Thursday, May 03, 2007

TeenScreen Hell

St. Cloud Times (Minnesota)
TeenScreen exists to try to put kids on medication 
May 03. 2007
Two recent Opinion Page submissions suggest that students would benefit and schools would be safer if TeenScreen were implemented in Minnesota. I strongly disagree.

First, the survey itself is worded so that nearly every teenager will have a positive response. (i.e. "Have you often felt nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?" "Has there been a time when you had less energy than you usually do?")

Second, the implication is that identifying and referring troubled teens for psychiatric help will then solve their problems. Not necessarily. Consider this: In a 2002 survey, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, nine out of 10 patients under the care of child psychiatrists receive medication — usually antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

These drugs are known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors and their adverse reactions include manic reaction, emotional instability, abnormal thinking, hallucinations, hostility, psychosis and more. The Web site, linked to Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, has hundreds of research articles documenting these drugs' side effects. Even the FDA warns that these medications may worsen suicidal thoughts and depression.

The International Coalition for Drug Awareness has collected over the years more than 1,500 news stories of violent incidents associated with the use of antidepressants. In examining these articles (, one sees that many of those involved in school shooting and other tragedies were under psychiatric care and on antidepressant medication.

So we must ask ourselves, would putting more students on these drugs make our schools and society safer?

Between 1995 and 2000, the annual number of children who were prescribed anti-psychotic medicine increased to 2.5 million. With wholesale screening, that number is sure to increase. While those in favor of TeenScreen deny the pharmaceutical industry's involvement, one only has to do the math: 2.5 million X $6,000/ year + $15 billion.

Conspiracy or not, it is one heck of a marketing tool.

Brenda Woggon

St. Cloud Times (Minnesota)
Letter: Pharmaceutical industry has created 'time bombs'
May 03. 2007

Although Ron Ohmann's intention is obviously good, his message misses the point on why there is protest against TeenScreen. There is even a petition to ban TeenScreen with more than 20,000 signatures, many of whom are doctors and teachers.

A common handling of children found with mental problems by TeenScreen is to put the child on antidepressants. The side effects include possible violent behavior and possible suicidal thoughts (read: the black box warnings).

There are reports that the Columbine killers were on these drugs. Tests are now being conducted to see of the Virginia Tech killer was taking them. Published reports indicate he had taken them in the past. We have "walking time bombs" created by the pharmaceutical industry, ready to explode.

How many of these need to occur before someone stops it? Per TeenScreen's own data, there is an 85 percent false positive on the testing. ... Prior to psychiatric drugs being commonplace in our society, we didn't have these killings in schools.

... Drug companies should not have free rein to do what they want. They need to be held accountable and their actions need to be investigated for our future and for our children's sake. These are our children and they deserve to have a future. Parents, teachers and doctors need to be fully informed of any and all possible consequences prior to putting the child on antidepressants

By Carol Jenkins, Clearwater, Fla.

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