Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Big pharma links are close to home

June 21, 2005—A controversial plan to screen all Illinois school children for mental health disorders is set to become a reality on June 30, if the governor accepts the final proposal from the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP).

Illinois became the first state to hop on the bandwagon for President Bush's New Freedom Commission's (NFC) plan to subject all American school children to mental health screening. In 2003, Illinois lawmakers passed the $10 million Illinois Children's Mental Health Act (ICMHP), creating a Children's Mental Health Partnership, which many expect to become a model for other states.

The final report by the Illinois Children's Mental Health Task Force was released in April 2003 and it is filled with intrusive and expensive recommendations. The ICMHP held hearings in various locations across the state in 2004 to gather public feedback on the plan.

While its proposals seem harmless enough at first glance, comments from parents during the hearings raised many valid concerns. The state, critics said, no longer assumes that Illinois children are mentally healthy, it presumes all children need mental health screening.

The task force report calls for a comprehensive, coordinated children's mental health system comprised of prevention, early intervention, and treatment for children ages 0–18 and for a statewide data-reporting system to track information on each person, and social-emotional development screens with all mandated school exams (K, 4th, and 9th).

The task force wants to: Start early, beginning prenatally and at birth, and continue throughout adolescence, including efforts to support adolescents in making the transition to young adulthood.

Karen Hayes, associate director of Concerned Women for America-Illinois, published an op-ed in the Illinois Leader on July 23, 2004, and had a great idea. She said maybe the legislators should be mentally evaluated.......

......Other drug companies besides Janssen were involved in the creation of the list. And drug company money was also used to grease the palms of politician who would ultimately have to approve the TMAP scheme.

For instance, Eli Lilly helped fund the guidelines and also has well-known ties to both Bush administrations. After Bush Senior left the CIA in 1977, he became a member of Lilly's board of directors. When he left the company to become Reagan's vice president in 1980, he forgot to mention that he still owned stock in the company at the same time that he was lobbying for tax breaks for Lilly, even though it manufactured drugs in Puerto Rico.

Bush Junior made Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and George W.'s former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels, was also a former senior vice president of Lilly.

In the 2000 election, the company contributed over $1.5 million to political candidates, with over 80 percent going to Bush and the Republican Party.....................(continued at above link)

If you might be a little concerned about your children or grandchildren and what they could be subjected to in the school system, this may be a time to call your congressman about this issue. Our representatives need to be told what we think about mandatory psychological screening of our children in the school system. Enough said? If you don't know how to contact your representative, just go to and do a search for your representatives. It's that easy. It provides e-mail access, phone numbers, fax numbers, and addresses for each one. I've found that e-mailing is not as effective as a phone call or a written letter.

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