CHOICES Back on Track

Jim Gottstein, JD
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Last year, when I wrote Lessons from Soteria-Alaska, I reported that CHOICES, Inc. had lost its way. I wrote about how its Executive Director had no background in peer-driven services and did not understand CHOICES’ founding principles, and it was implementing an ACT team, which stands for Assertive Community Treatment.  The “assertive” part usually means coercion, and ACT Teams around the country are mainly about enforcing medication compliance.

CHOICES’ board of directors felt I had been unfair and that its ACT team was not going to be coercive or insist that people take psych drugs. I was skeptical.

There is no doubt in my mind that CHOICES was on the wrong path, but since then it has had a number of changes in Executive Director and recently hired Alan Green to that position. Alan comes to CHOICES from Nebraska where he developed and implemented the only state-funded peer-run programs in Nebraska accredited by CARF, formerly known as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, including two respite houses, supported employment services, prison reentry and crisis intervention programs. I have talked to Alan and he is committed to getting CHOICES back to a peer-run program.

Talk is one thing, but I recently had a positive experience with CHOICES. I was representing someone who was psychiatrically imprisoned and facing forced drugging. I contacted CHOICES to see if they would offer a less-restrictive/intrusive alternative (in The Illegality of Forced Drugging and Electroshock, I write about people’s right to less-restrictive/intrusive alternatives), and found the CHOICES ACT team lead to have exactly the right attitude.

My client is now out of the hospital, no longer subject to a forced drugging order and working with CHOICES. CHOICES’ ACT program is built around the “Housing First” concept. One of the things that Dr. Loren Mosher testified to in the Myers case was that it is pointless to try and help someone without stable housing. But I digress.

I have recently established a collaboration with Dr. Peter Gøtzsche, author of Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial, to testify electronically as an expert witness in forced drugging cases, and I plan to regularly propose CHOICES as a less-intrusive alternative in implementing A Three Pronged Approach to Mental Health System Change.

An expert witness and a less-restrictive/intrusive alternative are critical elements to challenge psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging. It is my hope to mount a serious challenge to the current lock-them-up-and-drug-them approach in Alaska with these two resources.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Jim,

    We need lawyers at every level of this. The drugs only exist because they are a surer and faster acting alternative to psychotherapy. We need to be filing every kind of lawsuit possible.

    An Alternative To Murphy:
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/our-own-bill-to-counter-murphy-t359.html

    Where is there another forum and other people on the ground that are centered on legal and political action, instead of therapy, recovery, and healing?

    Nomadic

  2. Jim, It’s good to see you continuing this work. I hope over time that you will (and perhaps already have) inspired a number of other lawyers to take on these cases of opposing forced treatment. We need many such lawyers; some in every state who are more knowledgeable about the nature and harms of (forced) drugging and ECT, and who can speak up for the voiceless.

  3. Thanks, Jim, for hopefully working to help change the US laws, so the ‘mental health’ industry will start actually helping people, rather than just force medicating people for profit, like this now FBI arrested and convicted doctor did to me:

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/oak-brook-doctor-sentenced-two-years-prison-connection-kickback-scheme-sacred-heart

    I hope the right of the psychiatric industry to force medicate for profit, also known as “snowing” a patient by the FBI apparently, is taken away. In my case to cover up medical evidence of easily recognized iatrogenesis (a “bad fix” on a broken bone), prior complex iatrogenesis (anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning), as well as medical evidence of the sexual abuse of my small child.

    And what happened to me seems to be somewhat the norm for today’s psychiatric industry, not the exception. Given the reality that covering up child abuse seems to be the primary function within society of today’s psychiatric industry. Since, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”

    I do so hope you may help assist in getting today’s psychiatric industry out of the business of covering up child abuse and easily recognized iatrogenesis for the historic “two original educated professions.” I know I was unable to find a lawyer, and most my friends from youth had become lawyers, so this is pretty pathetic. Although, in my friends defense, I did not ask many of them for legal assistance, since it took me more than the two year statute of limitations on malpractice to research medicine and find the medical explanation for the medical crimes committed against me.

    But with the internet, hopefully, all patients will soon be able to research more quickly the reality that today’s “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations are known to medically make a person “psychotic,” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    And that the neuroleptics / antipsychotics, today’s “schizophrenia cure,” can not just make a person “psychotic,” one of the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. But the “schizophrenia cure” also causes the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via NIDS:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-Induced_Deficit_Syndrome

    We do need the US lawyers to wake up, and start bringing about justice in this country, thanks for being one of the few, Jim.

  4. Wow, this is good news indeed. (Incidentally, Alan was my dad’s first name.) I am concerned, as we all are, about the co-opting of the peer movement. It really needs to get back to its true intention.

    I recently started an antipsychiatry group. A potential member asked if we were antipsychiatry or “the usual neurodiversity/mad pride thing.” I replied that our group’s focus was human rights and dignity, where force has absolutely no place at all.

    We need to keep offering alternatives. And we need also to be shining examples of the Other Narrative, the one that affirms that we are better off without force or coercion in our lives.