Deep Sleep “Therapy” in Australia in the 1960s & ’70s: Could Something Like This Happen Today?

Philip Hickey, PhD
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Here’s an interesting story from Australia, recently back in the spotlight.

From 1962 to 1979, psychiatrist Harry Bailey, MD, serving as chief psychiatrist at Chelmsford Private Hospital in New South Wales, practiced “deep sleep therapy,” which involved keeping people in barbiturate-induced comas for days or even weeks.  Twenty-four of the individuals who received this “treatment” died while still in the hospital.  Many more died or showed permanent brain damage after discharge.

According to Wikipedia, deep sleep therapy (also known as prolonged sleep treatment or continued narcosis) “is a psychiatric treatment in which drugs are used to keep patients unconscious for a period of days or weeks.”

Deep sleep therapy has a checkered history.  It was first tried by Neil Macleod, a Scottish psychiatrist, at the turn of the twentieth century, but it didn’t catch on, and was soon abandoned.  It was re-introduced in 1915 by Giuseppe Epifanio, an Italian psychiatrist, using barbiturates to induce sleep.

In the 1920s, the procedure was adapted by Jakob Klaesi, a Swiss psychiatrist, also using barbiturates marketed by the pharma company Roche.  In Klaesi’s first publication on this matter, he acknowledged that three of the 26 patients had died during the study due to broncho-pneumonia or cardiac hemorrhages (here, pp 334-335).  This is about 12%.  Nevertheless, the method achieved some popularity in the ’50s and ’60s and was used by William Sargant in the UK and Donald Cameron in Canada, both considered eminent psychiatrists: Dr. Sargant was president of the psychiatry section of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1956-57, and was a founding member of the World Psychiatric Association.  Dr. Cameron was president of the American Psychiatric Association (1952-53), Canadian psychiatric Association (1958-59), American Psychopathological Association (1963), Society of Biological Psychiatry (1965), and World Psychiatric Association (1961-66).  He has been criticized for administering electric shocks and drugs without consent and for his role in the development of psychological torture techniques. (here)

In 1972, Dr. Sargant co-authored with Eliot Slater and Desmond Kelly An Introduction to Physical Methods of treatment in Psychiatry (Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1972).  Here’s a quote from the text, taken from the Wikipedia article on Deep Sleep Therapy:

“Many patients unable to tolerate a long course of ECT, can do so when anxiety is relieved by narcosis … What is so valuable is that they generally have no memory about the actual length of the treatment or the numbers of ECT used … After 3 or 4 treatments [without narcosis] they may ask for ECT to be discontinued because of an increasing dread of further treatments. Combining sleep with ECT avoids this … All sorts of treatment can be given while the patient is kept sleeping, including a variety of drugs and ECT [which] together generally induce considerable memory loss for the period under narcosis. As a rule the patient does not know how long he has been asleep, or what treatment, even including ECT, he has been given. Under sleep … one can now give many kinds of physical treatment, necessary, but often not easily tolerated. We may be seeing here a new exciting beginning in psychiatry and the possibility of a treatment era such as followed the introduction of anaesthesia in surgery.”

One can only wonder what the “many kinds of physical treatment necessary, but often not easily tolerated” entailed.  The Wikipedia article on Dr. Sargant is not flattering, e.g.:

“Sargant used narcosis (sleep treatment) to overcome a patient’s refusal of electroconvulsive therapy, or even deliver it without their knowledge.”

and

“There were, however, several deaths.”

Harry Bailey, the Australian psychiatrist mentioned earlier, was apparently inspired by Sargant’s methods. They remained in close contact, and reportedly even vied with one another to see which could keep a patient in the deepest coma (here).

Deaths and Deep Sleep Therapy

“Deep sleep therapy was…practised (in combination with electroconvulsive therapy…and other therapies) by Harry Bailey between 1962 and 1979 in Pennant Hills, New South Wales, at the Chelmsford Private Hospital. As practised by Bailey, deep sleep therapy involved long periods of barbiturate-induced unconsciousness. It was prescribed for various conditions ranging from schizophrenia to depression to obesity, premenstrual stress syndrome and addiction.” (Wikipedia)

“Twenty-six patients died at Chelmsford Private Hospital during the 1960s and 1970s. After the failure of the agencies of medical and criminal investigation to tackle complaints about Chelmsford, a series of articles in the early 1980s in the Sydney Morning Herald and television coverage on 60 Minutes exposed the abuses at the hospital, including 24 deaths from the treatment [deep sleep therapy]. That forced the authorities to take action, and the Chelmsford Royal Commission was appointed. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, co-founded by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, was an advocate for victims…” (Wikipedia)

Additional details of these matters are set out in a document titled “Deep Sleep Tragedy,” authored by the Public Interest Advocacy Center, an Australian non-profit association.

Here are some quotes from PIAC’s report:

“Patients were kept in a comatose state for days or weeks by massive doses of barbiturates. They lay naked on beds and were fed through tubes and were sometimes administered convulsive electrical shock treatment while in a coma.

“The treatment’s major proponent, Dr Harry Bailey, claimed deep-sleep therapy cured depressive illnesses and compulsive behavior such as drug and alcohol addiction.

“Other psychiatrists doubted the value of the treatment and were concerned about its risks. Dr Bailey and his small group of colleagues were the only psychiatrists [at Chelmsford] to use deep-sleep therapy with any frequency….”

“In 1980, the CCHR forwarded documents it had obtained from Chelmsford to the television program, 60 Minutes. The story 60 Minutes aired as a result of those documents was a powerful indictment of Dr Bailey and his col­leagues and of government inactivity. The authorities were finally stirred to some action, but what followed was a lamentable series of bungles by different parts of the bureaucracy, which ultimately led to the striking out, 11 years later, of misconduct proceedings against the Chelmsford doctors because of this delay….”

“About that time, several inquests were held into the deaths of patients and a criminal charge of manslaughter was pending against Dr Bailey….”

“After further courtroom skirmishes, the Investigating Committee referred the complaints to the Disciplinary Tribunal, the body which de-registers doctors. After further delays, the de-registration hearing finally came on in June 1986. Dr Bailey had committed suicide in the intervening period.”

In the end, the plaintiffs’ case was dismissed on the grounds that the long investigative delays caused hardship to the psychiatrists (to the psychiatrists, mind), and that the plaintiffs should have pursued their own case when they realized that the government was being slow to act.

Other Reports

The Chelmsford scandal, as it came to be known, generated a great deal of discussion and shock at the time.  Here are some additional matters that came to light through various investigations and reports.

From the Australian Dictionary of Biography: Bailey, Harry Richard (1922-1985)

“By 1979, when Bailey’s Chelmsford practice closed, at least twenty-four patients had died, others had committed suicide and many survivors suffered physical and mental complications arising from their treatment.”

“The veil of professional repute that protected Bailey began to unravel. From 1972 a Chelmsford nurse, Rosa Nicholson, documented treatment irregularities; she passed this evidence to the Citizens Committee on Human Rights, a branch of the controversial Church of Scientology. In 1978 the committee wrote to the attorney-general detailing the evidence of medical malpractice, and newspapers began to report their allegations. That year the suicide of the dancer Sharon Hamilton, a patient and lover of Bailey, and revelations that he was the beneficiary of her estate, further undermined his reputation.”

“A well-dressed, handsome and cherub-faced charmer, Bailey was charismatic, despite occasional drunken rages. A noted bon vivant, he was prone to exaggerating his achievements. Although he lapsed into periods of deep gloom, salved by drink and medication, he continued to assert that his methods were efficacious. He saw himself as a martyr, hounded by religious fanatics and ignorant critics.”

“Bailey revelled in the trappings of professional power and exploited the vulnerabilities of those in his care, having sexual relationships with a number of female patients and some employees.”

“In 1988 the Greiner government established a royal commission into deep sleep therapy. The commissioner concluded that events at Chelmsford were deplorable, and found evidence of fraud, obstruction of justice and serious medical negligence. He condemned all the doctors involved but concluded that Bailey was central and that without him there would have been no deep sleep therapy. The New South Wales parliament banned the treatment and enacted stricter regulations governing the admission and treatment of mental health patients.”

From Chelmsford Scandal: Harry Bailey & Chelmsford Private Hospital:

“Following the Aftermath of the Chelmsford scandal, severe reforms were needed with Psychiatry. The nature of Chelmsford as a private hospital meant that it did not come under the scrutiny of the public health system. Regulation of Chelmsford was thus slack, and there was no proper code of ethics within psychiatry at this time (Wilson, 2003). Slow progress took place after the scandal of Chelmsford had been exposed; there was reconstruction of a new complaints unit within the department of health services, which allowed members of the public a more direct and independent place to lodge their concerns (Swan, 1991). This was something that was severely missing in the heyday of Chelmsford as many patients had to use the media as a public forum to push for their voice to be heard. A code of ethics for psychiatry was implemented by the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 1992 (Wilson, 2003) and in 2010 medical professionals became lawfully required to report other medical professionals who practiced their medicine outside the normal accepted forms.”

“Changes to the laws and regulations were not implemented without resistance and fear from psychiatry circles.  Many professionals were afraid that rules implemented in the aftermath of Chelmsford may be over reactive and strangle the profession, taking away psychiatrists ability to practice new and ‘innovative’ techniques. (Boettcher, 1998)”

From Psychiatric Coma Treatment in Australia, 1959-1982 (review from Amazon page for the book: Deep Sleep: Harry Bailey and the Scandal of Chelmsford by B. Bromberger and J. Fife-Yeomans):

“Treatment involved people being nursed naked in mixed wards, subjected to tube feeding. Occasionally patients escaped and residents occasionally witnessed people running naked down the street, a tube dangling from the nose. Reportedly, the stench of urine on the ward was overpowering. Harry Bailey engaged in sexual relations with some of his patients and had a special room at the private hospital where he worked in order to have private time there with selected patients.”

“No referring doctors to his private hospital ever questioned anything. No nurses raised any issues with any investigative authority. A trainee nurse shocked by what she saw contacted the Health Dept in 1972, but got no response. It was only when the Church of Scientology got involved that a process was set in motion to get psychiatric coma treatment banned. However, the medical profession closed ranks and only Bailey got the blame.”

From “Horror Tales Emerge from Australian Hospital,” by Michael Perry.  Article in The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), December 28, 1990, From the Files of Leonard Roy Frank:

“Between 1963 and 1979 at least 24 patients died as a result of DST [deep sleep therapy].  Another 24 committed suicide after being discharged.

“In all, 183 deep sleep patients died either in hospital or within a year of returning to the outside world, while 977 were diagnosed as brain damaged.”

“The horrors of Chelmsford would never have been exposed had it not been for the courage of one person, nurse Rosa Nicholson.

“After a friend died following deep sleep treatment, she spent 18 months trying to get a job at Chelmsford.  In mid-1977 an advertisement in a Sydney newspaper gave her chance.

“For the next two years she smuggled hospital and patient records out of Chelmsford, photocopied and returned them.

“She remained undercover for a decade, leaking damaging evidence against Bailey to those who would listen.

“Staff said Bailey had sex with his female patients, often ordering them sent by taxi to his office or home late at night.

“Commissioner Justice John Slattery said in his 12-volume report there were ‘strong suspicions’ that Bailey was involved in the suicide of his patient and lover, singer Sharon Hamilton.

“Bailey was the sole beneficiary of Hamilton’s will.

“‘No one questioned Bailey because he was the leader in his field,’ Whitty [former ‘patient’] said.  ‘He had all the credentials of an eminent specialist – you couldn’t help but believe in him.'”

From “Australian deep sleep report awakens anger.” BMJ Vol 302, Jan 1991, pp 70-71.

“Some [of the ‘patients’] underwent psychosurgery, of which Bailey was a leading proponent. He believed that one indication for cerebral surgery was homosexuality.

“The commissioner reported that Dr Bailey had falsified death certificates and had lied to coronial inquests going back as far as 1967.

“Private hospitals are supposedly now inspected much more closely and the state’s current minister for health has taken a strong position concerning controversial treatments in psychiatry—which, by the way, has created problems for the local College of Psychiatrists, which does not want to see psychosurgery totally banned, for instance.”

Observations and Comments

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this entire matter is the fact that the continuous narcosis procedure was known to entail a significant risk of death or disability as early as 1922—forty years before the very eminent Dr. Bailey’s “treatments” began.  Remember Dr. Klaesi’s 12% fatality rate!

In addition, the 1963 edition of Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary has this to say about using barbiturates to produce sedation or deep sleep for legitimate surgical purposes:

“After Care:  While unconscious, place on side unless an air-way has been inserted, when patient may lie on back.  Watch for quiet breathing and gray color of face which should be reported at once to surgeon.  Have oxygen ready.  Never leave patient while unconscious.” (p B-9)

It is clear from this quote that there was, as early as 1963, a recognition within general medicine of the risks entailed in the use of barbiturates to induce sleep, even for short periods.  The reasons for the concern are first, that barbiturates suppress breathing, and, second, that the fatal dose is relatively close to the dose required to induce sleep.  Despite this, and the high death rate, the use of continuous narcosis at Chelmsford Private Psychiatric Hospital ran from 1962 to 1979—a total of 17 years.

Then and Now

Of course, it could be argued that the 1960s and ’70s were a long time ago; that psychiatrists are much more careful now; and that such things would not happen today.

Hmm.

Akathisia

In 1983, an article titled “Suicide Associated with Akathisia and Depot Fluphenazine Treatment” appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.  The authors were Katherine Shear, MD, Allen Frances, MD, and Peter Weiden, MD.  The article presents two case studies of individuals who had killed themselves while suffering the effects of depot fluphenazine-induced akathisia.  Fluphenazine is a neuroleptic drug marketed in the US as Modecate and Prolixin, among other brand names. Here’s the conclusion of the piece:

“Although we cannot be sure that akathisia caused the deaths of our patients, akathitic symptoms seemed to be immediate precipitants of suicidal behavior.   We urge clinicians to be alert to the discomfort of akathisia and to treat it aggressively.”

Note that although the authors acknowledge that they can’t be sure that fluphenazine-induced akathisia drove the individuals to suicide, the tone of the article and the presented facts leave the reader in little doubt that this was the case.  I have written more extensively on this topic elsewhere.

The usual treatment recommended for neuroleptic-induced akathisia, incidentally, is to withdraw or reduce the drug.

Eleven years later (1994), DSM-IV was published, with Allen Frances as the editorial chairperson.  This edition of the manual recognized the existence of neuroleptic-induced akathisia and categorized it as a diagnosis “requiring further study.”  It was coded as 333.99.  Two-and-a-half pages (744-746) were devoted to its description.  Here’s a quote:

“The subjective distress resulting from akathisia is significant and can lead to noncompliance with neuroleptic treatment.  Akathisia may be associated with dysphoria, irritability, aggression, or suicide attempts.  Worsening of psychotic symptoms or behavioral dyscontrol may lead to an increase in neuroleptic medication dose, which may exacerbate the problem.  Akathisia can develop very rapidly after initiating or increasing neuroleptic medication.  The development of akathisia appears to be dose dependent and to be more frequently associated with particular neuroleptic medications.  Acute akathisia tends to persist for as long as neuroleptic medications are continued, although the intensity may fluctuate over time.  The reported prevalence of akathisia among individuals receiving neuroleptic medication has varied widely (20%-75%).” (p 745) [emphasis added]

Another quote from the same section of DSM-IV:

“Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medications may produce akathisia that appears to be identical in phenomenology and treatment response to Neuroleptic-Induced Acute Akathisia.”  (p 745) [Bold face in original]

So akathisia can also be caused by SSRIs.

In DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision), 2000, the same two-and-a-half pages of text were included, with the addition “Although the atypical [i.e. newer] neuroleptic medications are less likely to cause akathisia than the typical [i.e. older] neuroleptics, nonetheless, these medications do cause akathisia in some individuals.” (p 801)

However, in DSM-5 (2013), the only comparable references are 333.99, “Medication-Induced Acute Akathisia” which runs to a total of four-and-a-half lines of text:

“Subjective complaints of restlessness, often accompanied by observed excessive movements (e.g., fidgety movements of the legs, rocking from foot to foot, pacing, inability to sit or stand still), developing within a few weeks of starting or raising the dosage of a medication (such as a neuroleptic) or after reducing the dosage of a medication used to treat extrapyramidal symptoms.” (p 711)

and 333.99 Tardive Akathisia, which is combined with 333.72 Tardive Dystonia and which together run to another three-and-a-half lines of text:

“Tardive syndrome involving other types of movement problems, such as dystonia or akathisia, which are distinguished by their late emergence in the course of treatment and their potential persistence for months to years, even in the face of neuroleptic discontinuation or dosage reduction.” (p 712)  [emphasis added]

Note the admission that the akathisia can last for “months to years” even if the drugs are stopped.  The notion of people suffering from akathisia for a period of “months to years” is unconscionable.  Nevertheless, it took the APA sixty years of neuroleptic use and, inevitably, sixty years of tardive akathisia before they even acknowledged that this problem was caused by their drugs.  And bear in mind that the phrase “months to years” could mean permanent.

Readers can view clips of victims of akathisia here.

Here’s a summary of the akathisia material in DSM-IV (1994) that did not make it to DSM-5:

  1. Akathisia may be associated with dysphoria, irritability, aggression or suicide attempts.
  2. Akathisia can develop very rapidly after initiating or increasing neuroleptic “medication.”
  3. The development of akathisia appears to be dose dependent. Reported prevalence is 20%-75%.
  4. Increasing the neuroleptic dose will often exacerbate akathisia.
  5. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants may produce akathisia that appears to be identical to that which is induced by neuroleptics.
  6. Akathisia can co-occur with neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia.
  7. “In its most severe form, the individual may be unable to maintain any position for more than a few seconds.” (p 744)

The critical questions are these: Why did the APA shorten the entry in question from two-and-a-half pages to a total of eight lines?  Why did they suppress the critical safety information in DSM-IV, particularly the danger of suicide and aggression?  And why was the specific and clearly-stated causal link to neuroleptics and antidepressants in DSM-IV diluted in DSM-5?

In my post of November 8, 2016, I provided numerous accounts of individuals who became actively suicidal or violent when in the throes of acute akathisia.

The Australian scandal is particularly noteworthy in this context, in that the procedure—and the deaths—continued for a period of seventeen years and involved 24 deaths in the “hospital” and multiple suicides and emergent brain damage after discharge.

Why didn’t the psychiatrists stop the procedure sooner—after one death, say, or, better still, not start it at all, since the dangers were already well known?  It also needs to be asked why didn’t the other psychiatrists at the facility confront the eminent Dr. Bailey and/or report his actions to the proper authorities.  Why did it have to fall to a nurse—Rosa Nicholson—to obtain the necessary information surreptitiously and blow the whistle?  How much longer would the carnage have continued had she not taken those brave initiatives?  Are today’s psychiatrists any more courageous than their Australian colleagues in New South Wales in the ’60s and ’70s?  Are there psychiatrists working in today’s shock shops who realize the damage that’s being done, but daren’t speak out against the “eminent” psychiatrists in charge?

Although deep-sleep “therapy” is hopefully a thing of the past, psychiatry in my view has always been more willing than real doctors to jeopardize the lives and safety of their “patients” and to dispense with the tiresome formalities of informed consent.  From about 1907 to 1930, Henry Cotton was the medical director of New Jersey State Hospital.  Dr. Cotton believed, without a shred of evidence, that infections were the source of “mental illnesses,” and launched a program of removing teeth, tonsils, uteri, spleens, etc., in the guise of “treatment” (here).  Other dangerous, and unevidenced, “treatments” used by psychiatrists have included:  malaria therapy, insulin coma therapy, lobotomy, and ice baths.  The administration of high-voltage electric shocks to the brain continues to be used despite abundant evidence of harm.

There is growing prima facie evidence of a link between the use of psychiatric drugs, especially SSRIs, and the apparently unmotivated mass-murders/suicides that have been a fairly constant facet of American life for the past 30 years.

For instance:

1. On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire on classmates at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, killing 12 students and one teacher. The pair subsequently took their own lives.  On autopsy, Eric Harris had Luvox (fluvoxamine, an SSRI) in his bloodstream.

2. On July 20, 2012, James Holmes entered the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He shot and killed 12 people and injured 70.  He had been on an increasing dose of sertraline (Zoloft, an SSRI) from mid-March until the 26th of June.  It has been suggested that he might have been experiencing withdrawal or “discontinuation” symptoms at the time of the shootings.

3. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and later shot and killed 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary school. He then took his own life.  Although no information has been made public about any psychiatric drugs Lanza may have been taking, in an August 22, 2013 freedom of information hearing on this matter, Connecticut Assistant Attorney General Patrick B. Kwanashie stated that he would not release this information on Adam Lanza, because such an action could:

“…cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications, stop cooperating with their treating physicians…” (excerpt beginning at 1:04 into the video)

which, I suggest, leaves us in little doubt that Adam Lanza was taking psychiatric drugs at the time.

4. On September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in DC, and was himself later killed by police. Alexis was on trazadone (an antidepressant SSRI).

5. On March 24, 2015, Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit, and deliberately flew the plane into the French Alps, killing all 144 passengers and 6 crew members. Autopsy report showed that Lubitz had citalopram (an SSRI) and mirtazapine (an atypical antidepressant (NaSSA) in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

And remember, this is just a short list of the murder/suicides that have made the news.  The vast majority of these incidents occur within families or small groups, and frequently aren’t even reported outside the local area.

There have been some tentative research explorations of this issue.  For instance, in 2010 Moore et al. published Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others on PLOS One.  They concluded:

“Acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Varenicline [a smoking cessation aid], which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects [SSRIs] were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs.  Prospective studies to evaluate systematically this side effect are needed to establish the incidence, confirm differences among drugs and identify additional common features.”

In 2015, Tiihonen et al published a letter in World Psychiatry, 14:2, June 2015, showing a homicide risk ratio of 1.31 (95% CI: 1.04-1.65) for current vs. no current use of antidepressants.  In other words, current users of antidepressants were about 31% more likely to commit homicides than people who were not using these drugs.

The following year, Flynn et al published a paper on 60 cases of homicide and suicide in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2016) 51: 877-884 showing:

“Thirty-three (62%) had previously been diagnosed with a mental disorder. The most common diagnosis was depression, psychosis was rare, and none of the offenders had been diagnosed with personality disorder. Nearly a third had been prescribed psychotropic medication at the time of the homicide–suicide, mostly antidepressants.” [emphasis added]

As we have seen earlier, there have been many reports of a link between acute akathisia and suicide/violence.  But it is likely that other mediation mechanisms are also at work.  Here’s what Joanna Moncrieff, a British psychiatrist, wrote in The Myth of the Chemical Cure (2008):

“Acts of violence and hostility have also been linked to use of SSRIs.  Again, quantitative evidence is difficult to find because, like suicide, extreme violence is rare.  However, evidence from case reports of violent incidents, including legal reports and data from drug-monitoring agencies, suggest that a link between SSRIs and violence is at least a possibility.  The association, if it exists, may again be attributable to activation or agitation; or it may be due to emotional blunting effects, whether these be specific to SSRIs or generic to all psychoactive drugs.” (p 170)

Other authors have written convincingly on this issue, notably Peter Breggin, MD (Talking Back to Prozac, 1995) and Joseph Glenmullen, MD (Prozac Backlash, 2001), but to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a large-scale systematic attempt to explore the possibility that murders, suicides, and the mass murders/suicides are causally linked to the use of akathisia-inducing SSRIs and neuroleptics.  Why has the APA or other psychiatric body, or indeed any group of concerned psychiatrists, not undertaken a definitive research project to explore this possibility?  Don’t they care what happens to the people who take their drugs?  And why, in such a context, has the APA truncated the critical safety information in the DSM from two-and-a-half pages to eight lines?

The fact is that neuroleptics and SSRIs are two of psychiatry’s mainstay drugs.  The prescribing of drugs and the administration of electric shocks is pretty much the totality of psychiatric activity at the present time.  Is the APA concerned that exposing the relationship in question to close scrutiny would suppress the sales of these products, and would negatively impact their members’ earning power and prestige?  Are they systematically subordinating public safety to the guild interests of their members?  They latch onto FDA approval as the green light to prescribe the drug in question even though it is common knowledge that there are loopholes and conflicts of interest in the approval process. (For example, here and here.)

The late Australian psychiatrist, Henry Bailey, peddled his dangerous and misguided treatment philosophy for 17 years, a process that directly entailed the deaths of 24 people.  Acute and tardive neuroleptic-induced akathisia has been with us since the 1950s.  Acute and tardive SSRI-induced akathisia has been with us since about 1990.  The cumulative death tolls from these reactions are unknown and probably inestimable.  Isn’t it time to address the basic question:  Are these drugs turning otherwise law-abiding people into suicidal killers?  And were the recipients of these drugs informed of these risks?

In 1998, Donald Schell, who had been taking Paxil (an SSRI) for two days, shot and killed his wife, Rita, his daughter, Deborah, and his nine-month-old granddaughter, Alyssa, and then killed himself.  In 2001, a Wyoming jury in Tobin vs. SmithKline Beecham found:

“…SmithKline 80% liable for Schell’s actions…holding that ‘Paxil can cause some individuals to commit homicide and/or suicide.'” (here)

Motor Vehicle Crashes

In 2012. Chia-Ming Chang et al. published Psychotropic drugs and risk of motor vehicle accidents: a population-based case-control study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.  The research, which was conducted in Taiwan, found a significant increased risk of motor vehicle crashes in drivers taking antidepressants in various time frames before the crashes occurred.  The time frames, adjusted odds ratios, and 95% confidence intervals are given below:

within 1 month (AOR 1.73, 95% CI 1.34-2.22)
within 1 week (AOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.29-2.26)
and within 1 day (AOR 1.70, 95% CI 1.26-2.29) before the crashes occurred.
(p. 1125)

So, drivers who had taken antidepressants even for just one day were about one-and-three-quarters times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than matched controls who had not taken the drugs.

It is of particular interest that antidepressants, both tricyclics and SSRIs, increased the risk of a crash more than benzodiazepines, which are traditionally recognized as driver-impairing.  In 2018, there were 36,560 motor vehicle fatalities in the US (here).  How many of these are attributable to driving under the influence of SSRIs, or other psychiatric drugs?  Do psychiatrists care about this?  Do they feel any sense of responsibility, or is it simply viewed as collateral damage in their ongoing and heroic struggle against “mental illness”?

Over the years, I have occasionally heard of individuals who acknowledge that while driving under the influence of SSRIs, they would feel invincible.  They would tailgate aggressively, speed, pass on double yellow lines, etc.  Are psychiatrists hearing these stories?  Are they asking about these matters?  Do they care?

Public Perception

To this day, the vast majority of the general public sees akathisia and related drug-induced movement disorders as integral to the individual’s “mental illnesses.” Which leads us to another question:

Why don’t the APA and similar bodies in other countries initiate comprehensive P.R. campaigns to set the record straight: to inform the general public that these stigmatizing movement disorders are adverse effects of psychiatric drugs?

Here again, are they subordinating the public welfare to their guild interests?

And Finally

In November 2016, I wrote:

“On September 28, US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill in the Senate titled Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act (S. 3410).  This is a companion bill to HR 4640, Veteran Suicide Prevention Act introduced in the House by Congressman David Jolly (R-FL) earlier this year.  The objective of both bills is to combat suicide deaths by ensuring that accurate information is available on the relationship between suicides and prescription ‘medication.’  At the present time, 20 US veterans a day are dying by suicide.”

As far as I can ascertain, these bills got no support from organized psychiatry and died in committee.

BUT

There are now two more bills:

HR 100, Veteran Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act of 2019, requires the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to gather various information on veterans who died by suicide in the past five years, including:  a comprehensive list of prescribed meds…including toxicology reports…specifically listing any meds that carried a black box warning, were prescribed for off-label use, were psychotropic, or carried warnings that included suicidal ideation.

S 2991:  Same title; same wording.

It is inevitable that there will be enormous resistance to both of these measures from Democrats and Republicans alike, and pharma largesse will probably flow like confetti.  If you live in the U.S., please call your House and Senate representatives, and strongly encourage them to support these bills.  The House sponsor is Vern Buchanan (Florida).  The Senate sponsor is Dan Sullivan (Alaska).  Co-sponsors from both parties are already on board in both chambers.  If you don’t know how to contact your representatives, go here.

I also challenge psychiatrists, both individually and collectively, to support these bills.  If the drugs are shown to be harmless in this regard, what do they have to fear?  But if not, isn’t it better to know the risks rather than continue to prescribe in the dark?

***

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.

67 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant! Psychiatry is evil causing terror, horror, suicide, violence and homicide. It must be abolished and outlawed for major crimes against humanity.

    Jordan Peterson had himself put in a coma last year to escape akathisia, after first being ripped off a benzo onto ketamine, ofcourse the psychiatrists were wrong – it came back. I’m waiting to hear how he is doing now and if he will start to do anything about this major crime given his massive following.

  2. Hi Phil,
    Thank the universe that you exist.

    I read it and it makes me sick. And NO, psychiatry is the same, it only knows there are people who watch and people who are not “alone”. They know damn well that people are now, and with absolute certainty will look back on this year of 2020 and think of it as bad “medicine”. Yet it continues and that is why they are so cocky. I do also know that at some point every perfect and cocky, coy system crashes.
    They are trying to save themselves before it happens.

  3. Dr Hickey,

    I wonder what you think about the ‘new and improved’ ECTs where people are sedated before the ‘treatment’ is administered. Is this not what Harry Bailey was doing? Sedating before treatment? Though obviously on a much bigger scale? And was the ‘new and improved’ form of ECTs a result of his ground breaking research?

    Bailey wrote in his suicide note
    “Let it be known that the Scientologists and the forces of madness have won”.

    It would seem not, had the forces of madness won, we wouldn’t be asking the questions we are now.

    Could something like this happen today?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id1vtGfB4Xw

    There has been a complaint lodged regarding this program,

    “Australia’s peak mental health consumer bodies have called for an apology from the producers of ABC’s Four Corners episode “Don’t Judge Us”.

    The episode has not only demoralised mental health consumers but has demonised and discriminated against people with a lived experience of mental health distress – something the consumer movement has fought for decades to abolish.”

    Imagine, a lawyer arguing that people should be denied the right to access the courts? Logic and reason replaced with opinion and speculation?

    So the producers achieved exactly what they were trying to, a stigmatisation of the ‘mentally ill’ and no doubt have assisted McGorry in his systematic dismantling of ANY protections afforded the public, never mind the ones that the ‘mentally ill’ used to have (they are simply no longer considered human in Australia). So your question is answered in the affirmative, not only could it happen, it never stopped happening.

    Thank you for your continued attempts at clawing back these rights that are disappearing faster than the sands on our beaches, with every wave of assaults like the one done by our public broadcaster on Monday. With the protections of the law being neglected by the person charged with the duty to enforce them (Chief Psychiatrist), is there any wonder psychiatrists are enjoying carte blanche with zero accountability? Your family is not safe should you speak out in my country, and that even applies to psychologists who attempt to assist the abused. So the nurse Rose Nicholson (?) was a brave woman.

    In my own participant observation at the hospital that tortured and kidnapped me, I met a man whose doctor refused to change his medication when he complained about akathesia, until he put gun into his mouth and blew away half his face. Then they decided that maybe it was time to try another approach. I wonder if one had evil intent, would it be possible to do this deliberately, and then deny that intent? You may have means and opportunity, but unless one could establish motive to harm ……. “they wouldn’t do that”, and even if they did, noting would ever be done about it. The Man of Lawlessness would simply cast the Great Delusion upon you and have you ‘treated’ for your ‘illness’ of not agreeing with him, god that he is (2 Thessalonians).

    Once again, thanks.

  4. Phil, thank you for contributing this wonderful article. Brilliant work, as always. I think it’s important that barbaric psychiatric practices like “deep sleep therapy” are not forgotten. A profession with a deep history of engaging in such practices then is surely capable of engaging in them now. I think you are right to highlight akathisia as a modern-day example of psychiatry’s continued willingness to push harmful treatments. I did not know about the changes from DSM-IV to DSM-5 in regard to akathisia. This is appalling, but of course not surprising, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. A similar attempt by psychiatry to “sanitize” it’s harmful drugs can be found in the change in bipolar disorder diagnostic criteria from DSM-IV to DSM-5. In DSM-IV, it was acknowledged that “antidepressants” and ECT can induce mania, and that such mania should not be used to diagnose bipolar disorder. DSM-5 explicitly states that bipolar now should be considered even when it is clearly induced by a depression drug or ECT. And psychiatry has a new term for antidepressant-induced bipolar disorder: bipolar III.

    This is an actual quote from a psychiatrist’s report describing the experience of a young man who fell victim to antidepressant-induced akathisia: “In hindsight, he had experienced an irritable hypomania associated with the antidepressant which unmasked a latent BAD. This is colloquially referred to as BAD III, and is a useful diagnostic indicator of bipolarity.”

    Have they no shame?

    • “DSM-5 explicitly states that bipolar now should be considered even when it is clearly induced by a depression drug or ECT. And psychiatry has a new term for antidepressant-induced bipolar disorder: bipolar III.”

      I did not know this Brett.
      There is no shame, but you know, there are many, many organizations and people in all walks of life that lie through their teeth to protect that bit of turf. It is simply about being that type of person, with those traits, so they cannot experience shame or remorse.
      I think some do but feel their job is to dear to their “selves” their identity to give up the pretense.
      Some of us just see that in fact we can experience many “selves” and shockingly might like the less pretending self.

    • No shame, indeed. I didn’t know about “bipolar III” either, but I did know that they took this disclaimer out of the DSM5.

      “Note: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.”

      The psychiatric industry is deplorable, as are all those “mental health” workers who were glad that the psychiatrists made it acceptable to misdiagnose iatrogenic illnesses as “life long, incurable, genetic mental illnesses.”

      Thank you, as always, Philip, for so elegantly and consistently speaking the truth about the psychiatric industry’s systemic crimes against humanity.

      • I have a question. Why is it even legal for non-medically trained people, people who know nothing about the common adverse effects of the psychiatric drugs – like the psychologists, social workers, and therapists – to “diagnose” anyone with any thing any way?

        It strikes me that “diagnosing” people should be left to the medical profession. But, then again, the psychiatrists claim ignorance of the common adverse effects of their drugs too, which is not very “professional.”

        • mmmm I dunno that it is.

          I can suggest to my motor mechanic that the Indicator fluid has run out and that’s why the tail lights are not working on my car, but …… it is up to the trained mechanic to ‘diagnose’ and ‘treat’ the car before handing it back to me for use. My incorrect diagnosis, if he accepted it and did not ‘treat’ according to established protocols (ie change the bulb) could result in him being sued should I have an accident as a result.

          Of course my mechanic is not in a position to have police jump me in my bed and have me dropped at an Emergency Dept to be murdered should I try and get access to legal representation to have his negligence brought before the courts but …..

          I assume you see my point?

          • Yes Dr Hickey.

            The psychiatric situation much, much worse.

            The complaints procedure is equivalent to being shot in the face by a shop keeper because you dared to question the change you were given for the transaction.

            The level of criminality that is being enabled to cover up wrongdoing absolutely atrocious where I live. And I cringe when I think about the “formal investigations” being done when a 13 year old girl walks in front of traffic and dies after being ‘helped’ by the good people at the Adolescent Unit. God help her mother if she dares to complain, she will be ‘fuking destroyed’ by a vicious psychological attack from people who will exploit her own daughters death.

            And I can say with certainty that the ‘advocates’ will assist the hospital in that regard. Quid pro quo

  5. Thank you, Phil, for this powerful and disturbing article about the distorted practices in psychiatry. The very idea of sedating people for weeks and subjecting them to ECT and other “treatments” is horrifying. Any doctor or nurse who would engage in such practices is truly operating outside of human decency. I have read about insulin coma therapy, which I thought was horrible, but this sleep therapy is beyond imagining. And the sexual abuse Bailey engaged in? Truly sick. I was just doing some research on doctors’ attitudes toward patients in the 50s and 60s and I came across a British psychiatrist who defended lobotomy as a legitimate form of treatment. My heart breaks even as I feel enraged.

  6. Dear Phil, great read mate. ‘Cowboy’ harry bailey – William sargant’s ‘deep sleep therapy’ protégé – founded Chelmsford private hospital in Sydney and was doing MK ULTRA there. This also was the case at Peat island and Milson island in the 50s, 60s and 70s. He (bailey) was part of an entourage of perpetrators who attended The University of Sydney. The entire Chelmsford medical team were previously involved in eugenics forced adoption program at Sydney crown street hospital where babies were taken from ‘unfit’ mothers, who were under hypnotic drugs. (see ‘Origins Victoria’ 2011 – submission by g.a rickarby to senate enquiry into commonwealth contribution to forced adoption policies and practices). Bronwyn Colefax was the first victim to sue bailey. Bronwyn’s lawyer had warned the CIA were involved at Chelmsford and tapped her phone. In the Chelmsford aftermath the CIA’s cult cut-out ‘Church of Scientology’ (founded. Y Lafayette r Hubbard close associate of satanist and o.t.o priest jack parsons – Alistair Crowley’s good friend) was employed to exact damage control and developed advocacy and support service CCHR. All subsequent witnesses forward testimonies and evidence were collected and thus making them targets if they publicly came forward to expose. In 2018 a judge ruled a chapter of an expose on Scientology by an investigative journalist, as defamation! (See- Steve Cannane – ‘fair game: the incredible untold story of Scientology in Australia’ and ‘Michael bachelard – how a zombie case came back to life thanks to Australia defamation law – article Sydney morning herald 2-12-2018). Chelmsford doctors were actually PAID legal costs. Judges conflicting opinions about the case being ‘too old’ or ‘not too old’ belied the abuse of process. Bailey had connections with British military psychologist Alex Sinclair who was in Papua New Guinea studying weaponised poisons and viruses (world heritage encyclopaedia – Chelmsford royal commission) and (Donald denoon:a trial separation, Australia and the decolonisation of Papua New Guinea). The rockerfeller foundation who financed the ‘institute of psychiatry’ enabled exchange of doctors between London’s Maudsley hospital and Nazi germany. Surrounding maudsley was the Julian huxley and Aldous Huxley brothers, involved in mescaline studies. (Paul Robeson jr 2010 ‘the undiscovered Paul Robeson quest for freedom 1939-1976. Wiley.. duncan Campbell, CIA finds research by Eysenck – New statesman 11-5-1979 p. 97). Harry baileys connections are seen by William Sargents involvement at maudsley.

  7. I think what is important and to keep on top of is never to look at psychiatry as “history” until it and it’s practices become history.
    We look back on 1956, and psychiatry likes that. How much they “improved”. Does psychiatry not think they will be looked back upon in 2070?
    And what will that look like? I know hard to believe that they could possibly be engaging in bad practice as we speak. What psychiatry did was become “invisible” with brain damaging drugs, that obliterate certain people. And they still hold on to the draconian reasons of why. They have squeezed their way into regular medicine and pushing their drugs and “diagnosis” wherever they can.

    And I wonder who will be known as the bad doctor. There were a ton of people helping these guys in 1956. A TON of them. A lot of nurses that never said a word. Because it was a job for them, working with lesser beings than pigs. Disgusting that these people led pretentious lives outside of their “jobs”.

    Psychiatry is trying to redeem itself, as it does every year since the first kooky obsessed men got into trying stuff that seemed interesting. Now psychiatry hides behind chemicals. They leave the dirty work up to others, as usual. At least Freud did his obsessed inventions and deliveries on his own.
    Ohh how far we’ve come.

    • I think what is important and to keep on top of is never to look at psychiatry as “history” until it and it’s practices become history.

      Good advice. I made that mistake back in 1985 when I left the mental patients liberation movement (or it left me) with a general feeling of “mission accomplished.” Was I wrong! We were about to enter our long dark night of occupation by the forces of “mental health consumerism,” a shadow from which we have only started to emerge over the past decade — and we’re still not back to square one!

      Still, the slogan “Make Psychiatry History!” still resonates.

      Auntie Psychiatry, come back, wherever you are!

  8. “To this day, the vast majority of the general public sees akathisia”

    The only thing I would say is that the vast majority of the general public have no idea of akathisia. And even if you try to bring an awareness many people are so brainwashed they will vehemently – if not angrily – not accept that doctors could do this and get away with it, not only that but blame the patient as being seriously ‘mentally ill’ and a dangerous criminal. This is why we need people like the Peterson family who have a vast following to make the public aware.
    Let’s be honest people like David Healy and Peter Breggin have not been able to reach a massive audience. I’ve just read Healy’s latest book on Study 329 – it’s an important historical work, but the general public will not buy in vast numbers and many wouldn’t grasp it and stay the course. A better way has to be found.

  9. Dr. Hickey, as always an excellent piece, and wow the brutality of psychiatry in years past is hard to comprehend but even these days psychiatry still doesn’t value people’s lives much. People who come to them for “help” are like expendable commodities and an easy means to make a very profitable livelihood by simply labelling, drugging and/or pushing ECT with a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. It sure is not scientific and appears they willingly sacrifice people’s safety, well-being and lives to preserve their status, earnings and precious egos.

    Everyone living in the US should call their House and Senate representatives to request they support these bills. And yes, I also hope there are psychiatrists out there with the integrity to step up and do the same.

  10. What scares me the most about these people is that they seem to be able to learn from their (marketing) mistakes. Their basic purpose never alters, while their propaganda strategies are forever fluid.

    Though I would not normally support the blanket condemnation of an entire group for the transgressions of some of its members, this particular group (psychiatry) has allowed so much atrocity within its ranks for such a long period of time, that I break this rule in this case.

    I am well aware of Chelmsford, of course. But as the article points out, that legacy continues. Right now we are just trying to hold back these depraved beings. At some point I hope we will be able to actually root them out.

    • “Right now we are just trying to hold back these depraved beings.”

      Interesting conversation I had with a career oncology nurse. When I explained about the enabling act with ECT by our State government she said “I thought that had been banned”. That comment from someone who has two children who are both doctors and still has close links with the ‘industry’?

      Consider that carefully. If the facts can be hidden from someone that close to the coalface …….

        • l_e_cox, there have been some developments in my State over the past few years (basically since 2014) which give some clues as to what is being done. I live in hope that someone has noticed, though as was the case in National Socialist Germany these things take time.

          The first was the stigmatizing of the ‘mentally ill’ through the media, and very little discussion of the UN report into the human rights violations occurring under the Mental Health Acts. Pointing that report out to our politicians was like throwing Holy Water at a vampire. They have come to rely on those human rights violations to maintain their positions (even our Treasurer not exempt from the use of the Mental Health Act to ensure his silence)

          So the UN report results in the Mental Health Act receiving some ‘treatment’ which is described as “added protections” by our politicians. Those protections which allow doctors to perform ECT on teenagers without fear of litigation the most obvious. (and I have since thought a lot about why they are targeting young females, and when you think about it a little the reason becomes obvious). So with those ‘protections’ provided there is a crisis meeting of psychiatrists, and 40% of them walk away from our public system as a result of the changes. Whatever it was the State wished them to do was obviously distasteful to many of them (some I assume couldn’t afford to walk away for private practice).

          And now we see a 195% increase in the administration of ECTs? And 13 year old girls walking out of the Adolescent Unit turning towards their mother, smiling and then walking into traffic.

          Of course it has been shown to me how they deal with any acts of misconduct that might result in such unintended negative outcomes. With intimidation, threats, fraud, negligence and slander. A barrage of misconduct and criminal offences which are justified because …… mental health. And they receive quite some support in these attempts to pervert the course of justice.

          It is of course best they make it look like the “patients” volunteered and provided their consent. Then if anything goes wrong they can claim good faith. Though twisting the arm of a teenage girl to have her consent to ‘treatment’ that will see you profit handsomely hardly the act of a ‘doctor’ (in the true sense of the term).

          Point being I can see the reward for those who are engaging in this experimentation, and the links to those who have enabled in with legislation, but ……. and here’s the kicker. They are going to use this situation as proof that this works, and push politicians in other places to go through the same enabling act.

          So I do nothing more than warn. This is happening right now in my State, and it will spread as a result. Failure to do anything about these ‘spot fires’ will result in a large scale bushfire later. And I get it, my home has been destroyed by these peoples need to try a few things out on some teenage girls who are damaged anyway. Nothing can be done about that but …… and I am more than happy to be proven wrong. But denying evidence/proof, and accepting the word of people who are known frauds and slanderers will not stop them targeting your loved ones as well.

          Mark my words. These lawful experiments that are being done right now will be used to justify the removal of human rights protections against the use of this brutal and inhumane treatment elsewhere in the world.

          • Thank you for this rundown. I hope that someone is resisting this. But we see how it is not too hard to overload those who work against such machinations with other problems and distractions. It is easy to get the feeling of being boxed in on all sides.

          • Yes, I did visit one of your Churches (nice new building by the way) but they tell me all work for the CCHR is being done from another State. Probably a good idea given that arbitrary detentions and forced treatment based on a bad reaction to a ‘chemical restraint’ are more than likely for anyone who dares speak out against what is being done.

            When police can refer citizens for ‘psychiatric assessment’ for being asleep in their bed well……… time for me to leave.

            And we are pointing fingers at China passing laws that MIGHT allow arbitrary detentions. A doctor can have anyone they like dribbling in a cell within the hour given that the person who has been charged with the protection of “consumers, carers and the community” doesn’t know what those protections actually are.

            Got the letter proving it but …….. nobody seems to care about Mr Cohen again lol. Despite all the talk about the nasty Nazis.

  11. The vast majority of the the public has no idea whatsoever what akathisia is, I second SPB. Whoever thinks this spends too much time around mh people and environments.

    There is a prevalent myth that simply exposing a grotesque or horribly unjust situation will cause people to rally to fight it. They also need to see it as a personal threat, individual “do-gooders” notwithstanding.

  12. Thank You Philip,

    Fluphenazine began to (discretely) go out of business in 2016. I would say that this drug was responsible for its own Holocaust. I would even say that Fluphenazine probably killed more “diagnosed people” than “the Nazis” did.

  13. Sleep therapy is still practiced in France.

    Are you sure it is not practiced in Australia or the United States?

    You can find on this forum the messages of a certain Étienne who testifies that his sister-in-law was hospitalized for a sleep cure in 2011, described as follows:

    Sleep: 20 hours a day
    for: 15 days
    Xanax infusion.

    Many French pro-psychiatric websites describe the sleep cure in very favorable terms, specifying that it is practiced in psychiatric hospitals.

    In the 90s, a doctor was given a one-year suspended prison sentence after killing his patient with a sleep cure. Nevertheless, the court does not question the practice of the sleep cure in itself, but only the conditions in which it was carried out (drug addict patient, at home, no medical supervision).

    • “Are you sure it is not practiced in Australia or the United States?”

      Our politicians gave us “added protections” in the new Mental Health Act. Usually means a con that provides doctors with the powers to use ECTs on kids without the worry of litigation. Everyone wants added protections right?

      Not only do these people have ‘work arounds’ with regards the laws, they actually change the laws to make the ‘work arounds’ possible, while providing the appearance of added protections.

      From what I have seen, the answer is no, it’s not practiced in Australia. But, like the banned practice of psychosurgery, I didn’t think that still happened until I met a guy with a nasty scar across the side of his head who was acting not too unlike someone who had been lobotomised. These podiatrists sure do have some funny ways of dealing with ingrown toenails these days lol.

      There are a lot of things being done we are not being allowed to know about. Legislation allowing the public to know what doctors are prescribing the ADHD drugs (aka licenced drug dealers), dismantled by our current Minister for Health. Euthanasia laws that do not collect data, passed without a murmur. A Chief Psychiatrist authorising arbitrary detentions in writing, not a problem. Spiking citizens with stupefying/intoxicating drugs before police interrogations, no worries. Any inconvenient questions of law to the Attorney General, referral to mental health for ‘treatment’ (eg where do I make a complaint regarding the use of torture methods by police, other than the doctor dispatching me with an overdose in an Emergency Dept?).

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