Medicaid is the primary funding source for mental health services with public funds currently accounting for 63% of all national mental health spending. The October 23, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle reported that, "Nationwide, Medicaid programs purchase an estimated 60 to 75 percent of antipsychotic drugs."
The cost to Medicaid for reimbursement of prescription drugs has grown faster than any other area of the program. More specifically, according to a report issued by the United States Surgeon General, expenditures for psychiatric drugs are among the fastest-rising costs, currently representing an estimated 20 percent of Medicaid 's total payment for pharmaceuticals. For Ohio, in 2002, psychotropic drugs were 23 percent of their Medicaid pharmacy budget. Typically, the costs for psychiatric drugs out-strip the costs for heart, asthma, antibiotics and blood pressure medications combined.
According to the National Pharmaceutical Council, Ohio has been rated one of the top 10 states in terms of the highest amount of Medicaid reimbursement for prescription drugs. Those 10 states alone, account for 58 percent of the total Medicaid drug payment amount ($7.9 billion out of $13.7 billion), with two antipsychotics - Zyprexa and Risperdal - representing almost 20 percent of all of the prescriptions.
The Washington Post, on June 16, 2005, reported a statement by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair, Joe Barton (R-Texas), about the current conditions of Medicaid throughout the nation. He said, "We have reached a point where there just are not enough taxes or taxpayer money to keep Medicaid going, " adding, "Medicaid eventually will bankrupt every state in the nation. "
With the rising Medicaid expenses to state budgets, states are scrambling to rein in costs and meet budgetary constraints. Ohio Representative, Catherine Barrett, expressed concerns for these issues: "Ohio's Medicaid spending on drugs for mental health, needs a Task Force and an Oversight Commission to investigate the spike in Medicaid spending on antipsychotic drugs. "
In an interview with WIMA-AM Radio in November 2005, Hogan had this to say on OMAP in Ohio: " ...frankly it didn 't work very well for us and we 've discontinued it .....Increasingly it 's clear that the scientists don 't have pretty good information to give the doctors about which works best ... ...So we thought, and frankly I thought at one point in time that this kind of algorithm where you 'd give the docs, 'Try this first, try this second, ' would be a good idea but it just hasn 't worked that well. " That must have been a pretty expensive lesson in Ohio.
Today and Tomorrow
This is not a complete report on what is happening today regarding the implementation of these programs. Due to the secrecy employed by TeenScreen and the various hidden channels by which TMAP is being introduced into government and private treatment plans, it is impossible to report the complete story.
At the time of this writing, TeenScreen claims 460 active sites in 42 states. As of August 2004, TMAP had been implemented in at least the following locations on a state government basis: Nevada; Ohio; Florida; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; New Mexico; Illinois; Georgia; Kentucky; Washington, D.C. and California.
The final chapter to this report will be written in the upcoming years and perhaps decades. Children will be screened for mental illness or they won 't; they 'll be given a series of psychiatric drugs and ECT or they won 't depending upon the actions taken today and tomorrow of concerned parents, citizens, civic groups, churches and legislators. There is no longer any mystery about the actions and intentions of psychiatric interests, including NAMI and drug companies. They will continue to push programs like screening and TMAP and will succeed if not stopped. They are well-funded and fairly well organized. However, that does not make them right or invincible. Our next generation deserves the very best in care when it is needed, and protection from fraudulent "care " that is implemented to line the pockets of others.
Perhaps if more teens start thinking for themselves, as Andrew Workman of Ohio has, the future will turn bright. Andrew is an astute 14-year-old and has this to say: "I've been reading through new statistics regarding TeenScreen in Ohio, and it appalls me. I've come to realize TeenScreen is just a front to get kids on drugs whether or not people want to realize this. " Andrew is currently writing to all of his legislators in Ohio, to inform them of the dangers of TeenScreen.
Cassandra Dawn Casey, President and Co-Founder of ASPIRE (The Alliance to Stop Psychiatry 's Influence in Religion and Education) says that it 's important to speak up. She says: "Talk to your neighbors, friends, relatives, members of your affiliated organizations, including your clergy and educational leaders and your local legislative leaders. Help them to become better educated on this most important and dangerous initiative. "
David Oaks is the Director of MindFreedom International, which has united 100 groups working for human rights and humane alternatives in the mental health system. Mr. Oaks states, "I see a terrible tragedy unfolding as literally hundreds of thousands of young people are placed onto, often, dangerous psychiatric drugs, without families being offered full information or a range of alternatives. " He goes on to say: "I see an amazing rebellion stirring that cuts across usual political lines. A federal bureaucrat recently called this a "curious coalition" in the media. We are seeing traditionally conservative groups working together with progressive social justice and libertarian groups. The psychiatric drug companies have overextended themselves, and the general public is showing signs of waking up. I just hope they wake up very soon! "
When asked, "What needs to be done to thwart these insidious programs? ", Oaks said, "On the national level, let's unite to push through legislation, and make our topics issues in elections. While we may all work in different groups, it's especially important that, at times, all of these groups unite on some specific projects and pull together. We are confronting one of the richest industries in the history of the planet - the psychiatric drug industry - and this will take a lot of people power. "
Given the concerns and the united force needed to give back the power of choice to families and individuals, Mr. Oaks asks the ultimate question, "The question is -- will there be enough people to speak out to stop, literally, millions of more people being put on psychiatric drugs internationally? That is not an exaggeration. The mental health system has said they feel that millions of people around the world need to be put on psychiatric drugs, so the stakes are incredibly high. "