The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights announces the last in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara exploring how the nation’s military forces have been used as guinea pigs for psychological and pharmaceutical experiments. This last installment looks at the long standing relationship between the military and psychiatry that has been in place since WWII and the psychiatric research being conducted on U.S. soldiers.
The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights announces the third in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara exploring the epidemic of suicides and sudden deaths in the military and the skyrocketing use of psychiatric drugs being prescribed to soldiers and vets. The third installment looks at the historical data behind the psychiatric-military alliance and the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry’s increasing power and influence within the military today.
The first week in May brought a new leader in France and new prospects for same sex couples seeking marriage. But at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia, attended by 11,000 psychiatrists, it was the same old same old. Instead of listening to the public outcry about overmedicated children, soldiers, elderly and everyday people watching too many drug ads, the psychiatry group re-affirmed its resolve to pathologize healthy people and even rolled out new groups to target.
Today the New York Times has reported, “AstraZeneca is adding a new heart warning to the labels of Seroquel, its blockbuster antipsychotic drug, at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, company and agency officials said on Monday.” And that “Seroquel is one of the top-selling drugs in the world, at $5.3 billion last year, including $3.7 billion in the United States. Introduced in 1997, it has been approved for schizophrenia, bipolar disorrder and severe depression. Seroquel has caused legal problems for AstraZeneca, including a $520 million payment in 2009 to settle government charges of illegal marketing. Thousands of lawsuits are pending over side effects like diabetes.”
While this is seemingly good news, look a little deeper in today’s article from Paul Thacker, an investigator for Project on Government Oversight…
In 2010 a US Army study revealed how 14 percent of soldiers have been prescribed an opiate painkiller. 95 percent of those prescriptions were for oxycodone, a notoriously-addictive pharmaceutical best known by the brand name OxyContin. And since 2001, military spending on prescription medication has skyrocketed. Orders for antipsychotics like Seroquel are up 200 percent, and demand for anti-anxiety drugs like Valium has increased by 170 percent, according to Defense Logistics Agency records. Many of the antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs and anti-anxiety drugs prescribed are highly addictive. Potential side effects include dulled reaction times, irritability and a heightened risk of suicide. “The medications they use shouldn’t be so heavily prescribed in combat,” said Dr. Judith Broder, a psychiatrist and founder of the Soldiers Project, a nonprofit counseling service.