TeenScreen is planting the seed of mental illness in the minds of children.
School kids are being conned into taking a survey full of loaded questions and
the results are being used to convince parents their children are mentally ill
and need dangerous brain-damaging drugs.
All children at times feel depressed or different from others, or not smart
enough, or not good-looking enough. This is normal adolescent thinking. The
TeenScreen survey asks whether the child has ever felt this way and phrases
questions to solicit one answer, yes. It takes advantage of impressionable kids
when it raises questions about normal feelings.
After taking a survey that suggests they are abnormal, the next thing you know,
Susie and Tommie will go running to the teacher saying, "You know, now
that you mention it, I do have these thoughts and feelings, I must be mentally
Mission accomplished. Two new customers. All the survey had to do was plant
the idea in Susie and Tommie's mind.
The Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health issued a report
in July 2003 urging the screening of school children in all 50 states and chose
TeenScreen as the model program to ensure that all youth receive a mental health
check-up before graduating.
The New Freedom Commission also recommended a drug treatment program based
on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which requires doctors to
prescribe specific psychiatric drugs, including atypical anti-psychotics and
antidepressants known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors [SSRIs]
that can lead children to commit suicide or other violent acts.
The truth is the New Freedom Commission serves as the hub for a grand profiteering
scheme involving the Bush administration, federal and local government officials,
and drug companies to broaden the market for the sale of expensive but lethal
drugs. If all goes according to plan, it will generate millions of new prescription
For example, pharma reaped great rewards in Colorado where over 350
youths were screened at a homeless shelter using the TeenScreen survey. It determined
that over 50 percent of the kids were at risk of suicide and 71 percent screened
positive for psychiatric disorders.
Common sense would tell a person that kids at a homeless shelter might be suffering
due to logical reasons such as not eating or sleeping properly. But you can
bet that the TeenScreen squad marched these homeless kids right over to the
nearest Medicaid office to line up funding to cover the cost of their newly
prescribed drugs. Never mind that they don't have a bed to sleep in or a dinner
table to eat at. Put them on magic pills and life will be grand.
TeenScreen is being used to push drugs on a population of kids who,
in the eyes of many experts, are already overmedicated. An estimated 10 million
children in the US are now taking mind-altering drugs that have documented side-effects
of suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence.
Carol Boyd, director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the
University of Michigan, surveyed 1,017 middle and high school students in a
Detroit-area public school district and found that almost half of the children
had legitimate prescriptions for Ritalin and other psychiatric medications.
More kids on drugs are showing up for college. The University of Mary Washington
reports that a record 24 percent of students using the school's Psychological
Services program are taking some sort psychotropic medication that is capable
of influencing a person's mental functioning.
The demand for services for 2004–2005 has risen 150 percent over last
year, according to Psychological Services director Barb Wagar. The medications
students are usually on are SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, for depression;
Xanax for anxiety, and Ritalin or Adderall for attention disorders, Wagar reports.
According Bernard Chirico, vice president for student affairs and dean of students,
this is also a national trend. "Nationally there has been a 91 percent
increase in students at college counseling taking psychotropics between 1998
and 2003," he said.
On January 13, WebMD Medical News reported the findings of a government study
that showed more Americans than ever are being treated for substance abuse,
depression, and other mental health disorders, but the treatment they are getting
is increasingly limited to prescription drugs alone.
The study assessed changing patterns in the treatment of mental illnesses from
the mid-1990s to 2001, and determined that mental health drug costs rose 20
percent each year.
According to economist Samuel H Zuvekas, PhD, who conducted the analysis, about
80 percent of the growth in expenditures can be explained by the increase in
the use of SSRIs and other antidepressants, and high-priced schizophrenia drugs
called "atypical antipsychotics," like Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Geodon.
The atypicals, which are also now being used to treat bipolar and anxiety disorders,
cost roughly $8 a day, about 100 times more than the older antipsychotic drug,
Haldol, the study noted.
Front Groups as Funnels
TeenScreen's promotional materials and websites say it's not supported or affiliated
with any pharmaceutical companies. What a joke.
Laurie Flynn is at the helm of TeenScreen. Prior to her current job, her salary
was paid by drug companies for 16 years while she was the top dog of the most
prominent industry-backed front group of all time, the National Alliance of
Mental Illness (NAMI). A group dedicated solely to promoting and selling as
many pills as humanly possible.
The pharmaceutical industry has long funneled money through front groups like
NAMI, which, in turn, provide funding for marketing campaigns.
According to Dr Peter Breggin, psychiatrist and founder of the International
Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, "These groups hold national
meetings that bring together drug advocates to talk directly to consumers. They
also put out newsletters and other information that praise medications. Sometimes
they actively suppress viewpoints that are critical of drugs—for example,
by discouraging the media from airing opposing viewpoints."
Flynn is also the author of an article, titled "Before Their Time: Preventing
Teen Suicide," in which she states: "The TeenScreen Program developed
10 years ago by Columbia University and offered in partnership with the National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill helps communities across the nation identify teens
with mental illness who might be at risk for suicide."
It's kind of hard to dispute the charge that NAMI is a funnel for drug money
since its website lists "Corporate Partners, Grants, and Foundations,"
as Abbott, AstraZoneca, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Eli Lilly, Forest Lab, Glaxo-Smith-Kline,
Jannsen, McNeil, Pfizer, and Wyeth.
So if TeenScreen is being "offered in partnership," with the NAMI,
it stands to reason that drug money is involved.
Laurie McGuire, second in command of the TeenScreen project, gave a speech
at the annual NAMI national convention, and explained the need to con kids and
their parents into taking the survey. She told the audience that while only
around 54 percent of parents would consent to the screening, when children themselves
were asked, nearly 98 percent agreed to the idea of being screened.
"Getting the kids to buy in is such an essential thing because for the
most part, you're distributing the consent forms to the kids to bring home to
their parents and bring them back. So you have to get their buy in, you have
to get them interested in it," McGuire said.
TeenScreen also recommends bribing kids with movie passes or gift certificates
for pizza parlors.
Passive Consent is another trick TeenScreen uses to get around the law which
requires obtaining a valid parental consent. Passive consent requires parents
to return a form only if they do not want their child to participate in the
screening. In Oregon, one NAMI member complained that consent forms were being
returned with a large "NO" scribbled across the paper.
The problem is, even with passive consent, parents still have to agree to seek
mental health treatment their children.
At the convention, NAMI members were told of the need to "loop" the
kids to a mental health provider. The importance of getting kids to that first
appointment was stressed. They were told that sometimes that might entail calling
insurance companies to get the information on where to go and what is covered,
and sometimes it would mean picking kids up and driving them to the first appointment.
Before the meeting ended, McGuire passed a notebook around the audience to
solicit names of NAMI members who would be willing to be respond if there were
a parental uprising against TeenScreen in their community. She explained that
they might be asked to write a letter to the editor or go to a school board
meeting, things like that.
TeenScreen has many supporting front groups listed in its informational material.
Another example of a funnel is the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance which
reports pharma financial backing equal to 53 percent of all revenue. According
to its 2001 annual report, drug companies which donate between $150,000 and
$499,999, include Abbot, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Glaxo-Kline,
and Janssen. In addition, nearly all of the other major drug makers donate a
Another favorite mantra by TeenScreen officials is that the program is free
and it doesn't get any government money. Well, something went haywire with the
"free" mental health check-up business because, according to a July
11 article in the Peoria Illinois Journal Star, in Brimfield Illinois, "organizing
the system and employing a part-time counselor specifically for the program
is estimated to cost about $100 per student."
Overall, the "Brimfield High School program alone will cost around $20,000
for the first semester," the Journal wrote.
Let me repeat that so taxpayers "get it," that is $20,000 tax dollars
per semester to run this marketing scheme for pharma.
In Florida, according to a June 5, 2003, Weekly Planet article, Gwen Luney,
assistant superintendent for supportive services for the Hillsborough County
Schools, said TeenScreen would cost the school district roughly $200,000 a year.
Drugging Kids with Lethal Medications
On June 18, 2003, GlaxoSmithKline issued a warning to British physicians against
the use of Paxil in children, and acknowledged its failure in clinical trials
"to demonstrate efficacy in major depressive disorders and doubling the
rate of reported adverse events—including suicidal thoughts and suicide
attempts—compared to placebo."
On December 18, 2003, Eli Lilly issued letters to British healthcare professionals,
indicating that Prozac is not recommended for children—for any use.
The results of a recent study conducted at the Ottawa Health Research Institute
were published in the February 2005 British Medical Journal. The study reviewed
over 700 clinical trials involving 87,650 patients, and provided an all-inclusive
look at the suicide risk with SSRIs, because it counted suicide attempts by
subjects treated for a variety of conditions in addition to depression, including
panic disorder, bulimia, and sexual dysfunction.
The study determined that patients taking SSRIs are more than twice as likely
to attempt suicide as patients given placebos. The fact that there is an increased
risk of suicide attempts for patients who were not depressed and were being
treated for other kinds of disorders is highly significant.
Most of the drugs being pushed on kids are not approved for kids, but even
if they were, it wouldn't mean much. What most people don’t realize is
that to gain FDA approval, a company is not required to prove that a new drug
is safer or more effective than an older drug. All it has to do is show that
a drug provided better results than a placebo in short-term trials of often
only 6 to 8 weeks, with a statistically significant group of patients, according
to Bob Whitaker, investigative journalist and author of Mad In America.
We know these drugs are very dangerous. Nevertheless, there has been a very
large increase in the numbers of children placed on SSRIs in the United States.
Not only that, the fastest growing segment of users are age 0–5, reported
Dr John Breeding, PhD, Director of Texans For Safer Education, and author of,
The Necessity of Unproductivity and Madness, and The Wildest Colts Make The
Best Horses, during testimony to the Texas House Select Committee, on October
He called for a ban on the use of SSRIs for children and warned, "SSRIs
are extremely harmful and addictive; and can cause or exacerbate suicidal or
homicidal tendencies; withdrawal is painful and dangerous."
Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, a court-qualified medical expert, and author of
books, Talking Back to Prozac and The Anti-Depressant Fact Book, The Ritalin
Fact Book, warns about the life-long damage a label of mentally illness can
"There is nothing worse that you can do to a human being in America today
than give them a mental illness kind of label and tell them they need drugs
and these children are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years-old being treated in this manner,"
Besides causing suicide, enough evidence now exists to prove that legally prescribed
drugs have played a major role in the senseless acts of violence by school-age
children all around the country in recent years. Little attention has been given
to the FDA’s additional warning that certain behaviors are “known
to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation,
panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe
restlessness), hypomania, and mania,” according to Breggin.
For more than a decade, he said, "I have documented in books and scientific
reports how this stimulation or activation profile can lead to out-of-control
behavior, including violence."
"From agitation and hostility to impulsivity and mania, the FDA’s
litany of antidepressant-induced behaviors is identical to that of PCP, methamphetamine
and cocaine—drugs known to cause aggression and violence," he warns.
"One clinical trial showed a rate of 6 percent manic reactions for depressed
children on Prozac," he reported, "None developed mania on a sugar
Bob Whitaker explained what's happening to people who use these powerful psychiatric
drugs, during an interview in the August 2005 edition of Street Spirit. "All
these drugs may curb a target symptom slightly more effectively than a placebo
does for a short period of time, say six weeks," he said. However, "what
you find with every class of these psychiatric drugs is a worsening of the target
symptom of depression or psychosis or anxiety over the long term."
And he added, "You see a fairly significant percentage of patients where
new and more severe psychiatric symptoms are triggered by the drug itself."
So then, "instead of just dealing with depression, they're dealing with
mania or psychotic symptoms," he said.
"They're now said to be bipolar and they're given an antipsychotic to
go along with the antidepressant; and, at that point, they're moving down the
path to chronic disability," Bob told Street Spirit.
It's brilliant from the capitalist point of view, Whitaker pointed out, "you
take a kid, and you turn them into a customer, and hopefully a lifelong customer."
"Unfortunately, the cost is dishonesty in our scientific literature, the
corruption of the FDA, and the absolute harm done to children in this country
drawn into this system, and an increase of 150,000 newly disabled people every
year in the United States for the last 17 years, he said, "That's an incredible
record of harm done."
In July 2004, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that
during treatment with SSRIs, there was a "significantly higher risk of
suicide and suicidal thoughts" during the first nine days of treatment
and that children who were first starting treatment were four times more likely
to think about suicide, and 38 times more likely to commit suicide. It also
noted that children as young as five have committed suicide while taking these
Something apparently happened between then and now because the AMA recently
did an abrupt turn around. On June 21, a MedPage headline read, "AMA Supports
Use of SSRIs for Treating Teen Depression."
Experts in the field are outraged. Dr Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of
the International Coalition For Drug
Awareness, and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? reacted strongly, "clearly
there is no logical or sane excuse whatsoever for a doctor who professes to
care about the well being of his patients to stand behind a group of drugs known
to increase suicide by double," she said.
"It took us two decades to get the FDA to even issue what little bit of
warning they gave with the black box placement on antidepressants," Dr
Tracy explained, "and then because prescribing is down by 10 percent when
it should be down by at least 90 percent, they are upset enough to make a move
"Of course," she reasoned, "this would be a necessary move to
help push Bush's TeenScreen Program through the school system, which is the
most likely reason for this seemingly insane move by the AMA. That is a program
that will really bring in the business for them."
Never-Ending Cycle of Profits
Before we focus screening efforts on the children, I think we should screen
all members of the Bush administration, and all officials at the FDA and CDC,
to find out what happened to their consciences. Lets figure out how these people
could allow pharma to push lethal drugs on kids and inject poisonous vaccines
into a generation of children, without exhibiting any sign of guilt or remorse
In February 2005, Canadian regulators ordered the drug Adderall, used to treat
attention deficit disorders, off the market after it was linked to 20 sudden
deaths and a dozen strokes, 14 of which were children.
The dramatic growth in the number of children labeled as having Attention Deficit
Disorders is man-made. Recent studies have shown that exposure to the mercury-based
preservative, thimerosal, contained in childhood vaccines until recently, not
only causes autism but can also result in a host of other neurological disorders.
And government regulatory officials knew about the harm vaccines were causing
from a study they conducted in 1999.
According to a leaked transcript from a secret meeting of a CDC (Centers for
Disease Control) advisory committee in June 2000, upon reviewing the study on
the link between thimerosal-vaccines and the rise in neurological disorders
in children, Bill Weil, a pediatrician, warned the committee, "There are
just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest that we've got a serious
problem. . . . The number of kids getting help in special education is growing
nationally and state by state at a rate we have not seen before."
Committee member Robert Brent, a pediatrician from Thomas Jefferson University,
stated: "The medical/legal findings in this study, causal or not, are horrendous
. . ."
"If an allegation was made that a child's neurobehavioral findings were
caused by thimerosal-containing vaccines, you could readily find a junk scientist
who would support the claim with 'a reasonable degree of certainty.'" Brent
said, "But you will not find a scientist with any integrity who would say
the reverse with the data that is available. . . . So we are in a bad position
from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits if they were initiated, and I
The CDC knows its in trouble for its part in the cover-up. Excerpt from pages
281–282 of the book, Evidence of Harm by David Kirby, describes an October
2003 visit by Dr Mark Geier, David Geier and Vale Krenik to the CDC Vaccine
Safety Datalink in Georgia. The VSD monitor probably gave them more information
than her superiors intended.
The monitor told the Geiers that she had been running VSD data on thimerosal
for quite some time and knew the numbers inside out. She was assigned to look
at the most recent data, checking to see what the rates for autism were doing.
She was asked to determine if the numbers of diagnoses had begun to decline,
especially in the younger children. If so, this would implicate thimerosal,
which began to be phased out in 2000.
"'The autism numbers are going down,'" she said. "'We're watching
An independent study conducted by Geiers, using the CDC's VSD data, has determined
that the risk of autism increased significantly with each additional 25 micrograms
of mercury exposure, and that children who received three mercury-containing
DTaP shots had an increased risk of autism nearly 27 times that of kids who
got three mercury-free vaccines.
Since they believe vaccines have caused the damage in the first place, many
parents resent the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is now raking in enormous
profits from the sale of drugs to treat the disorders it created.
As one activist said a while back, "It's Christmas every day for these
Countless damaged children are now being fed profitable drugs such as Ritalin,
Adderal, Depakote, Risperdal, Zoloft and Strattera, when in fact, if a child
is affected by mercury poisoning, the drugs can at best only mask symptoms.
"Do you think the pharmaceutical industry may attempt to prevent children
from getting mercury testing due to fears of losing market share?" asks
Nancy Hokkanan, mother of an autistic child.
I say yes, absolutely, if there's a chance it might lead to a decrease in profits.