Wednesday, 1 April 2009

PsychRights v Sarah Palin

On March 6 I wrote about a lawsuit in an Alaska Superior Court seeking to stop the de facto forced medication of children under the state's care - foster kids, juvenile detainees - and children covered under state health programs with psychiatric medications. Named as defendants are the State of Alaska, Governor Sarah Palin and a host of officials with various state agencies. Things have moved on.

Here's the latest:


CONTACT: Jim Gottstein 907-274-7686

Alaska Admits It Is Incapable of Protecting Children and Youth in Its Care from Harmful Psychiatric Drugging

Today, responding to the State of Alaska’s admission in PsychRights v. Alaska that it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care from improper and harmful psychiatric drugging, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®) told the court it must step in.

PsychRights v. Alaska was filed last Fall to halt the State of Alaska’s practice of administering and paying for psychiatric drugs being given children and youth without safeguards being in place to make sure proper decision making occurs. In trying to get PsychRights v. Alaska “thrown out of court” the State admitted it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care as follows:

A reading of the Complaint makes obvious that the true subject of plaintiff’s grievances is not the Department, but prescribers of psychotropic pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical companies which produce and market them, and the overall culture of pediatric psychiatry. The implication that the Department possesses meaningful authority and control over these matters-or is in any realistic position to administer the relief requested even if the court were to order it-is a fiction.

“The point is the State has the responsibility to properly care for the children and youth in its care regardless of the ‘culture of pediatric psychiatry,’” according Mr. Gottstein. Today’s court filing tells the court, “It is shameful the State is abdicating its responsibility when it should be working to correct the problem.”

In the absence of the State being willing to address the problem without court intervention, the lawsuit seeks to solve it by obtaining a court order prohibiting the psychiatric drugging of children and youth by the State unless and until

(i) evidence-based psychosocial interventions have been exhausted,

(ii) rationally anticipated benefits of psychotropic drug treatment outweigh the risks,

(iii) the person or entity authorizing administration of the drug(s) is fully informed of the risks and potential benefits, and

(iv) close monitoring of, and appropriate means of responding to, treatment emergent effects are in place.

Practically every day brings revelations that pediatric psychopharmacology is the result of illegal drug company actions to improperly influence psychiatrists to prescribe extremely harmful drugs to children and youth, in spite of there being no real evidence of their efficacy. “Rather than meeting its mandate to properly care for and protect these children and youth from harm, the actions of the State are reprehensible,” Mr. Gottstein declared, adding “The State is also trying to hide its complicity by stopping the discovery process.”

The defendants in the lawsuit are the State of Alaska, its Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and responsible officials, Sarah Palin, Governor, William Hogan, Commissioner of DHSS, Tammy Sandoval, Director of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), Steve McComb, Director of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), Ron Adler, CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), and William Streur Deputy Commissioner and Director of Medicaid. All of the substantive filings in the lawsuit are available on the Internet at right here.

I obtained this information from Beyond Meds and they include numerous contacts so people can take action. It is vital that the people involved are aware of the importance of this precedent-setting lawsuit and respond in a more co-operative fashion.

Sarah Palin at (907)465-3500 Office of the Governor or

Department of Human and Health Services Commissioner:
William Hogan at (907)269-7800 or

The other defendents worth contacting are:

Tammy Sandoval, Director of the Office of Children’s Services (907)269-3440

Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health (907)269-3410

Ron Adler, CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (907)269-7100 or

Steve McComb, Director, Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice (907) 465-2212

PsychRights website


Anonymous said...

Excellent, Excellent post. As a social worker that has worked in the area of child protection, I am well aware of the misuse of psychiatric medications to control children exhibiting behavioral issues. Jim Gottstein is right on with his law suit. Thank you for bringing this to light.

LisanTX said...

Thanks for the update. While this subject may not impact those reading this blog, nevertheless, it is an important issue.

The Texas legislature is considering legislation on a similar matter.

Thanks Regina.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Thanks Regina! I am beyond sick of what is going on in Alaska, human rights violations, killing wildlife and raping the environment, dismissing constitutional rights of people...its unbelievable such asinine, bogus crap that's going on up there.
Psych drugs such as zyprexa cause more harm than good. Course Alaska was the first STATE to sue eli liiy co to get $$ for medicare to cover the cost of the diabetes zyprexa will cause.
GINO gov grifter always with her hand out, disgusting.