From the November 2004 Idaho Observer:
Senate to consider funding mandatory universal mental health screening program for Americans
AAPS, Rep. Paul on record as opposing federal intrusion into our minds
The U.S. government is a corporation. A corporation has legal standing as a "person." Currently, the U.S. government habitually lies, does not work or play well with other nations, resorts to violence without provocation, refuses to admit when it is wrong, has repeatedly exposed people to toxic substances without their knowledge or consent and pretends that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength; this corporation’s sitting CEO has a tendency to extend to the world his "one finger salute." If we were to apply commonly accepted standards of mental health to the U.S. government corporate "person," it would be diagnosed as a psychopath. This is the "person" who is now planning to force, eventually, every man, woman and child in America to undergo mental health screening; this is the "person" who intends to force psychotropic drugs down the throat of a nation. Wow.
by Dave Eberhart of NewsMax
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004—Under new law being considered, the federal government would require that every child in America undergo psychological screening and receive recommended treatment, including drug therapies.
During the third week in November, the Senate re-convenes to consider an omnibus appropriations bill that includes funding for grants to implement mandatory universal mental health screening for almost 60 million children, pregnant women, and adults through schools and pre-schools.
But officials of the respected Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) decry what they see as "a dangerous scheme that will heap even more coercive pressure on parents to medicate children with potentially dangerous side effects."
One of the most "dangerous side effects" from anti-depressants commonly prescribed to children is suicide, regarding which AAPS added, "Further, even the government’s own task force has concluded that mental health screening does little to prevent suicide."
The bill would fund initiatives of the "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health," including a program designed to subject every school age child in the country to psychological testing and recommendations for treatment. The House has already voted to appropriate $20 million for the plan, and the Senate will be considering whether to bump it up to $44 million.
Last September, AAPS lifetime member Rep. Ron Paul, M.D., R-Tex., tried to stop the plan by offering an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2005. The amendment received 95 "yes" votes, but it failed to pass.
Paul tells NewsMax: "At issue is the fundamental right of parents to decide what medical treatment is appropriate for their children. The notion of federal bureaucrats ordering potentially millions of youngsters to take psychotropic drugs like Ritalin strikes an emotional chord with American parents, who are sick of relinquishing more and more parental control to government.
"Once created, federal programs are nearly impossible to eliminate. Anyone who understands bureaucracies knows they assume more and more power incrementally. A few scattered state programs over time will be replaced by a federal program implemented in a few select cities. Once the limited federal program is accepted, it will be expanded nationwide. Once in place throughout the country, the screening program will become mandatory.
"Soviet communists attempted to paint all opposition to the state as mental illness. It now seems our own federal government wants to create a therapeutic nanny state, beginning with schoolchildren. It’s not hard to imagine a time 20 or 30 years from now when government psychiatrists stigmatize children whose religious, social, or political values do not comport with those of the politically correct, secular state.
"American parents must do everything they can to remain responsible for their children’s well-being. If we allow government to become intimately involved with our children’s minds and bodies, we will have lost the final vestiges of parental authority. Strong families are the last line of defense against an overreaching bureaucratic state."
"Congressman Paul and several of his colleagues will never give up," adds an AAPS spokesperson. "He and his colleagues have drafted a letter to Chairman Ralph Regula, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations, asking for his help."
The letter states in part:
"We respectfully request that the following language be included in the final committee report on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2005, or any report accompanying an omnibus bill containing the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations for fiscal year 2005:
‘None of the funds made available for State incentive grants for transformation should be used for any programs of mandatory or universal mental-health screening that performs mental-health screening on anyone under 18 years of age without the express, written permission of the parents or legal guardians of each individual involved.’"
By way of background: In April 2002, President George W. Bush created the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Its objective was to enhance mental health services to those in need.
The commission concluded that there is a need to search for mental disorders—especially in children—and the best way to do this was with mandatory mental health screening for everyone, starting with preschoolers.
According to the Commission’s 2003 report: "Quality screening and early intervention should occur in readily accessible, low-stigma settings, such as primary health care facilities and schools."
The report goes on to say: "...the extent, severity, and far-reaching consequences make it imperative that our Nation adopt a comprehensive, systemic approach to improving the mental health status of children."
However, critics of the plan suggest that the random testing of millions of people makes little sense to anyone but the drug companies that will stand to profit from the potential customers.
The New Freedom Commission’s proposed treatment programs are based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP). TMAP, which was first used in Texas in 1996 and has since expanded to other states, is a set of very specific medication recommendations—most of them new, expensive, psychotropic drugs.
Despite the criticisms, the White House has remained solid behind the testing initiative, noting that the commission found that schools are in a "key position" to influence the phenomena of young children being "expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders."
But detractors are just as adamant that "problem" children in schools are readily identifiable, making the universal testing an unnecessary tool that does nothing but infringe on a parent’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s welfare.
More articles by NewsMax can be found online at www.newsmax.com.
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