All children at times feel depressed or different than others or not smart enough or not good-looking enough. This is normal adolescent thinking. The TeenScreen survey asks whether the child has ever felt this way and phrases questions to solicit one answer, yes. It takes advantage of impressionable kids when it raises questions about normal feelings.
After taking a survey that suggests they are abnormal, the next thing you know, Susie and Tommie will go running to the teacher saying, "you know, now that you mention it, I do have these thoughts and feelings, I must be mentally ill."
Mission accomplished. Two new customers. All the survey had to do was plant the idea in Susie and Tommie's mind.
The Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health issued a report in July 2003 urging the screening of school children in all 50 states and chose TeenScreen as the model program to ensure that all youth receive a mental health check-up before graduating.
The New Freedom Commission also recommended a drug treatment program based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which requires doctors to prescribe specific psychiatric drugs, including atypical anti-psychotics and antidepressants known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors [SSRIs] that can lead children to commit suicide or other violent acts.
The truth is, the New Freedom Commission serves as the hub for a grand profiteering scheme involving the Bush administration, federal and local government officials, and drug companies to broaden the market for the sale of expensive but lethal drugs. If all goes according to plan, it will generate millions of new prescription drug customers.
For example, pharma reaped great rewards in Colorado where over 350 youths were screened at a homeless shelter using the TeenScreen survey. It determined that over 50% of the kids were at risk of suicide and 71% screened positive for psychiatric disorders.
Common sense would tell a person that kids at a homeless shelter might be suffering due to logical reasons such as not eating or sleeping properly. But you can bet that the TeenScreen squad marched these homeless kids right over to the nearest Medicaid office to line up funding to cover the cost of their newly prescribed drugs. Never mind that they don't have a bed to sleep in or a dinner table to eat at. Put them on magic pills and life will be grand.
TeenScreen is being used to push drugs on a population of kids who in the eyes of many experts are already overmedicated. An estimated 10 million children in the US are now taking mind-altering drugs which have documented side-effects of suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence.
Carol Boyd, director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, surveyed 1,017 middle and high school students in a Detroit-area public school district and found that almost half of the children had legitimate prescriptions for Ritalin and other psychiatric medications.
More kids on drugs are showing up for college. The University of Mary Washington reports that a record 24% of students using the school's Psychological Services program are taking some sort psychotropic medication that is capable of influencing a person's mental functioning.
The demand for services for 2004-2005 has risen 150% over last year, according to Psychological Services director Barb Wagar. The medications students are usually on are SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, for depression, Xanax for anxiety, and Ritalin or Adderall for attention disorders, Wagar reports.
According Bernard Chirico, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, this is also a national trend. "Nationally there has been a 91% increase in students at college counseling taking psychotropics between 1998 and 2003," he said.
Overall, on January 13, 2005 WebMD Medical News reported the findings of a government study that showed more Americans than ever are being treated for substance abuse, depression, and other mental health disorders, but the treatment they are getting is increasingly limited to prescription drugs alone.
The study assessed changing patterns in the treatment of mental illnesses from the mid-1990s to 2001, and determined that mental health drug costs rose 20% each year.