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ACTION ALERT - Mandatory Mental Health Screening for Children

September 7, 2004

The American tradition of parents deciding what is best for their children is, yet again, under attack. The pharmaceutical industry has convinced President Bush to support mandatory mental-health screening for every child in America, including preschool children, and the industry is now working to convince Congress as well. But mandatory screening alone is not what the pharmaceutical industry wants. The real payoff for the drug companies is the forced drugging of children that will result -- as we learned tragically with Ritalin -- even when parents refuse.

Congressman Ron Paul, an OB/GYN physician for over 30 years, is desperately trying to keep the drug companies, politicians and federal bureaucrats from becoming parents to your children. Dr. Paul will introduce on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning (whenever the floor schedule allows) an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2005 that will withhold funds for this new federal mental-health-screening program. He will urge his congressional colleagues to support his effort in a letter to be distributed tomorrow morning.

Dr. Paul's letter says in part: "As you know, psychotropic drugs are increasingly prescribed for children who show nothing more than children's typical rambunctious behavior. Many children have suffered harmful effects from these drugs. Yet some parents have even been charged with child abuse for refusing to drug their children. The federal government should not promote national mental health screening programs that will force the use of these psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin."

If you think this action alert is about something that "can't happen here," think again. In 1995, the state of Texas launched the Texas Medication Algorithm Project. (WorldNetDaily.com, June 21, 2004)

The state of Illinois has also approved a mental health screening program. The Illinois legislature passed the Children's Mental Health Act of 2003 which will provide screening for "all children ages 0-18" and "ensure appropriate and culturally relevant assessment of your children's social and emotional development with the use of standardized tools." In addition, all pregnant women in Illinois are to be screened for depression.

Dr. Karen R. Effrem, another physician and leading opponent of mandatory screening recently stated, "Universal mental health screening and the drugging of children, as recommended by the New Freedom Commission [presidential commission], needs to be stopped so that many thousands if not millions of children will be saved from receiving stigmatizing diagnoses that would follow them for the rest of their lives. America's school children should not be medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous medications based on vague and dubious diagnoses."

Dr. Effrem warns of the following:

  1. Parental rights are unclear or non-existent under these screening programs.
  2. Parents are already being coerced to put their children on psychiatric medications and some children are dying because of it.
  3. Mental health screening does not prevent suicide.
  4. Mental health diagnoses are "subjective" and "social constructions" as admitted by the authors of the diagnostic manuals themselves.
  5. Most psychiatric medications do not work in children.
  6. The side effects of these medications in children are severe.
  7. The untoward influence by the pharmaceutical industry, or at least the impropriety, is abundantly clear in two important aspects of this issue.
  8. Merging screening with the academic standards required by No Child Left Behind, as is happening in Illinois, will lead to diagnosis for political reasons. School mental health and violence prevention programs funded by NCLB and government counterterrorism operations are already using such criteria as "homophobia" and "defenders of the US Constitution against federal government and the UN" to label school children and US citizens as mentally unstable and violent.

Texas first...Illinois second...and the rest of America to follow if we aren't successful within the next 24 to 36 hours. We'll be calling on House members' offices tomorrow asking for votes in favor of Dr. Paul's amendment to stop this forced, federal mental-health screening.

Join concerned citizens from Eagle Forum, Gun Owners of America, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Concerned Women of America, Freedom 21, the Alliance for Human Research Protection, and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology to get Dr. Paul's amendment passed.

One last note...if mental-health screening for every American child isn't bad enough, how about mandatory mental-health screening for every American adult? Yes, that's coming too. The final report of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health states, "Both children and adults will be screened for mental illnesses during their routine physical exams."

Please help. Urge your U.S. representative to support the Paul amendment and ask family and friends to do the same. To send your message, go to capwiz.com/liberty/issues/alert/?alertid=6333001&type=CO

After you've sent your message, forward to your family and friends the following page: www.thelibertycommittee.org/update09.07.04.htm

Kent Snyder
The Liberty Committee

Details of Dr. Effrem's Points:

"Bush to screen population for mental illness" by WorldNetDaily.com