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2636 Grand Avenue # 310
San Diego, CA 92109
858. 581. 6205
22 March 2000
Congressman Brian Bilbray
1011 Camino Del Rio South #330
San Diego, CA 92108
Att: Kelly Bingham
Dear Congressman Bilbray,
You have, undoubtedly, seen the PR on the White House "new initiative" on the drugging of America's children by the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industries. As mentioned in my letter to you of 20 March 2000, this White House "initiative" offers an unusual opportunity to expose the history of neglect of the White House, the NICHD and NIMH concerning the real causes behind the staggering emotional-social problems and psychiatric medication of this nation's children and youth.
You have copies of my correspondence with the White House and Hillary Clinton, who have essentially ignored my pleas to attend to the real causes of child and youth depression, which drives the violence (suicide and homicide), drug abuse--as self-medication for their depression-- and now the abusive legalized psychiatric medication of our children and youth for the same primary condition--developmental depression.
Hopefully, you have had an opportunity to re-review the Time Life documentary "Rock A Bye Baby", which vividly portrays this developmental depression in animal primates and children who have suffered separation from and/or loss of mother. The two other short documentaries on that tape dramatize the consequences of child abuse and neglect and prevention with mother-infant/child bonding, i.e. mother love. Members of the Commerce sub-committees would certainly benefit from the viewing of these documentaries, as they provide insights not easily conveyed with the printed word.
I have enclosed copies of news reports from The San Diego Union Tribune and the New York Times of March 21, 2000 on this White House initiative because they contain several points which I want to draw to your attention, pursuant to our meeting of 20 March 2000. You may want to share these observations with members of the sub-committees on Health and Environment and Oversight and Investigations of the Commerce Committee.
1. Nowhere in this White House collection of health authorities, gathered for this public event, is there any alarm voiced for the magnitude of the alleged emotional disorders of our children and youth, which requires such staggering psychiatric medications.
2. No questions were raised as to the causes or origins of these apparently increasing psychiatric disabilities of our children and youth--unlike any European nation--which would call for measures of true prevention and not belated drug treatments. There were simply no expressions of concern about origins or true preventive measures.
3. No mention was made of the known biobehavioral consequences of mother-infant/child separations and lack of breastfeeding upon brain development and behavior. Many of these biobehavioral symptoms seen in the documentary films due to mother-infant/child separations, e.g. depression, hyperactivity/hyperreactivity; ritualized stereo-typical behaviors--otherwise known as obsessive-compulsive disorders; self-mutilation, which is reflected in the cultural rage of body piercing; impulse dyscontrol and violence are identical to those being treated with these psychiatric drugs.
It is rather ironic that Hillary Clinton claims that "I've worked on these issues for more than 30 years"--"I'm going to keep working on them" and is quoted as saying that "she was motivated by research showing a steep climb in toddlers being medicated without adequate research into what works best for children still undergoing crucial brain development" (see AP article by McQueen 3/21/00 "Hillary Clinton launches look at children's drugs", enclosed).
What is so outrageous by Hillary Clinton's statement is that I personally sent her and the White House, essentially the same documentation that I have sent you Congressman Bilbray, including the Time-Life award winning documentary "Rock A Bye Baby". I specifically informed her "what works best for children still undergoing crucial brain development", which she and the White House have chosen to ignore over these past seven years of the Clinton-Gore-Shalala administration.
4. The news article by McQueen notes the political strategy behind this sudden interest of Hillary Clinton and the White House on the psychiatric drugging of children and youth--why not five years ago when the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that prescriptions for 2-to-4 year-olds jumped threefold for Ritalin from 1991-1995?
McQueen states: "The first lady later dismissed questions about whether the White House event was primarily intended to bolster her Senate campaign against New York City Major Rudolph Giuliani, her presumed Republican rival. He has been accused of campaigning from City Hall" and "But taking the lead on family issues from Washington could give the first lady an advantage in her new home state, said political scientist Griffin Hathaway of Towson State University in Maryland."
There are two considerations here. First the "taking the lead on family issues from Washington" is clearly false given the history of neglect and indifference by the White House. The true "family values" are more reflected in your own comment about "getting back to the basics" of parenting with society (and fathers) supporting mothers being nurturing mothers-- when we were discussing these issues in your office.
This point is reflected in Chris Mondics' article from the Knight Ridder News Service printed in The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Help troubled children before they're dangerous, panel says" (March 10, 2000, enclosed). Mondics' article commented upon the recent school shooters, Luke Woodham, who killed his mother and two fellow students in Pearl, Miss., and Evan Ramsey, who shot his high school principal and a student in Bethel, Alaska. He cited the comments of Jim Greenwood, R-PA, a member of the congressional panel appointed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, that "the main problem is that a small number of troubled children have no meaningful contact with adults" . and "Both said that if a teacher had just put his arm around me none of this would ever have happened,"
The question here is why the teacher? What happened to Mother (whom her son killed) and Father to "put his arm around me"? Mother and Father failed and the teacher is too late! We have to begin with the birth of the newborn and before with healthy prenatal development.
The second point is that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani might be interested in this history of the failure of the White House and Hillary Clinton to act upon these issues for true prevention. They had seven years to do so and chose not to--with all the costs to the lives of children and youth that American families have experienced during the Clinton-Gore-Shalala administration.
I will look forward to your response to this additional information and to the initiatives that will be taken to place these issues on the national agenda, as "We, the People" decide what is important for America in the forthcoming November elections.
Your attention and support of these issues is most appreciated.
James W. Prescott, Ph.D.