Are We About to Make Criminals Even More Violent?

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Making Criminals More Violent

The latest from the Department of Unintended Consequences.

 

At least 1 million American prisoners suffer from mental illness, and of these only 15% of local inmates and 27% of state prisoners currently receive some treatment in the form of psychotropic drugs. However, under new Obamacare programs, many more of these sick inmates will be “treated” with these powerful drugs linked to addiction, cyclical crime, and violent homicidal outbursts.

 

Hitherto, state, county, and local jails have been required to provide healthcare for inmates. But under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states have two ways to shift this responsibility—along with its enormous costs—to federal taxpayers:

  • Medicaid. Many more prisoners and parolees will now qualify for Medicaid, which is expanding to cover more childless adults.
  • Obamacare. It’s true that the ACA expressly prohibits the enrollment of inmates who are serving full-time sentences. However, there’s a loophole for prisoners awaiting trial. This incentivizes cash-strapped states to sign as many inmates up for Obamacare as possible.

 

Sadly, because the ACA is based on a conventional medical paradigm (“drugs and surgery for all!”), it’s unlikely that newly-covered prisoners will receive the natural health treatments for anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders that could actually help. Instead, they’ll be prescribed psychotropic drugs that are linked to violent (homicidal and suicidal) and criminal acts.

 

Is it wise to prescribe highly addictive, violence-sparking drugs to a population already prone to violence and crime? There’s already evidence that psychotropic drugs—particularly SSRI antidepressants—may be linked to the rise in mass public shootings. OnTime Magazine’s list of top ten legal drugs linked to violence, seven are psychotropics: three are SSRI antidepressants, two are another class of antidepressants, and two are for the treatment of ADHD. (To learn more about the link between SSRIs and violence, read our February 2013 and March 2011 articles.)

 

The latest possible link between mass violence and SSRIs just came out—the army has admitted that the shooter at Fort Hood had just recently been prescribed such drugs.

 

Antipsychotics are also extremely addictive: amphetamines (ADHD drugs like Adderall) and benzodiazepines (antianxiety drugs like Xanax) are both considered two of the world’s most addictive drugs. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 18% of federal prisoners and nearly 17% of state prisoners say they committed their offense to obtain money for drugs, while up to 80% of inmates already have substance abuse problems. Enrolling inmates in federal health programs could introduce populations already vulnerable to substance abuse to even more addictive drugs. This could serve to perpetuate—not break—the cycle of drug-fueled crime.

 

Given the high potential costs to incarcerated Americans, public safety, and our wallets, it seems a forgone conclusion that inmates should not be pushed into these drugs. How could states and the administration ignore this elephant in the room?

 

Perhaps it’s hidden behind the giant pile of Big Pharma profits and campaign finance dollars. Let’s take a look at who stands to benefit:

 

  • State and county jails are the biggest winners here. Because Medicaid is a federal program, and because they can charge the cost of the Affordable Care Act enrollees to the federal government, theirbudgets will shrink drastically—it’s estimated that $6.5 billion in annual healthcare costs will be shifted to the federal government (i.e., taxpayers like you).And we can’t help but think jails see some appeal to a population controlled by drugs. What they may actually get is anything but a sedated inmate population.
  • The Obama Administration. If this fledgling program is implemented nationally, there will be a huge jump in enrollment numbers—especially in the coveted young adult group as of 2002. 60% of the prison population is between the ages of 18 and 34. Although the administration hasn’t publically advertised expanded coverage for inmates, it is funding one organization that enrolls Illinois prisoners in Obamacare programs.
  • Big Pharma. Psychiatric drugs are a big, fat Big Pharma cash cow. In 2008 alone, sales of a single schizophrenia drug (Zyprexa) represented 23% of Eli Lilly’s total earnings; Johnson & Johnson’s antipsychotic franchise generated $3.8 billion. This program cracks an untapped market wide open, generating billions in new sales and—since psychotropic drugs are so addictive—what could be lifelong customers.

 

So far, only six states and counties are signing up prisoners under the new ACA rules. But if this program is implemented nationally, many of the seven million Americans behind bars, on parole, or on probation, as well as the thirteen million booked into county jails each year, would be eligible for taxpayer-subsidized drugs linked to violence.

 

Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve used government-subsidized healthcare to boost Big Pharma profits: after all, children on Medicaid are four times more likely to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs. Please note: that isn’t anti-depressants. It is highly toxic antipsychotic drugs that have not even been tested on a pediatric population. The FDA says that it is opposed to untested, “off-label” use of drugs. Why doesn’t it stop this cruel experimenting with children on Medicaid?

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  • Lorie Vorraro

    I’m sick and tired as a tax payer for paying only for drugs and surgery for state/federal health programs. As a Doctor of Chiropractic care I have watched as my patients coverage for alternative therapies has been practically erased from their insurance policies. If my tax money has to pay for some ones health insurance they should be able to choose what care they want. Including alternative health therapies such as chiropractic,massage,acupuncture,chelation therapy,etc.

    • Elisabeth

      I agree! If I knew how too start a movement for Alternative Care acceptance I would be doing it right now. I can only hope that somehow the various Alternative Practitioners will come together the same way that Alopaths have and raise their voices as one instead of a scattered rabble.

      The populace will surely be willing to stand with you in the fight for proper recognition of the healing modalities available to us. The same methods that the rest of the world has been using for decades, with equal or better results than our current “state of the art” side effect causing chemicals..

    • Mary

      I agree. I have fibromyalgia and I am disabled. One of the best therapies is massage (ortho-bionomy). But my father has to pay for it since Medi-Medi will not. This is such a common sense thing to cover and is far better than being on pain pills, especially since people become tolerant to the effects over time.. Massage should not be considered as just a “luxury” since there are legitimate medical uses for it.I would love to try more natural therapies but I cannot afford them.

    • Linda

      Lorie: I agree with you. I try everything natural before I would even think of going on a drug. A drug killed my father at the young age of 47. I have a policy and you are right it does not cover any alternative care. I pay for insurance and then have to pay out of my pocket for all my vitamins, chiropractic care, alternative doctors, etc. Why is it they will pay for all sorts of surgeries, drugs, etc but not alternatives that will keep us healthy?

      I want to choose what I can do to keep myself healthy.

  • I hear what you’re saying. However, I refer you to the landmark book, “The Myth of Mental Illness.”
    What is it about having a degree in psychiatry, psychology or social work, that allegedly immunizes these people against mental “illness?” This extensive system of behavioral labeling corresponds directly to the witch hunts and the Inquisition. These are moral problems and challenges of life—not “illnesses.” FYI women in pants were previously called “patients” who were suffering from “permanent mental hallucination” (New York Times, May 27, 1876 page 6, column 6, editorial “A Curious Disease.”) In 1943 Chicago police arrested Evelyn Bross for wearing “clothes not belonging to her sex” according to their 1851 ordinance (pants!) Judge Jacob Braude ordered her to see a psychiatrist for six months. Sorry—there are, and cannot be—any mental “illnesses” besides tumors, aneurysms, concussions, Alzheimer’s plaque et al (real, actual medical conditions). Violence is a moral, not a medical issue. So is nonconformity and interpersonal conflicts.

    • Elisabeth

      Bravo!! Well said.

      • Liz

        Mary,
        You mentioned that you suffer from bipolar disorder. I have a experience with that disorder and I just wanted to share a bit of info with you about the surge in the bipolar diagnoses in recent years. First of all the true clinical bipolar disease is never induced by taking other medications and Lithium is prescribed for those patients with this disorder because it was the most effective medication. I’ll assume that you take it and know how necessary that medication is for anyone with bipolar disorder to lead a normal life. My best friend in college had that disease and it was quite challenging at times.

        Unfortunately SSRI and SSNRI antidepressant use has been linked to iatrogenic or drug induced bipolar symptoms and the medical community is well aware of this. They even have a cute name for this but I can’t recall it at the moment. It’s very important to note that most psychological disorder symptoms are subjective to begin with so when a patient that has been using one of these antidepressants becomes manic or depressive ( which ultimately occurs as tolerance to these addictive drugs increases and doctors alter dosage and add other drugs to the cocktail) by definition, doctors will then diagnose the patient as being bipolar and then prescribe additional medication or a new medication. It’s also important to note that SSRI meds have been proven to be as effective as placebo in treating depression. However, they lead to erratic behavior and agitation which accounts for the violence associated with these drugs. There’s quite enough scientific evidence to support what I’m telling you but it’s too complex for me to go into in this post. However, with a little research you can discover the truth about SSRI’s, the politics behind their use and how they alter brain chemistry as well as cholesterol, blood pressure, the GI tract ( patient needs Nexium) circadian rhythm ( patient needs Ambien), the immune system, etc.. and sorry to inform you that the drug companies are the only ones benefiting.

        On the streets theres a name for taking speed with a downer and it’s called a speedball.. When people are prescribed stimulants for ADD/ADHD and they develop tolerance, they become depressed. So, quite often doctors will increase their dose and add an SSRI to sedate them. This speedball combo causes bipolar symptoms as well.

        I remember my mother always telling me not to experiment with drugs because they are dangerous and could harm…

        • Liz

          I remember my mother always telling me not to experiment with drugs because they are dangerous and could harm my brain yet drug companies and doctors experiment on us and our brains every time they prescribe these meds. It’s all about trying this dose, trying that, increasing this, decreasing that, adding this, removing that. Yet, we still think that LSD or marijuana or even folic acid is dangerous. BTW, LSD and marijuana both alter perceptions by disrupting the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin, The drug companies are clever and they create their own version of these ‘dangerous’ recreational drugs, patent them, market them, charge billions and experiment on everyone who feels the least bit unhappy and stressed.

          What a wonderful world.

      • Liz

        Mary,
        You mentioned that you suffer from bipolar disorder. I have a experience with that disorder and I just wanted to share a bit of info with you about the surge in the bipolar diagnoses in recent years. First of all the true clinical bipolar disease is never induced by taking other medications and Lithium is prescribed for those patients with this disorder because it was the most effective medication. I’ll assume that you take it and know how necessary that medication is for anyone with bipolar disorder to lead a normal life. My best friend in college had that disease and it was quite challenging at times.

        Unfortunately SSRI and SSNRI antidepressant use has been linked to iatrogenic or drug induced bipolar symptoms and the medical community is well aware of this. They even have a cute name for this but I can’t recall it at the moment. It’s very important to note that most psychological disorder symptoms are subjective to begin with so when a patient that has been using one of these antidepressants becomes manic or depressive ( which ultimately occurs as tolerance to these addictive drugs increases and doctors alter dosage and add other drugs to the cocktail) by definition, doctors will then diagnose the patient as being bipolar and then prescribe additional medication or a new medication. It’s also important to note that SSRI meds have been proven to be as effective as placebo in treating depression. However, they lead to erratic behavior and agitation which accounts for the violence associated with these drugs. There’s quite enough scientific evidence to support what I’m telling you but it’s too complex for me to go into in this post. However, with a little research you can discover the truth about SSRI’s, the politics behind their use and how they alter brain chemistry as well as cholesterol, blood pressure, the GI tract ( patient needs Nexium) circadian rhythm ( patient needs Ambien), the immune system, etc.. and sorry to inform you that the drug companies are the only ones benefiting.

        On the streets theres a name for taking speed with a downer and it’s called a speedball.. When people are prescribed stimulants for ADD/ADHD and they develop tolerance, they become depressed. So, quite often doctors will increase their dose and add an SSRI to sedate them. This speedball combo causes bipolar symptoms as well.

        Continued below:

    • Mary

      “Sorry—there are, and cannot be—any mental “illnesses” besides tumors, aneurysms, concussions, Alzheimer’s plaque et al (real, actual medical conditions).”

      Ever met someone with schizophrenia?

      Those examples you give are absurd. Yes of course there have been some abuses (ironically nothing you mentioned had anything to do with medication but rather therapy.) But guess what? There are many people who still believe that “cross-dressing” is both a mental illness and immoral. Think about how they thought back then. To them a woman wearing pants would be equivilent to men being in drag today.

      However, the APA does not consider cross dressing or homosexuality as mental illnesses anymore, much to the dismay of many conservatives.

      Beyond that there are protections in place against forced treatment for mental patients so that abuses do not happen.

      Just because some stupid judge forced an ancient law on this woman that does not indict the entire profession. In fact as I recall, Amelia Earhart wore pants but somehow she was not forced into mental health treatment. And the judge was not a mental health professional anyway.

      • Linda

        Mary have you done your research into how many people are on some sort of psychotropic drug today? It is a phenomenal number. Do you know how many children are on Ritalin today? We are doing nothing but drugging people and then wondering why we have so m any people with “mental illnes”. We are also drugging our children and wondering why they are committing suicide, shooting people, etc. Drugs are not the answer. That should be the last resort. Nutrition does cause a great deal of what a person acts likes. It has been proven over and over again. Deficiency in many vitamins is also a known cause. By drugging our children this is what society is producing. Very angry children.

  • Dyanna

    I was unaware of this situation and it does need to be brought before the public. So much of what we hear and see is fluff and unimportant “news”. It’s time that the social media gets ahold of this issue as that seems to be the way that things are transmitted to the most people the fastest in this age. Sunshine is the best way to make things happen.

  • Wow! Simple at what point do we all just throw up? The schools are rails to jails. We continue to allow the psychiatric industry and drug companies to pump mind altering drugs into human beings at an alarming rate. Where is the oversight? When do we say enough?

  • Scott

    Looking at who stands to benifit I can see how state and county jails get paid and of course Big Pharma. How does this help Obama’s administration?
    I like the sight and have joined in some of the causes But I feel like medicare is a good thing. Doctors are not always a bad thing. This article has a hint of extremist hate. Is this a republican web sight? Not sure why I’m leaving a reply but now I’m not sure if I’m being scared off.

    Peace and long life.
    Scott

    • Felicia

      If you SERIOUSLY think this is a republican website…You’re out of your mind.

  • News flash: Those prisoners weren’t likely to get natural treatments for their mental health issues anyway. Neither were the kids.

    One bright spot is that EFT practitioners are making inroads in official arenas such as the VA. It is possible that this natural treatment, at least, will penetrate the walls of prisons and schools in the not too distant future.

    • dr david arneson

      Just great…cost for obama care for me and my wife–14,400 dollars per year….which i can’t afford…and we are going to supply free medical care for 13 million in jail…most of which deserve to be there…frankly they already have medical care…and that 14,400 dollars per year that i spend will be paying for them…unbelievable…i know this whole thing was born out of good intentions…but as they say good intentions often lead one on the road to hell….

    • Elisabeth

      This is amazingly good news. EFT has worked wonders on many of my clients and friends. The effects are often immediate and are permanent. If more people would look into Natural ways of dealing with their health, we might actually be able to influence the insurance companies to cover preventive health care and we’d all live better, healthier lives.

  • Dennis Colvin

    Give these so-called criminals a bag of weed and a job, and you would be surprised how functional many of them are. People aren’t “born to be criminals”, our society creates them.

  • Mary

    This is an extremely biased article. Psych meds help millions of people, including me. I have bipolar disorder. In fact prisons have become mental health facilities instead of getting them proper care in a compassionate setting. While benzos and sleeping pills are addictive, antidepressents, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers ARE NOT. Whoever wrote this has not done their research. I have and I also worked with others who have mental illnesses as a peer counselor.

    I can tell you that I know many people who were in horrible shape get better on meds. I have a good friend who is schizophrenic and has ended up homeless every time he went off of his medication. For those who claim that mental illness does not exist, they should see someone in full psychosis (and no the term does not mean violent, but rather delusions, and hallucinations). People with mental illnesses cannot function in the real world without meds and often die on the street.

    The fact is that psych meds actually are likely to make violence LESS LIKELY in a prison. While in general the mentally ill are not violent, it may be more likely that in the stressful environment of prison they might lash out, especially since they are not likely to be treated with compassion.. A schizophrenic might have to be kept in isolation for their own protection. That is cruel and unusual punishment and has been shown to worsen or even cause mental illness. Medication is the only viable solution. Yes of course therapy and certainly nutrition should be included, but medication is the only way to keep psychosis at bay.

    In fact the real crime here is that so many mentally ill people are in prison in the first place.

    As far as antidepressents and the so-called link to violence is concerned, media sensationalism is responsible for that rumor. How many shootings have really occured? A handful and some mentally ill people are going to be violent no matter what. It also is not known whether they were taking the meds properly or in fact whether they were taking them at all. And in at least one case I heard of the “evidence” that this person was taking anitdepressents came from a neighbor who barely knew the famliy at all. Something else that may complicate things is that some people combine their meds with drugs and alcohol.

    If antidepressents cause violence then how come the millions of people taking them are not killing people? We should see a dramatic rise in violence in our society and yet the fact…

    • Mary

      It looks like my comment was cut off since I do not see the end. If I am mistaken then sorry about the repeat. My conclusion is that violent crime is actually GOING DOWN, not up. Media sensationalism is not a good basis for making an argument about ANYTHING.

      • Linda

        Mary: Sorry to disagree. If you research the shootings and alot of the killings you will find that they were on psychotropic drugs. There are natural ways to help these people instead of giving them mind altering drugs. The same with our children. There are way too many children put on Ritalin just so they can attend school which is a drug that children should never be put on. Even if yo ask the children they do not like what it does to them yet we as administrators, teachers, parents, etc put our children on a drug that changes them forever.

  • Keith M Bender

    Shifted to the Tax Payers? Who’s paying for them now?

    Iam sure FOR PROFITS will love this the most?

    Support Homelessness Continuing. The same attitude is against ACA as well.