After using these medications, some children become violent while others become unresponsive, incoherent, or suicidal. One of the mothers said that in "third world" countries where these drugs are not available, there is actually much less mental illness than in the USA, where she believes pharmaceutical corporations compete for doctors' loyalties and market their products "as if they were candy." Robert Whitaker's book Anatomy of an Epidemic informs much of the discussion, as does the work of Dr. Peter Breggin.
My friend Cindi Fisher, whose son Siddharta was released from jail after phone calls and emails from many Blippers who read about her situation and took action, helped to organize this symposium and asked me to listen, take pictures, and help her write the parents' stories. It is a great privilege to sit with these parents and also unutterably painful. Most of their children will not be saved or rescued. Most are institutionalized, severely and irreparably damaged. In their despair, these parents are speaking out, hoping to help other parents. Some believe some medications are helpful, in small doses, for a short time; others are opposed to any psychotropic medications. They urge parents of newly-diagnosed children to question doctors who prescribe these drugs, to monitor dosages being administered to their children, to read the books and websites of Whitaker and Breggin, and to make public the terrible effects and side-effects that can result from using psychotropic drugs on children.