Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chemical Straitjacket

I'd like to write it my own way, but I can't beat the intro paragraph from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

"Soon after taking over as chief psychiatrist at San Diego County's Juvenile Hall in 2000, Dr. Marjorie Shuer said she discovered many of the children were being given such heavy doses of psychotropic drugs that they couldn't function in school and didn't want to leave their cells.
Shuer reported the problem to her superiors at the County Department of Health and Human Services. A few months later she was fired."

Shuer didn't stop there. She took the department to court for wrongful termination.

More from the Union-Tribune, "When she tried to persuade her bosses to overhaul policies governing the use of drugs, the lawsuit said, she was told to "buy into the current system" and "turn a blind eye" to the conduct. "

What Ms. Shuer discovered is that today's psychiatric environment is a hotbed for knocking people out with heavy psychotropic drugs and calling it "therapy" when in fact it is simply the application of a chemical straitjacket. If you give a guy enough of these drugs he is no trouble at all. He will no longer argue with you and question what you say. In fact he will no longer care about anything at all. In fact he will no longer think. In fact if you give him enough, he will die.

The article tentatively offers a cautious silver lining with intimations from managers of the department that say things have changed since the Shuer incident. But in the opinion of this writer, those statements are probably PR, but not fact. As long as facilities like this are being run by people who think that sanity vs. insanity is controlled by "brain chemicals" (which has never been proven and coincidentally isn't true) we will have people forcing kids to take Ritalin or Prozac or other psycho drugs that make people crazy, in the name of "therapy". This kind of stuff gives "therapy" a bad name. Don't you already recoil a bit when you find out somebody has been in "therapy"? You immediately begin to wonder whether this guy has been handled in such a way he has now become a killer or a suicide risk, or at least some kind of basket case that can't manage his own life.

It's not hard to imagine the gestapo-style police coming to your home with their dark glasses on, announcing that you have been ordered to "therapy". That happened in Russia, over and over, for 50 years. It was their way of handling political dissidents. Their version of "therapy" was not dissimilar to the kind that Ms. Shuer found in the San Diego County Juvenile Hall.

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