May 21, 2003
Contact: Marla Filidei
CELEBRITIES KELLY PRESTON AND KIRSTIE ALLEY LEAD PARENTS IN
MARCH AGAINST THE COERCIVE PSYCHIATRIC DRUGGING OF AMERICA'S
U.S. House of Representatives
Passes H.R. 1170 to Protect Parents and Children
On May 19th in San Francisco, actresses Kelly Preston, Kirstie
Alley and her daughter protested against the American Psychiatric
Association's (APA) recent opposition to two federal legislative
initiatives. The legislation is designed to protect parents from
being coerced by schools into drugging their children with potentially
addictive psychiatric drugs. The march included parents whose children
have tragically died from prescribed psychiatric drugs.
The APA opposes federal bill, H.R. 1170, The Child Medication
Safety Act of 2003, and an amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities
in Education Act (IDEA), that would prohibit school personnel from
forcing parents to drug their children as a prerequisite for educational
services. However, on May 21st, the U.S. House of Representatives
passed HR 1170 by a vote of 425 to 1.
Ms. Preston said, "This is a tremendous step
in the right direction for children, their parents and teachers.
However, we must ensure
that both bills are enacted to protect children against these abusive
psychiatric drugs. Certainly, parents should never be forced to
drug their child."
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
(CCHR), the leading international psychiatric watchdog, organized
CCHR president, Ms. Jan Eastgate, declared that, "with eight million
children now on stimulants and antidepressants, young lives have
already been lost and many more are at stake. Parents must take
back the reins. These laws will help them and improve the teacher/parent
Four states have already passed similar bills
and another 16 have introduced bills this year. While the APA
claims this legislation
could "effect communications between teachers and parents," parents
who have lived the terror of coercive psychiatric interference
in their child's education vehemently disagree.
One such parent, Lawrence Smith, was threatened
with criminal charges if he refused to drug his son, Matthew.
In 2000, a Michigan
coroner determined that 14-year-old Matthew's tragic death was
caused by the Ritalin forced on him through his school. Now paying
the ultimate price, Smith stated, "This legislation will prevent
parents from being terrorized because they choose to have a drug-free
child. Most importantly, it will save young lives and save families."
Mrs. Vicki Dunkle was pressured by a Pennsylvania school psychologist
to seek out drug treatment for her daughter Shaina, and referred
her to a psychiatrist who, after a 30-minute evaluation with no
tests or physical exams, diagnosed her with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) and prescribed her an antidepressant. On February
26, 2001, at age 10, Shaina died due to toxic effects of the drug
prescribed, according to a coroner's determination. Both parents
have subsequently become outspoken critics of the psychiatric drugging
of children, and have helped form a grassroots parents organization.
CCHR further charged that opposition to these
bills is about protecting the more than $1 billion-a-year child
drugging industry in the
United States. Millions of children are being labeled with ADHD,
which was voted to be a "disorder" by APA committee members in
1987. Since then there has been a 900 percent increase in the number
of children "diagnosed" with ADHD and a 665 percent increase in
the production of cocaine-like stimulants for children. Passed
off as a "neurobiological" disorder when there is no scientific
evidence to prove ADHD exists, Eastgate said, "Children can have
behavioral or academic problems but that doesn't mean this is a
'disease' requiring psychiatric intervention, usually drugs."
Ms. Preston added, "If a child is struggling
in class, he or she may be creative or highly intelligent and
be simply bored. Environmental
toxins or allergies may also be affecting the child. I am sure
parents would prefer a workable alternative to drugging a child.
They must have the right to choose, instead of being coerced into
a situation where it's drugs or dismissal."
Other well-known celebrity activists have been outspoken on this
issue. Last September, Lisa Marie Presley testified before the
House of Representatives Government Reform Committee in support
of federal protections against coerced child drugging. Recently
on Capitol Hill in March, Juliette Lewis visited members of Congress
to voice her support for the issue. Priscilla Presley was a featured
speaker and presenter at an annual CCHR awards banquet to help
focus attention on the matter. Isaac Hayes has recently spoken
out on the overrepresentation of African American children being
prescribed psychiatric drugs and supports the federal bills. Anne
Archer, Catherine Bell and Lynsey Bartilson have supported this