Thursday, June 30, 2011

The illusions of Psychiatry -- great article

            The Illusions of Psychiatry

by Marcia Angell in the New York Review of Books

This is a seriously great article exposing all the inner workings of psychiatry's billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), including the complete lack of medical legitimacy for psychiatric diagnoses, the birth of the psychiatric-pharmaceutical alliance to push DSM disorders off on an unsuspecting public, and the funding behind psychiatrists and their front groups pushing the brain based "disease" model which they all know is bogus.

"Unlike the conditions treated in most other branches of medicine, there are no objective signs or tests for mental illness—no lab data or MRI findings—and the boundaries between normal and abnormal are often unclear. That makes it possible to expand diagnostic boundaries or even create new diagnoses, in ways that would be impossible, say, in a field like cardiology. And drug companies have every interest in inducing psychiatrists to do just that."

Read the full article here:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expand Investigation of Psychiatrists


Check up on DJJ doctors

The Palm Beach Post

June 27, 2011


Anyone with an Internet connection can go online and see that Dr. Gold Smith Dorval is on probation with the Florida Board of Medicine and that his medical license was suspended because he stole money from Medicaid. Why, then, did the Department of Juvenile Justice allow him to treat children in state custody and prescribe powerful drugs for them?


DJJ's inspector general should expand her already ongoing investigation into the department's use of antipsychotic medications to answer that question. DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters ordered the inquiry after The Palm Beach Post reported that children in DJJ care are being prescribed heavy doses of the drugs.


A follow-up investigation by The Post's Michael LaForgia showed that several of the psychiatrists doing the prescribing have troubled pasts that, by law, should bar them from working for the agency.


"We will look," Ms. Walters said in an earlier interview, "at everything that surrounds this issue."


Certainly, the qualifications of the doctors employed by the agency falls into that category. As The Post reported, some psychiatrists working for DJJ were cited for overprescribing drugs that led to patient deaths. A simple background check can reveal much about a doctor's history. Even though DJJ requires such checks, in the case of Dr. Dorval and others, no one bothered.


DJJ does not have a system for tracking the medications taken by children in its care and has no way of knowing whether they actually need the prescriptions or if some of the doctors are drugging the kids simply to make them easier to control. When the doctor is someone like Charles Dack of Lakeland, who was disciplined for overprescribing drugs to a woman until she overdosed and died yet worked for DJJ until April, it's easy to suspect the latter. And that's unacceptable.


DJJ spokesman C.J. Drake said some doctors, such as Dr. Dorval, work for the agency through a third-party company. Those agencies should be required to prove that they have conducted background checks on all the doctors in their employ. Earlier this month, Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform announced that Florida is one of four states selected to participate in its Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project. "The fact that Florida stepped up and applied," said Shay Bilchik, founder and director of the center, "is a reflection of how seriously they take their responsibility."


The seriousness with which the agency addresses this issue will be an even better reflection of its commitment to reform.


- Rhonda Swan,

for The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board


Monday, June 20, 2011

Loser psychs treat kids in state custody


Sohail Punjwani                      Gold Dorval

Cocaine Possession                 Grand Theft



Dosed in juvie jail: Troubled doctors hired to treat kids in state custody

Palm Beach Post

By Michael LaForgia

Sunday, June 19, 2011


By the time Florida started paying Dr. Gold Smith Dorval to counsel and medicate jailed children, the Pembroke Pines psychiatrist already had experience with kids in state custody.


He had used them, authorities said, to bilk the government out of money for the poor.


When Dorval pleaded no contest to a felony grand theft charge, it should have barred him, by law, from working for Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice.


It didn't.


And, like Dorval, other doctors have emerged from past troubles and gotten jobs at DJJ - with authority to prescribe drugs to kids in state jails, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found.


Some psychiatrists took DJJ jobs after they were cited for breaking the law, making grave medical missteps or violating state rules. Others were hired after they were accused of overmedicating patients, sometimes fatally.


All were empowered to prescribe drugs to jailed kids as powerful antipsychotic pills flowed freely into Florida's homes for wayward children.


"It's appalling. A psychiatrist is a psychiatrist. They're licensed, they've been to medical school, and there is a certain trust placed in that person's judgment when they tell you that this child needs to be medicated," said John Walsh, an attorney with the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society who has represented children in juvenile court. "This just illustrates that we always have to be on guard with children."


To read Full Article, click here:




Monday, June 13, 2011

America's Most Dangerous Pill? Klonopin

What is America's most dangerous prescription drug? It's not Adderall or Oxy. It's Klonopin. And doctors are doling it out like candy, causing a surge of hellish withdrawals, overdoses and deaths.


Klonopin is the brand name for the generic clonazepam, which was originally brought to market in 1975 as a medication for epileptic seizures. Since then, Klonopin, along with the other drugs in this class, has become a prescription of choice for drug abusers from Hollywood to Wall Street. In the process, these substances have also earned the dubious distinction of being second only to opioid painkillers like OxyContin as our nation's most widely abused class of drug.


Klonopin is used as an anti-anxiety drug, in the class of drugs that are also called minor tranquilizers, benzodiazepines or sedative hypnotics. Daily use of these drugs is associated with physical dependence, and addiction can occur after only 14 days of regular use. The typical consequences of withdrawal are anxiety, depression, sweating, cramps, nausea, psychotic reactions and seizures. There is also a "rebound effect" where the individual experiences even worse symptoms than they started with as a result of chemical dependency.


Alcoholics and drug addicts are most likely to run into Klonopin during detox, when it is used to prevent seizures and control the symptoms of acute withdrawal. Klonopin takes longer to metabolize and passes through the system more slowly than other benzodiazepines, so in theory you don't need to take it so frequently. But if you like the high it gives you, and  keep increasing your dosage, the addictive effects of the drug accumulate quickly and can often be devastating. The drug's label clearly specifies that it is "recommended" only for short-term use—say, seven to 10 days—but once exposed to the pill's seductive side-effects, many patients come back for more. And not surprisingly, many doctors are happy to refill prescriptions to meet this consumer demand.


Read much more about this at

and find out more about psychiatric drug side effects at







Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Creating juvenile zombies, Florida-style


Miami Herald

Creating juvenile zombies, Florida-style

May 28, 2011

By Fred Grimm

They're children of the new Florida ethic. Zombie kids warehoused on the cheap in the state's juvenile lock-ups. Kept quiet, manageable and addled senseless by great dollops of anti-psychotic drugs.

A relatively small percentage of young inmates pumped full of pills actually suffer from the serious psychiatric disorders that the FDA allows to be treated by these powerful drugs. But adult doses of anti-psychotic drugs have a tranquilizing effect on teenage prisoners. Prescribing anti-psychotics for so many rowdy kids may be a reckless medical practice, but in an era of budget cuts and staffing shortages, it makes for smart economics.

Florida fairly inundates juvenile offenders with this stuff.

The Palm Beach Post reported last week that the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has been buying twice as many doses of the powerful anti-psychotic Seroquel as it does ibuprofen. As if the state anticipated more outbreaks of schizophrenia than headaches or minor muscle pain.


State Hired Psychiatrists Paid by Drug Companies

A list of the pharma paid Department of Juvenile Justice psychiatrists:


List of Florida psychiatrists with their number of Medicaid prescriptions for psych drugs for all ages:



Palm Beach Post

Dosed in juvie jail: Drug firms pay state-hired doctors

By Michael LaForgia

Monday May 23, 2011

In Florida's juvenile jails, psychiatrists entrusted with diagnosing and prescribing drugs for wayward children have taken huge speaker fees from drug makers - companies that profit handsomely when doctors put kids on antipsychotic pills.

The psychiatrists were hired by a state juvenile justice system that has plied kids with heavy doses of the powerful medications, and the physicians have prescribed anti­psychotics even before they were approved by federal regulators as safe for children.

One in three of the psychiatrists who have contracted with the state Department of Juvenile Justice in the past five years has taken speaker fees or gifts from companies that make antipsychotic medications, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found.

In two years, the four top paid doctors combined to accept more than $190,000 - all while working for DJJ. Three of the four psychiatrists still are seeing patients in state jails and residential programs.

In at least one case, the number of Medicaid prescriptions a psychiatrist wrote for children rose sharply around the time he was paid, The Post found.

"That's very, very scary," said Jude Ann Prisco, a Palm Beach County mother whose child took psychiatric drugs while recently locked in a program. She said it never occurred to her that DJJ doctors might take money from drug companies. "I'm very upset by that, and I think they need to get some new guidelines."

Responding to The Post's findings, newly appointed DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters recently ordered a sweeping investigation into how antipsychotics are used in state jails and programs for kids. She declined to comment further, however, citing the probe.

DJJ doctors took payments as powerful antipsychotics flowed into state jails and homes. Child advocates say the widespread use of these drugs amounts to a policy of controlling children through "chemical restraint."

"This is a serious, legitimate and possibly life-threatening issue that requires investigation, reformation and possibly prosecution," said Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez, who has sat on the juvenile court bench in Palm Beach County for 12 years.

DJJ relies heavily on the judgment of its contract doctors: In state juvenile jails and residential programs, the psychiatrists ultimately decide whether children should get medication - and which drugs kids should take.

Florida doesn't have disclosure laws

Doctors prescribed heavy doses of antipsychotic drugs for children in DJJ custody even before the drugs were deemed safe for kids.

Seroquel, for example, wasn't approved for kids until late 2009. Between mid-2006 and mid-2008, DJJ bought at least 217,563 tablets of Seroquel for children in the department's custody.

The state has no rules requiring drug companies to disclose payments to doctors. DJJ has no policy requiring contracted doctors to disclose conflicts of interest. In overhauling health care last year, Congress enacted a measure that requires all drug companies to disclose payments and gifts to doctors. However, that part of the law won't take effect until 2013.

DJJ doesn't track prescriptions going into its jails and programs. The rationale behind the department's system is that doctors, with help from nurses and other program staff, always prescribe drugs appropriately.

"The idea was, if kids did not have a medical need for psychotropic medication, then there wouldn't be any purpose in giving (antipsychotics) to them," said DJJ spokeswoman Samadhi Jones.

Last Tuesday, six days before this story was published, DJJ's chief medical director, Lisa Johnson, took the unusual step of issuing a strongly worded memo to DJJ's contracted and state-employed doctors.

The note, among other things, cautioned psychiatrists against prescribing anti­psychotics and other drugs for reasons that aren't approved by the federal government, except in extreme cases. It also reminded doctors that they aren't to use the drugs "as a means of punishment, discipline, coercion, restraint or retaliation."

'Quid pro quos' violate anti-kickback laws

The topic of doctors taking payments from pharmaceutical companies has become increasingly controversial in the past four years, after the federal government accused some companies of paying illegal kickbacks to physicians.

The subject takes on a new dimension when it involves doctors who care for children in state custody, said Eric Campbell, a professor at Harvard University who researches medical conflicts of interest.

"In my eyes, the role of government is to ensure that people who are left in our care, who are vulnerable and need help, actually get that help," Campbell said. "And potentially exposing them to inappropriate prescriptions, when the benefit of those goes to the individual physician, I see as especially problematic."

In general, if doctors prescribe drugs in exchange for payments from pharmaceutical companies, the quid-pro-quo arrangement violates state and federal anti-kickback laws, said Ryan Stumphauzer, a former federal prosecutor and founding member of South Florida's Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

Stumphauzer, who now is in private practice in Miami, added that The Post appears to have unearthed "some truly stunning and troubling data."

Firms: Doctors provide valuable service

Drug companies' practice of compensating doctors is perfectly legal so long as it's not an effort to influence prescribing, said Bruce Reinhart, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in West Palm Beach.

"A drug company can give free samples, for example, or a doctor can go to a seminar, if the purpose of doing that is education," Reinhart said.

A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca, which makes Seroquel, said the company views payments as "appropriate and ethical" compensation for professionals who provide valuable services.

"Physicians who speak about our products are compensated at a fair market value based on the physician's qualifications and the amount of time required to provide the service," Stephanie Andrzejewski said. "Patients ultimately benefit when physicians are well informed and knowledgeable about our medicines, treatment options and standards of care."

Prescriptions rise with payments

AstraZeneca was one drug company that paid Dr. Umesh Mhatre after he started working for DJJ. Pfizer, maker of the antipsychotic Geodon, was another.

In 2010, Mhatre, who is board-certified in psychiatry and child psychiatry and based in Lake City, took $65,475 in payments and gifts, including $63,250 in speaker fees.

Records show Mhatre billed Medicaid for more antipsychotics for children during a period in which he was taking tens of thousands of dollars in payments.

The psychiatrist began working in St. Augustine in 2009 at the St. Johns Juvenile Correctional Facility, a secured program where children aren't eligible for Medicaid, and the St. Johns Youth Academy, a non-­secured program where Medicaid can pay for kids' prescriptions.

During his first 15 months seeing DJJ patients at the St. Augustine homes, Mhatre billed Medicaid, on average, for about 254 prescriptions every three months for antipsychotics that went to children.

In the first six months of 2010, Mhatre took $39,000 in speaker fees from AstraZeneca, and then, months later, accepted another $13,100, records show. He also accepted more than $15,000 in speaker fees and to cover meals and travel from Pfizer between mid-2009 and the end of 2010.

Between April and June 2010, Mhatre wrote 328 children's prescriptions for antipsychotics in three months, or 35 percent more of those scrips than he had billed Medicaid for, on average, in three-month spans over the preceding 2½ years.

Medical experts cautioned against drawing conclusions from Mhatre's prescribing, saying a number of variables might have been at work.

For instance, he might have seen more patients in the spring of 2010 than he did in previous months: Mhatre's patient rolls weren't available. Speaking through a receptionist at his office, Mhatre declined to comment for this story. He continues to see patients for DJJ.

Fat speaker fees, free meals and travel

Mhatre is one of 17 current or former DJJ psychiatrists who, in two years, took a total of $253,982 in speaker fees or free meals and travel. Many doctors took payments or gifts valued at less than $300. A few, like Dr. Rex Birkmire, took much more.

Birkmire, an Oviedo-based psychiatrist who is board-certified in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, has accepted nearly $129,000 from makers of antipsychotics since mid-2009. He took at least $70,750 in payments for educational programs around the time he worked at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

After he started at DJJ, Birkmire billed Medicaid for dramatically fewer children's prescriptions for antipsychotics than he had in previous months. He evaluated patients in a secured juvenile jail, where DJJ, not Medicaid, pays for drugs for children.

Birkmire didn't respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Taxpayers pay for prescriptions

Many of the drugs prescribed to children in DJJ custody are paid for with taxpayer dollars.

DJJ buys drugs given to kids in its jails and state-operated residential programs. But psychiatrists can bill Medicaid or private insurance for drugs prescribed to children in non-secured homes operated by private contractors.

Medicaid billing records don't identify patients who receive prescriptions, making it impossible to tell how many, if any, of the scrips were written for children in DJJ custody. What the records do offer, however, is a window into the prescribing habits of doctors who have worked for DJJ.

Take Mhatre, for example. In the run-up to his working for the department, he billed Medicaid for more mental health drugs than other doctors did. In 21 months, Mhatre wrote at least 24,771 prescriptions for mental health drugs, including antipsychotics, for both children and adults. That breaks down to 42 scrips per day, seven days a week, for 84 weeks straight.

In all, 52 psychiatrists who have worked for DJJ combined to bill Medicaid for at least 175,247 prescriptions for psychiatric medications in 21 months, a span that ended in March 2009. The doctors who took payments, a group that numbered 17, accounted for more than half of all those prescriptions, records show.

Big drug firms go to court

Pharmaceutical companies began disclosing payments to doctors in 2009. The move was related in part to lawsuits that alleged the drug makers were paying illegal kickbacks to physicians who prescribed pills liberally.

In April 2010, for example, AstraZeneca paid $520 million to settle the federal government's allegations that the company paid kickbacks to doctors who promoted Seroquel for off-label uses, among other claims.

When it comes to money for DJJ doctors, AstraZeneca and other companies said the payments weren't meant to influence prescribing.

"AstraZeneca never pays physicians in exchange for prescribing our medicines or as an incentive to promote our products," Andrzejewski, the company spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Further, we have policies in place to ensure that our payments to physicians do not create conflicts of interest or otherwise influence the decisions these physicians make in treating patients."

Some doctors paid by drug companies work hard preparing talks and crafting slides, and they can earn less than their hourly rate when delivering them, said Dr. Robert Hendren, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

In other cases, Hendren said, companies seem to have sought out speakers based on prescribing patterns. "I think that, in some of those ways, there probably is undue influence," Hendren said. "I think people are influenced by who pays them. I think there's no doubt about that."

Needed transparency for payments

Unlike other states, including California, Massachusetts and Minnesota, Florida lacks rules requiring drug makers to disclose payments to doctors licensed by the state.

Such measures would create needed transparency, medical ethicists said.

"I think it's because we worry that paying and marketing and advertising and detailing can shape behavior," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics. "I don't think that's a hypothetical, because we know that they do."

Even better, said Campbell, the Harvard professor, would be if Florida government medical contractors refused all offers of money from drug companies.

"Physicians who care for patients who are vulnerable populations need to be particularly above reproach when it comes to this behavior," Campbell said. "I personally believe it's completely inappropriate for physicians to moonlight as drug reps. You either sell drugs or you practice medicine. But you can't do both."

3 Patients Sue Jail Psychiatrist - Sexual Misconduct



Another suit filed against embattled jail psychiatrist

Hernando Today


June 7, 2011


She was offended, violated and wasn't going to take it anymore, she said.


The former Hernando County jail inmate reported the alleged sexual harassment by her psychiatrist to a female correctional officer.


She consoled the shaken inmate. The two women talked. They cried. The officer promised to report it to her supervisors.


Less than an hour later, the inmate was led to a dark, isolated cell with no windows. She remained in solitary confinement for another nine days, she said.


She only received one visitor – an investigator from Corrections Corporation of America, the company that ran the jail.


Feeling ignored and intimidated, she was too scared to push the matter further, she said.


When she learned last month two of her former inmates filed lawsuits against Dr. James Yelton Rossello, she changed her mind and joined them, said attorney Samuel Rogatinsky.


Rogatinsky, of South Florida, is representing all three women in the lawsuit.


The latest plaintiff, identified in court documents as Jane Doe III, filed her suit Tuesday in Hernando County Circuit Court.


She sobbed during a conference call with her attorney.


"It wasn't about me getting money," she said. "It's about him not being able to do this to anyone else."


Jane Doe III was incarcerated at the jail from May to October 2010. CCA managed the jail until late August of that year.


She was released from solitary confinement about two weeks before the Hernando County Sheriff's Office took over jail operations.


By then, the officer who consoled her was no longer employed at the jail and the other CCA managers who supposedly handled the complaint were gone. Yelton also had transferred.


CCA eventually fired him following a slew of sexual misconduct allegations.


Yelton has never been criminally charged, but the State Attorney's Office is still investigating the Hernando cases.


Jane Doe III described Yelton as a large, broad-shouldered man who weighed about 250 pounds.


"He could have restrained one of us easily if he really wanted to," she said.


In his court filing, Rogatinsky stated Yelton "sexually molested the Plaintiff on numerous occasions by touching the tattoo that was just above her buttocks while counseling her."


Jane Doe III said Yelton repeatedly asked her about her sexual preferences, including whether she was bisexual or had any "lesbian relationships" in the jail. He also asked her to describe her favorite sexual positions.


Rogatinsky said Yelton initially would ask his patients sexually charged questions, but made them think it was part of his psychoanalysis.


Eventually, he stopped asking questions and started beckoning his patients to shed their clothes or perform other sexual favors, Rogatinsky said.


During her second visit with Yelton, the latest plaintiff told him she had gained weight. She assumed it was a side effect from one of the drugs the doctor had prescribed her.


"He told me to pull my pants down," she said. "He told me he wanted to have sex with me."


At one point, Yelton ordered her to show him her tattoo. When she lifted her shirt and revealed her lower back, he caressed it, she said.


The other two plaintiffs accused Yelton of rubbing, kissing and fondling them during their visits.


Yelton would invite his patients into a small office and he would lock the door to prevent correctional officers from entering, Rogatinsky said.


Jane Doe I accused Yelton of "threatening her with additional criminal charges and threatening to withhold her medications if she refused to cooperate with his deviant behavior," the attorney wrote.


Jane Doe II accused him of forcing her to sit on his lap while he was sexually aroused, grabbing her crotch area and sexually battering her.


When the allegations first came to light in March, the Florida surgeon general restricted Yelton from treating female patients.


Rogatinsky said Yelton told at least one of the plaintiffs he was "98 percent faithful" to his wife and claimed he had an expense account and a hotel room for when she would be released from jail.


Rogatinsky said he would contact the State Attorney's Office about the latest allegations.


CCA, based out of Nashville, Tenn., has declined to comment on the Yelton lawsuit.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Protecting Foster Children from Psychiatric Drugs


Protecting Foster Children from Psychiatric Drugs

Whether under the auspices of Child Protective Services, Departments of Family and Child Services, or Youth Welfare Offices, foster care children—often removed from family homes because of abuse—are furthered abused when they are prescribed psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs under state care. In fact, US foster children receive at least three times more psychotropic drugs than comparable children in poor families. Already troubled over their circumstances, these children are drugged for emotional and behavioral issues, sometimes with tragic outcome. This week's Watchdog Radio show guest, Sonya Muhammad, has been fighting this system from within and is ensuring that foster children receive standard educational solutions, not psychiatric drugs.


Snake oil salesman Patrick McGorry...

Psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, (who somehow ended up as "Australian of the Year" much to the delight of Big Pharma, we're sure) has an international agenda to pre diagnose and pre drug children Starting in Australia and branching out worldwide. McGorry is so out there, most other psychiatrists don't want anything to do with him. That, says a lot.
Here's a brilliant article exposing McGorry and his Voodoo Science.

Psychiatrist Patrick McGorry: Voodoo Science & Snake Oil | Utopia Research Institute

Are our children really AT RISK or is Patrick McGorry selling us Voodoo Science & Snake Oil? Should we trust our childrens lives to Patrick McGorry? Do we want our children to be labelled with Psychosis Risk Syndrome? The Federal Government has handed $400 million dollars to Patrick McGorry...


Drugging our kids is wrong

THE number of children aged six and under being prescribed anti-depressants has soared by almost 50 per cent since the federal government pledged to investigate the issue, new figures show.


Federal health department data reveals prescribing rates of the controversial drugs have risen from 852 in 2007-08 to 1264 in 2009-10.

But despite Health Minister Nicola Roxon ordering an investigation three years ago, a Freedom of Information request shows the government held just two meetings.

Five deaths have also been linked to anti-depressants in children aged 10 to 19 since 2009, Therapeutic Goods Administration figures show. In children aged nine and under, 89 adverse reactions were linked to anti-depressants over the same period.