This month, May 2016, the candidates for USA President compete in our usually-missed State of Oregon, so this is a very good time to ask the following question:
“How do you stand on the controversy of forced outpatient mental health drugs?”
This is my 40th year working as an advocate for people labeled “disabled,” and I know that the topic of involuntary psychiatry can be a little complicated for people. After all, if one of our beloved family members becomes irrationally self-destructive, we can become desperate for help. However, this is such an important topic that we need to go deeper than just a bumper-sticker answer.
So, let us find out where the candidates for President stand: Are you listening Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Ted, and John?
The past few years I have been working a bunch in disability advocacy, one of the biggest social change movements in human history. How we treat the most vulnerable people in a group can be very revealing.
Let me explain a little background in brief:
For many decades, almost all USA States have been quietly passing laws that allow court-ordered involuntary mental health care, that is, of people living out of institutions in the community, often in their own homes or group homes.
Sponsors of these “involuntary outpatient commitment” laws use a more euphemistic phrase: “assisted outpatient treatment” laws. “Assisted?” Sure, the way Donald Trump is “assisting” Muslims by seeking to ban them in a bigoted way. The way bigots in Bangladesh recently “assisted” a gay rights activist by killing him.
To put it very simply: This is court-ordered coerced drugging, using a variety of methods for enforcement, sometimes even a daily visit to the person’s home.
There is a Congressperson, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who for years has been pushing a huge bill that has a section for national, federal incentives for more of this involuntary outpatient care. This Murphy Bill, HR 2646, is enormous, weighing in at 173 pages, but the worst part would be a national program for more forced outpatient psychiatry. If his bill — which he calls “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” — passes, thousands of American citizens would have court-ordered psychiatric drugs administered to them, even though they are living out in the community, many even in their own homes!
Last year I asked one of the bill co-sponsors how many Americans they want to forcibly treat? After all, some of these zealots claim that 11 million Americans need but are not getting psychiatric care. Are you one of these 11 million? Unfortunately, the co-sponsor has stayed silent about how many citizens they are going after.
Every Person Ought to Oppose the Murphy Bill!
As far as I know, every group in the USA speaking for mental health consumers opposes increasing coerced care out in the community. There are far better ways to help people.
This Murphy bill is the worst I have seen in my 40 years of mental health advocacy. Many of us in this field are terrified and working hard for years to stop this type of care!
So where do the people running for Democratic and Republican nomination for President stand on this issue?
Note that a Republican congressperson is pushing this bill, even though Rep. Murphy claims he is for “small government.” A surprising number of congresspeople have co-sponsored this bill, even some who are considered progressive, such as my own Democratic congressperson, Rep. Peter Defazio.
Bernie and Friends: Where Do You Stand?
For more than a month, one of the main psychiatrists to publicly back Bernie Sanders for President has been asking one of the Bernie campaigners, Nick Carter, about Bernie’s position. You see, Bernie opposes certain regulations of firearms because Vermont, his home state, is so pro-gun. The National Rifle Association opposes gun regulation partly by claiming that better mental health care is the solution. So asking Bernie for his position is reasonable. Unfortunately, Bernie and Mr. Carter have apparently stayed silent.
The silence about this important topic is deafening. We need to insist on an answer from everyone. A few years ago, I saw something similar happen with Ralph Nader, who was referring mental health questions to his friend, Doctor Sidney M. Wolfe, who I know from personal experience has a terrible position about forced psychiatry. Let us stop throwing our folks under the bus, whether that is a Republican bus or a Democratic bus.
To show you how bad this can get, incredibly a few years ago when I directed the nonprofit MindFreedom International, we surfaced two people who received court-ordered involuntary outpatient ELECTROSHOCK. I would not blame you if you did not believe me. To provide evidence for this, you can google these phrases:
ray sandford electroshock
elizabeth ellis electroshock
When courts order forced drugging this can be very racist, because white doctors and white judges tend to disproportionately target African Americans and other minorities. You can read more about this here:
After exchanging one e-mail with Rep. Defazio, he has gone totally silent with me. I tried to email his health person on this, Brittany Lundberg, but she has not responded to me. Readers of this blog can try to reach her in a civil way by emailing to: [email protected]
Many of us wonder why our society is not showing more passion and more creativity in the face of climate crisis. Centuries of targeting our people may be one of the reasons that the population is so conformist right now, when we should have a revolution.
* * * * *
For more information:
A Facebook group about stopping the Murphy bill:
Promotion of the bill by Rep. Tim Murphy:
A website dedicated to stopping this bill:
A moveon.org petition you can sign for free online against the Murphy Bill:
A change.org online petition against the Murphy Bill:
A psychiatrist explains opposition to the Murphy Bill in this MadInAmerica Blog entry:
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
All I know is that if Crooked Hillary gets her universal preschool alot more kids are going to be put on drugs.
“We are not here to bash the use of these medications,” Clinton said. “They have literally been a godsend to countless adults and young people with behavioral and emotional problems.” Left untreated, such conditions as ADHD prevent children from reaching their full potential in life, Clinton said.
She also said the National Institute of Mental Health would dedicate more than $5 million to research ADHD and Ritalin use in preschoolers. The institute also released a fact sheet to help parents of children with emotional and behavioral conditions understand their options…
“I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, which first aired on “The Lead.”
AND little boys who misbehave in preschool ! “We are not here to bash the use of these medications,” Clinton said. “They have literally been a godsend to countless adults and young people with behavioral and emotional problems….
God save us.
Wow, Hillary is ignorant. Did not realize she was that dumb and uninformed when it comes to psychiatry and drugs. She should read Psychiatry Under the Influence before making such stupid comments.
She wants more “drug courts” too where prosecutors and judges practice medicine without a license.
“as well as new support for specialized drug courts & juvenile programs.”
Crooked Hillary gets donations from the justice industry, private prisons and the pharmaceutical industry cause they know that drug court crap is a cash cow the way it traps people in the system.
What would happen to the prison industrial complex and mental health industry if Trumps wall kept out just one third of the heroin cocaine and meth ? They would have a shortage a costumers real quick.
They donate to Crooked Hillary for a reason, very selfish reasons.
Don’t build a wall and take on the Mexican drug cartels, instead more funding to put Americans into drug courts with coerced psychiatry to make the wrenched system even more profitable. More people subjected to cheap false positive drug tests and crooked labs.
Black Lives Matter Activist Interrupts Hillary Clinton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqLfvQfuvsA
She’s far from perfect, though that article the_cat pulled was from 2000. Also, Hillary is at least a big supporter of women’s reproductive rights. With the current situation (the GOPs incessant attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and state level laws that are limiting access to abortion), I am concerned that we could wind up with more unwanted pregnancies in this country. This has already happened in places like Texas. Definitely this is a big concern if we have someone like Trump appointing Supreme Court nominees willing to over turn Roe v. Wade
I think this is an important point for all of us here, because unwanted kids ultimately leads to more child abuse and adversity. Which then leads to more kids thrust into the mental health system…
Please don’t make me throw up. Clinton is a scumbag capitalist war criminal, along with her husband. She obviously didn’t give a shit about Iraqi women & kids.
Hopefully, as the “election” approaches, MIA doesn’t degenerate into a lot of wasted words over which criminal (or wannabe criminal) is better.
PS Surviving & Thriving — I know you didn’t actually endorse HC, but I’m ultra-sensitive to the notion that she is a friend to any but white upper class American women. To reduce our aspirations for the coming year to deciding which capitalist is worse is not the best use of our collective energy.
Socialist Venezuela Sucks So Bad It Has Run Out Of BEER
Daily Caller – 3 hours ago http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/01/socialist-venezuela-sucks-so-bad-it-has-run-out-of-beer/
Venezuela is awash with natural resources such as diamonds, bauxite, gold, iron ore and natural gas . The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the largest in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels as of 1 January 2014.
The capitalism bashing is getting old.
Want to see child abuse ? Type aborted fetus into Google, press enter, then click images.
Suicide Rate for Women Having Abortions is Six Times Higher Than Women Giving Birth http://www.lifenews.com/2014/12/19/suicide-rate-for-women-having-abortions-is-six-times-higher-than-women-giving-birth/
Every single presidential election since 1973 they tell the public to pick a candidate based on abortion views but,
Gerald Ford (1974-1977) Roe vs wade still stands
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) Roe vs wade still stands
George Bush (1989-1993) Roe vs wade still stands
George W. Bush (2001-2009) Roe vs wade still stands
But serial liar Crooked Hillary said vote me or they will outlaw abortion !!! I am not lying THIS time. Trust me.
And remember ladies what the system tells you, having kids sucks , nature sucks, what you want to do is spend your young adult life in a pant suit in some fancy yet crappy office 40 hours a week wearing dress shoes and getting nasty crooked toes,… those barefoot and pregnant women are all worthless loosers, don’t be one of them. The system has spoken.
I am probably getting crooked Hillary votes cause I am so obnoxious but oh well.
I am a friend of MIA and your work. Your article this morning got me thinking about a possible source of leverage against the Murphy Bill and that is Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA): A call to federal arms in defense of public health
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthcare/Congressman-Mike-Fitzpatrick-R-PA-A-call-to-federal-arms-in-defense-of-public-health.html#p8lfdJk4g3Kzkj0c.99
I follow Drs. Hooman Norchasm and Amy Reed who have gotten Mike Fitzpatrick to champion their anti-morcellation campaign. I perpetually try to raise the awareness of these doctors that the harm occurring is not just on the device side but also the drug side, plus the idea of “enforced treatment” of any medical situation does not seem in line with our constitution.
I hope that the good guy, Mike Fitzpatrick, might be of some assistance to your/our effort.
Mike Fitzpatrick is a racist.
What is a racist ?
You missed the point about the Congressman. He may be for small government, but he’s also for Big Pharma, the only entity that benefits from this method of alleged treatment. The patients won’t help finance he reelection campaigns, but the industry will, in spades, if the financial gain seems big enough. So- see you on enanthates and deconates.
“To put it very simply: This is court-ordered coerced drugging, using a variety of methods for enforcement, sometimes even a daily visit to the person’s home.”
We should have people refuse to open the door for the drugging gestapo causing them to smash it open and get all the violence in the name of help on video and put it on Youtube and give it to news channels.
Fortify the door a little so they have to smash and smash and smash smash there way in during the assisted outpatient home invasion.
A million views on YouTube easy and a good chance the news would pick it up.
It would be funny to incorporate a coil spring from a truck into the door fortification.You could hit one of those springs with a battering ram every 5 seconds for 10 years and it would continue to just bounce back.
I suggest a glass storm door for them to smash during the assisted outpatient home invasion, the video watching public would like that.
Be creative like in those movies where they try and keep the Zombies out.
Very timely subject, David, thank you for bringing it up. Seeing as violence prevention is the ostensible reason given for endeavoring to enact these draconian laws, maybe people should also ask what politicians intend to do about the high mortality rates for people put on these drugs as well. They could also point out that forcing drugs on people is not going to lower this mortality rate one iota, and that if it does anything, it is going to keep it up there.
Frank, I just left a reply on your comment regarding the slave owner/slave relationship between psychiatrists and their patients. It is important to realize that these people are backed up in their actions by the supreme law of the land–the U.S. Constitution. The 13th Amendment never abolished slavery–it made the State the slaveholder. Section 2 of this Amendment explains the rest.
As always it is good to see your activism and clear articulation of our most important issue. Your summary is excellent and I particularly liked your linking years of forced treatment, conformity and climate change.
I agree that this is the time for the MindFreedom forces in Oregon to take the lead and put Murphy and related issues into the spotlight, in the most effective ways you know how!
Resisting forced drugging is a basic human rights issue. Far more serious than wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Forced drugging is chemical torture.
No limits on the rules of engagement. Under international law those engaged in struggles for self determination are exempted from any obligation to take prisoners.
MindFreedom has it right, Safe House and an Underground Railroad. But this should be seen as only a start. Better to die with honor than to submt to forced drugging.
To Live And Die With Honor
Hello David. I have questioned for years what gives the “authorities” the right to impose their will upon people in addition to revoking all their rights every time the State becomes involved in an issue. A lot of reading and research led me to rereading the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As soon as I did that I realized slavery was never abolished. It just moved slavery from some people owning other people to the State owning everyone. The State became the slaveholder. Before becoming president the winner of the election, whoever that may be, must take the Oath of Office and swear to preserve, protect, and defend slavery–the job of every public servant, courtesy of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the highest law in the land.
Thanks for the quick replies from many folks to this blog! Presidential politics can heighten interest, this particular primary is getting a lot of attention, plus it is curious what each of the mainstream candidates thinks about forced psych drugging, outpatient coercion, and the Murphy bill.
I would remind everyone that we need to stay civil with each other. It is totally okay to very much disagree with each other. But if anyone goes after the motives of anyone else, I need to ask them: Is there some kind of crystal ball into the inner soul of anyone? If not, then please keep comments to civility about differences, facts with evidence, etc.
Last night I saw a rather fascinating documentary about low-level mind control, compared to forced drugging, but even low-level is bad. I saw “The Brainwashing of My Dad” last night. Frankly, I feel like we need to be careful about talking about our opposites politically. After all, even though some folks have tried to pigeon-hole me as left-wing, I have often seen folks considered libertarian or right-wing do some great stuff in the field of human rights in mental health.
Yes, our issue can be overwhelming. But, a silver lining is that people for us, such as opposing forced outpatient psychiatry including electroshock, can be from all political stripes. On good days, our topic can be an amazing unify-er.
With that, here is the URL to hear more about the documentary, and watch the trailer. I have seen a great group divided when one of their key people went extreme and negative because of this problem. The website is here, even if you are right-wing please give this a chance (after all, even right-wing people have expressed very honest and positive concern about the extreme bigotry and irrationality displayed by Donald Trump recently):
Again, please view this by still respecting folks on the other side of politics. Remember, in the past few years some of the best fighters on childhood psych drugs has been so-called right-wingers. The Libertarian Party and the Green Party are some of the few parties that have ever had official planks in their platform in recent years for our folks!
Please focus on uniting! I agree with Micah White, PhD, who helped start Occupy, that we need innovative right-wing/left-wing unity right now! Yes, that might be surprising but to have a real global revolution we need both right-wing and left-wing and libertarian. When my dad went to Normandy on day five of D-Day, no one asked soldiers charging Nazis if they were Democrats or Republicans or anything. They just ran up the hills at great personal sacrifice, and won!
Now, we need something many times bigger than D-Day, and global.
You can read about the unique and refreshing views of Micah here:
Please tell people you trust about this!
Yes, in a few weeks I intend to announce that I am running as a write-in in November to symbolically challenge my friend Rep. Pete Defazio, unless he wakes up and opposes the Murphy bill! Surprising? The element of surprise is something we often have. When we are not quite considered human, in a way we have a shield of invisibility, and that often means surprise!
AdBusters, which Micah used to work for and which launched Occupy, once did a special issue about Mad Pride. They called MindFreedom the epicenter of the Mad Movement! Micah now lives in Oregon near the coast. He knows that I am in his corner. Yes, I hope folks reading this will also be in our corner, both right-wing, left-wing, and all kinds of wings. Let us unify for global peaceful revolution! Even the Pope is calling for that!
Millions of us in the world are calling for that! We might not win, but we can make the fact that we are trying undeniable!
Nothing about you has ever struck me as “left wing,” David Oaks. For better or worse. 🙂
Though I’m sure we have serious differences over what is meant by “revolution,” what’s important to unite around for those who consider themselves part of the anti-psychiatry movement is the need to end all forced drugging and “treatment.” This should also be the basis for any coalitions. In terms of this goal the struggle against Murphy represents just about the most “politically correct” thing we could be doing right now, in the true sense of the term — i.e. combining the most advantageous strategy with the correct issue on which to focus our demands and bring together as many segments of the population.as possible.
People in the U.S. are in general not politically educated enough to comprehend class struggle, unlike the working classes in much of the rest of the world, so terms like “leftist” end up being misapplied to capitalist war criminals such as the Clintons and have become largely meaningless. In terms of our struggle, such terms are largely irrelevant, as so-called leftists and liberals dominate the psychiatric industry and support some of the most totalitarian policies imaginable, psychiatric and otherwise.
PS Good luck with your campaign!
“People in the U.S. are in general not politically educated enough to comprehend class struggle, unlike the working classes in much of the rest of the world, so terms like “leftist” end up being misapplied to capitalist war criminals such as the Clintons and have become largely meaningless.”
… Yeaaaaah. 🙁
Thanks for your article David,
It’s interesting that even here in MIA when the election is discussed as it relates to the “Mental Health” industry, we immediately fall back into the rhetoric of mainstream American politics, pointing fingers at whomever we don’t support in the next election.
The fact of the matter is NONE of the mainstream candidates (and as far as I am aware none of the third party candidates ) have the type of understanding of the culture of mainstream mental health practice that is usually discussed here on MIA.
For that reason, we can’t expect any of the candidates to support a critical psychiatry philosophy and agenda. Our voices are still outside the bounds of the “business as usual” political conversation. Virtually everybody in American culture (minus some psychiatric survivors, Libertarians, and religious fundamentalists) believe in the psychiatric dogmas of genetic basis, “mental illness”, and medication management.
We have A LOT more speaking to do before an alternative position can be included in the conversation. Getting side tracked by political finger pointing is unlikely to expedite the inclusion of criticism of current practice into the widespread convo. Virtually every politician is looking to find the genetic basis for problems in living or the “right meds” to help people “get ahead”…all the while never hearing about outcome data coming from the “developing world”, “Open Dialogue”, and philosophical challenges to the tenets of mainstream diagnosis and practice. It’s probably in our best interests to keep our eye on the ball, because whoever wins this next election is unlikely to be critically minded when it comes to psych.
Yep. Even Sanders — probably the only serious presidential ever to have sat down, years ago, with members of the psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement to discuss our real issues — is pretty much clueless, even attacking his opponents with mentalist innuendo. (Though I’m pretty sure he still would be the only one open to discussion of the real issue if the appropriate contact could be made.)
Could not agree with you more. This is NOT a liberal/conservative issue. It is a human rights issue, and crosses all political boundaries. After all, the pharmaceutical companies aren’t particularly selective where they spread their Pharma dollars, why should we be worried which side of the political fence someone is sitting on, as long as they get what is going on?
Thanks for this call to arms, David! I just had a couple of ideas about how to approach Bernie Sanders:
1. There are a wealth of consumer/survivor/peer-led groups and activists in Vermont, Bernie’s home state, which hosted at least two showings of the Healing Voices movie last week. (Not to mention MiA regular Sandy Steingard.) They may have an idea of how to get Bernie’s ear.
2. Another avenue might be one of the ongoing Sanders support groups in Oregon. From my limited experience in Illinois, these groups are more in touch with social struggles on the ground than campaign staffers. I found the latter to be a somewhat insular tribe who jump from candidate to candidate and don’t have much understanding of anything beyond electioneering. Sanders himself has always been about more than that. Probably why he has remained an Independent, not a Democrat, throughout his legislative career.
3. Sen. Sanders has done a lot of yelling at Big Pharma in the last year. Most of it has been around price-gouging, the easiest issue for an American to understand … But he also was one of the few to oppose Obama’s nominee for FDA head, Robert Califf, because of his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. (As in, joined at the hip.)
Just a few stray ideas … hope they’re helpful ?
Thanks, these are good ideas! I like the idea of asking a Vermont activist. I used my search engine and found contact info for one. Will you please email to me at [email protected] and I will include you in the email exchange, if one develops. Since my major fall, I am moving much more slowly, so I am a bit surprised that this info is not out there. Maybe it is? Someone in Vermont must have asked Bernie and his staff where they stand on some of these issues? I asked one contact a few weeks ago and got nowhere. I will also ask on the FB page to stop the Murphy bill.