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“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Jul 15, 2011

Could the Age of Consent be a Front for Using Children?

This was first published on January 1, 2011 with the title "A Reader Asks"

"Since the drugs your son was supposedly trialing were already on the market, one wonders where the added research value was. The only explanation could be that he was on them to trial their use in children. I'm sorry I'm not 100% aware of what's on your blog, but how aware are your local papers of the tie-in between the age of consent being a front for child guinea pigs?"  Asked by Rossa Forbes, a fellow blogger and parent in response to What is the Scientific Basis for Psychiatric Treatment?

I would say that whatever awareness there is, it is apparently not considered newsworthy.  In my opinion, there is a failure of both print and television journalism to report news about mental illness and treatment issues; accurately.  I have written about the lack of ethical conduct in psychiatry, research, pharmaceutical companies business practices, and social service systems.

But your question raises a question that I'm not sure I can answer.  The story of what happened to my son is not unknown I have shared it with many people over the year. I've also filed criminal and civil complaints with "authorities" who failed to act on them; including Protection and Advocacy, known as Disability Rights Washington; the Office of Civil Rights, Health and Human Services, the State of Washington's Behavioral Health and Recovery, Children's Administration, my State and National Senators and Representatives, Yakima Police Department, and the Department of Justice, as was recommended by the local FBI office.  I do not have an explanation why such egregious criminal behavior is not being aggressively investigated or for what reason that the Attorney General, Rob McKenna is not prosecuting criminals who victimize children and adults with psychiatric diagnoses.

I know that the Children's Administration Region 2 Area Administrator, Ken Nichols refused to correct an injustice that existed because the department failed to comply with Yakima County Superior Court Order, in my son's case.  By all appearances, his department deliberately took steps to prevent my accessing the services the Commissioner Court Ordered Children's Administration to assist me by facilitating Isaac's transition into the adult mental health care system.  I know when I found out Ken Nichols had the authority to resolve the issue more than two years into this injustice; I asked him to do so.  The Administrator agreed that it was wrong, he acknowledged having the authority to correct the situation, but said he would not do so.  He refused, and would not give me a reason why.   

Once again, I had to have a State Senator assist in having the issue resolved, because a paid public servant was refusing to comply with RCWs, and WACs and a Superior Court Order...It took three weeks.  It took more than 2 years to even find out what the department had done; and what needed to take place to fix it. 

I know that a couple days ago I was asked by someone I met in Washington DC in December 2009, if it was true that I am "anti-medication?"  The question was asked because he was told by a Yakima County employee who works on the local Systems of Care Federal Grant project; that I am "anti-medication."

I was handed a letter asking me not to come to any more meetings held for or by Yakima Valley Systems of Care by then Project Director, Gretchen Waschke on June 9th.  The last time I had spoken directly with Ms. Waschke prior to her handing me this letter was in a meeting 1:1 on May 21st.  The hour and one half meeting ended with her assuring me that she was certain that she could help me access more appropriate, supportive services for my son; and she said she would be in touch with me.  I did not have any confidence in her sincerity, and told her as much.  as is typical, for mental health professionals I share my distrust with, my lack of trust was invalidated by Ms. Waschke.  I had not believed her when she expressed her confidence in finding supportive services to help facilitate my son's recovery.  So, when 18 days went by and I had not received a call or an email for Ms. Waschke, her failure to follow through did not surprise me.   Due to the outrageous way I had been treated on May 20th in the FDDT meeting, I had decided to no longer attend the meetings in person.  I planned on attending by conference call, as Vicki Rich had told team members this was an option.  I needed to minimize my stress and distress; and I still wanted to participate.  

I took Isaac to the Youth team meeting on June 9, 2010.  Ms. Waschke was with Isaac outside when I arrived to pick him up, and she handed me a letter on the street.  We chatted briefly after I'd read the letter.  I asked Ms. Wasncke who had complained about me, and was told that the parent coordinator, Vicki Rich's sister, a woman who has been an acquaintance for over a decade.  I had not even spoken to her on the phone or outside of FTTD tream meetings and events since being involved with the team.  I was also told that the social marketer, Tina Gonzalez Wilson, complained. I also had no contact with Ms. Wilson outside of FDDT meetings.  I have no idea of  the veracity of Ms. Waschke's claim that these complaints were actually made.  I know I was treated very badly by County employees the day before I met with Ms. Waschke 1:1 meeting on on June 21st.  

The specific allegation that I can only attribute to Ms. Waschke herself, is that it was my fault the project was failing to progress as it should.  The lack of progress on the project, and in the FDDT meetings, had nothing to do with the fact the family coodinator had never chaired any kind of a meeting; had not led a group project of any kind.  For the first several months after she was hired Vicki repeatedly complained to me that she had no idea how to do the job she was hired to do; and repeatedly sought my advice. Ms. Rich told me that I couldn't come to meetings---she claimed the Project Director, at the time was Lauri Leaverton, and Vicki claimed Ms. Leaverton had advised her not to involve me at all.  Vicki said this was due to my having been critical of Steve Hill, the Director of Human Services for Yakima County. I have been critical of Mr. Hill for years, for good  reason.  

It did not occur to me until much later, that there was no way that Lauri Leaverton would have known of my criticism of Mr. Hill since I had not seen or spoke to Lauri Leaverton in years, at that point.  Not since the last Dependency Court hearing in Yakima County Superior Court.  

I found it incredible that Lauri Leaverton was advising Vicki Rich to exclude me from the SOC project; but I assumed it was true---It hurt my feelings. Although I found what Vicki was telling me odd; it never dawned on me that Vicki's claim was based on what were then my current criticisms of Mr. Hill.  It was only much later that I realized Vicki Rich was the only person involved with the SOC project who could have known about any current, ongoing criticisms I had about Steve Hill's ability to do his job ethically, or legally.  I just accepted based on Vicki's say so that Lauri did not want me involved in the FDDT or the SOC project.  

After a few weeks of meeting with Vicki in the parking lot out back form the SOC offices, she told me that Lauri Leaverton had been fired.  Vicki said Lauri had broken my confidentiality in conversations with her and that she had reported this ethical violation to Kim Tulley, her mentor who was the Assistant Director of Human Services for Yakima County.  She was happy that as a result of her reporting this alleged violation of my confidentiality got Lauri Leaverton fired. Vicki Rich told me not to tell anyone, since she was required to keep the information confidential.  She was in fact breaking the same Law she had accused Lauri Leaverton of breaking in order to get rid of Ms. Leaverton.  She was telling me all of this because she said, it meant I could now be involved with SOC. I was floored--The woman seemed to have no recognition of the moral inconsistencies in her behavior. The fact is, Ms. Rich casually and carelessly broke Ms. Leaverton's confidentiality, because it suited her personal agenda. It is how she makes all of her decisions--which is why she does not perform her job as if she is a public servant, with a duty to the people she serves.  

Brief summary of my criticism of Steve Hill
Specifically, Steve Hill failed to perform his duty to ensure the main contracted service provider Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health fulfilled their contract with Yakima County.  The contract required that EPSDT mental health services be provided, because it was a requirement of the Federal Medicaid program for Washington State to participate.  Although the RCW's, the WACs, the contracts between CWCMH, Yakima County, Greater Columbia Behavioral Health RSN, Washington State, and the Federal Medicaid program all clearly required EPSDT mental health services must be provided to children enrolled in the Medicaid program, the only place they existed in this community was on paper and on the internet.  At the same time, CWCMH was using 'excess funds' to provide services to adults who were not seriously mentally ill, and who were not eligible for Medicaid.   These were not 'excess funds' they were funds paid to CWCMH to provide contracted services.  Instead, the agency decided to purposely not provide day-treatment, intensive in-home services for children that needed them.  These services were only provided for children in foster care, but not to Medicaid eligible children in their own home.  The children who needed day-treatment and intensive in home services ended up in inpatient hospitals, residential treatment centers, group homes and Juvenile Justice facilities.

Ms. Waschke further alleged that the lack of progress in the SOC project was attributed to me.  This assertion begs the question: To what is the lack of progress in the 6 plus months since I have been excluded being attributed to?  The community is still largely ignorant of this project; and that the Yakama Nation and Confederated Tribes and Bands is still not involved.

None of the ideas that were brought forth by the community members were acted upon.  Decisions made by the FDDT members about group structure and function were changed by Yakima County Staff, without explanation.  Anyone who would like verification of these facts, need only to ask and I will share the documents and emails that show this pattern of deception on the part of County employees.

I can not make any one do anything nor can I stop another person from doing anything.  I have never been "anti-medication."   I am PRO "INFORMED CONSENT."  I am PRO PARENTAL RIGHTS.  I believe in the United States Constitution and KNOW it is the Law of the land.  I believe that psychiatrists, and other mental health practitioners and those in the Justice system who are now acting on mental health professional's recommendations and petitions should be held to the Ethics Guidelines of their chosen professions and The US Constitution.  I believe that those mental health practitioners whose petitions do not conform with the law should be held accountable in Courts of Law; since failures to adhere to these standards are in fact CRIMES.  That Psychiatry and mental health professionals have police powers to detain and court order our loved ones and ourselves to what can be potentially disabling and/or fatal treatments, is horrifying; given the lack of integrity, lack of Ethical Practice, and LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY for DISABILITY and DEATH caused by the "treatment" provided.

I KNOW that anyone who has been given the information to make an informed choice has the right, and should have access to whatever medication could be helpful to them.  I KNOW that no person should be given ANY MEDICATION without INFORMED CONSENT, under ANY circumstances.  I KNOW that the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of the MENTALLY ILL and PARENTS OF MENTALLY ILL CHILDREN are violated every time that INFORMED CONSENT does not occur, and coercion is used to gain "medication/treatment compliance," with or without a court order.  I KNOW that the AGE of CONSENT in Washington which is 13 is used by unethical mental health practitioners who mislead and exclude parents.  I KNOW doing this IS a VIOLATION of both the PARENT'S and the child's CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, and State and Federal Child Welfare and Medicaid Law.

I KNOW that lack of INFORMED CONSENT constitutes a HUMAN RIGHTS violation which VICTIMIZES fragile human beings, and diminishes all human beings. That this is happening as a matter of course, I have no doubt.  Why it is not being reported in the mainstream news media I believe, is due to a lack of Ethics in the journalism profession.  What causes the Free Press to forgo the Ethical practice of journalism? It may be, I believe, the Conflict of Interest which exists due to the massive amount of income that the media  derives from direct to consumer marketing of medications.  Another factor may be that the majority of Newspaper, Television and Radio Stations are owned by a few news conglomerates; in reality, what is and is not considered news, and how it is reported, is determined by a relative few.  News media have the power and ability to inform or misinform the public, based on the editorial decisions of a relative few. It would not surprise me if these same individuals and entities own stock in the drug companies they advertise for.

I do not believe the local paper is interested in the reporting local mental health news at all.  When I spoke to an editor of The Yakima Herald Republic about the failure to report anything of substance on a 9 million dollar Federally funded 6 year project that is two years old; no answer was forthcoming.  The comments made on the Yakima Herald website are indicative that a story of public interest exists, in my opinion. I have shared my blog with a local television reporter, who apparently is not interested in reporting the news.  I know this failure is not unique to this community.

Failure to report news on mental health issues accurately, using the Ethics Code for Journalism  e.g.: independently verifying facts, reporting disputes, different interpretations, viewpoints when there are controversies.  Checking facts, not simply repeating whatever sound bites or marketing message delivered is pseudo-news, it is not ethical and it is not indicative of having journalistic integrity; it is not reporting.  When a reporter fails to check facts before hand, they are not in fact, practicing journalism ethically; or providing a public service.  When journalists simply regurgitate information that has not verified independently, or fail to report conflicting viewpoints of a controversial issue, they are ADVERTISING; not serving the public interest or REPORTING the NEWS.


Gina DeLuca said...

Becky, another excellent blog post! You wrote: "I have shared my blog with a local television reporter, who apparently is not interested in reporting the news. I know this failure is not unique to this community." The problem in MSM, local, national, global is the same and you are spot on: one cannot hold stock in an "entity" and also expect to report fairly on it.

The same problems exist with any of the "Big" conglomerates, the two I take particular issue with are big pharma and chemical corporations: pharmaceuticals and chemicals in our communities -- both are toxic, and toxicity is in the dose. Evelyn Pringle has also reported on MSM's utter failure to report the news with any modicum of professionalism, specifically with regard to chemical manufacturers.

Our children, some are still babies, are being poisoned, forcibly, via coercion under the guise of "best interest". The only hope of protecting families at-risk of buying into the lies of psychiatry and big pharma, and especially giving voice to the tiniest, voiceless victims, is to continually share our testimonies, share our knowledge, share the truth.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the follow-up. My main point is about trialing meds in children. How aware is the public of this? The public seems to "accept" to one degree or another the use of neuroleptics in children (as so many children are on them, many at the urging of the parents) but how aware is the public that these kids are actually being used to trial the meds? There is a difference here. Yes, people know that the drugs generally aren't licensed for children under 18, but they also know that a lot of drugs are used off-label in adults. I'm questioning using the practice of knowingly using children in drug trials.


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