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JUNE 7, 1999  5:57 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or (202) 332-5055
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Mental Health
 
WASHINGTON - June 7 - The White House Conference on Mental Health convened today in Washington. These policy analysts are available for interviews:

DR. PETER BREGGIN, (301) 652-5580, http://www.breggin.com
Author of "Talking Back to Prozac" and "Talking Back to Ritalin: What Doctors Aren't Telling You About Stimulants for Children," Breggin said: "Psychiatric drugs are far more dangerous than the public is led to believe. The White House conference is trying to sell the American public on psychiatric drugs and involuntary treatment..."

SALLY ZINMAN, (916) 443-3232, http://www.cnmhc.org
Director of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, Zinman took part in Monday's White House Conference on Mental Health. She is among several invitees calling upon Tipper Gore and the administration to oppose the increased use of involuntary psychiatric treatment. Zinman said: "I hope to raise consciousness about the drive across the country to expand forced treatment. It's a drive that is fueled by demonizing people with psychiatric disabilities as causing violence in the country. I want to raise awareness of the mental patients' movement and its achievements in the last 25 years including the self-help peer support programs that exist across the country."

DAVID OAKS, (541) 345-9106, dendron@efn.org, http://www.mindfreedom.org
Co-coordinator of the Support Coalition International, Oaks said: "We have several concerns about the approach that focuses on forced psychiatric drugging instead of on support services and alternatives people can voluntarily use. There are studies of MRI and CT scans that show the shape and size of the brain change as the result of the long-term use of the neuroleptic drugs. This makes it far more difficult for patients to come off these drugs and can result in patients being left with even worse emotional and mental problems. There are also two recent studies which show African Americans are especially hard hit by the drugs typically used in psychiatric procedures. They tend to be given the more powerful neuroleptic drugs more quickly, more frequently, and at higher dosages than whites. We are seeing an attitude that all behavioral problems have a biochemical cause and therefore a biochemical solution. This view is being pushed by the pharmaceutical industry. Already 39 states have laws on the books under which people can be ordered to take drugs on an out-patient basis, even in their own homes."

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