This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case of a dentist who's been behind bars for SIX years awaiting trial for "Medicaid fraud"; charges which, if they were all PROVEN true, would only have netted the man a little over THREE years of prison time!
The government contends the 53 year old professional is "delusional" and it should have the right to forcibly medicate him to make him capable of standing trial. The Justice Department told the Supremes that the government must have the right to medicate defendants like him to "maintain social order and peace".
Before we get to why the government might have had it out for the dentist from the giddy-up, let's first understand this recent decision by the highest court in the land.
Psychiatric professionals have managed to convince us that without pharmaceutical intervention most of us would be sad, depressed, hyperactive, psychotic zombies. With their help, they promise, we can all get through this thing called "life". They and their willing accomplices in the medical profession (along with school counselors and social workers and anyone else with some title or other) have convinced millions of Americans that the simple solution to all of the so-called "mental illnesses" and "disorders" that seem to be plaguing so many of us is…drugs. So women with PMS are encouraged to take Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft. Children are given kiddie-crack like Adderal or Ritalin, seniors are put on Haldol. "Schizophrenics" are put on neuroleptics and on and on. What the "experts" don't tell us is these drugs mess up minds and bodies… Permanently. Do some research and you'll find horrifying stats and studies that show as side effects….. SIDE EFFECTS! " suicide, depression, violent ideation and lethargy". SUICIDE as a SIDE EFFECT?
Not too long ago I went to the women's prison outside Portland, Oregon.The inmate I visited was a 'soccer mom" who had had a comfortable life a husband a couple of real great kids. She took one of the drugs I mentioned for "depression" and began having "bloody nightmares." Within weeks, she had out- of- the -blue- shot and killed her husband. Just like that. No violent past, no criminal tendencies. She will spend the better part of the rest of her life in prison, like others who've taken these types of medications and become violent. All you have to do when you hear of one of these cases is do some probing and you will more often than not find a psychiatric drug link.
Dr. Sell has been fighting to keep from being forcibly medicated. He knows the dangers of psychotropic drugs. He insists he's competent to stand trial, so why has been denied the right to do so?
In the 6-3 ruling Monday, the Court said prosecutors could forcibly medicate defendants: If it can be shown that other methods of treatment have been tried.(Sell had been in solitary confinement for almost two years and no other treatments have been tried.) Or, if the drug is " likely to work" and if the drugs are "medically appropriate".
According to Harvard-trained psychiatrist Peter Breggin, "evidence indicates the drugs (neuroleptics like the ones they want to give Dr. Sell) produce ( a psychosis) that is irreversible and more severe than the patients original problems".(Breggin, 1989)
"…these drugs may suppress rebelliousness… (which) is why they are effective wherever social control is (desired)". Hear that? The drugs they want to give Sell don't work and will likely mess him up for good, but at least they would the desired effect of making him compliant.
Now the government has been handed the go-ahead to addle our brains with powerful chemicals "if they work". A cursory look at how these drugs affect the brain should lead us to dismiss the Supreme Court's decision out of hand.
Breggin says" there is no significant body of research to prove neuroleptics have any specific effect on psychotic symptoms, such as …delusions. To the contrary, these remain rather resistant to the drugs… a recent …definitive review of controlled studies showed that (these drugs) showed that they perform no better than…placebo". (Mosher and Burti, 1989, Breggin, 1991)
So while the headlines in the Supreme Court decision assuage the fears of some, others see right through the false sense of security the ruling brings us. All prosecutors have to "prove" is that strong psychotropic drugs are "medically appropriate"(according to whom? The psychiatric profession?) and even non-violent defendants like Dr. Sell(or you or me) can be told to shut up and roll up our sleeves. Not good enough, I say to the vaunted Justices. But Sell's not alone in this.
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, http://www.aapsonline.org/legis/msehpa.pdf drawn up for the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ states that once public health officials declare a "state of public health emergency" all of us can be subject to "forced vaccination and treatment"(Section 104(1),504), "the tracking of individuals, prohibition of firearms"(huh?), and "mandatory quarantine". So, if a "public health emergency" like Monkeyshines Pox or West Pile virus should be declared a threat, kiss exercising your Constitutional and health choice freedoms bye-bye.
And, by the way, the Supreme Court decision was accompanied this week by the announcement by a federal appeals court that the U.S. government can keep the names of hundreds of people arrested and detained after September 11th secret. (So much for Article VI of that archaic parchment paper) Welcome to the Gulag.
Now, as to why this dentist has been held behind bars for so long, with the threat of forced medication hanging over his head: Sell's been diagnosed as having "delusional disorder, persecutory type". They say he plotted to kill the FBI agent who arrested him(I'd be interested in hearing the case against him in this charge)
Was it the Medicaid fraud he stands accused of? Fraud happens every day and they don't put the accused away for six years awaiting trial. Could it be something else?
Dr. Charles "Tom" Sell was a member of the Army Reserves, called up to serve as an expert in forensic dentistry at the gruesome scene of carnage that was Waco.
Here's where his "delusions" come in. He thinks the government is to blame for the fiery deaths. Sound like reason to call the man crazy and want to drug him?
It appears the government is making an example of this man. Which would lead us to ask this question:
"I wonder if they think we're delusional, too?"
© 2003 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved
Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows.
Additional articles by Mary Starrett