The American Psychiatric Association meeting in New Orleans

Last year I was protesting the American Psychiatric Association convention held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco just outside of that center. This year the annual event was held in New Orleans where I would have liked to have done the same thing if possible. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove possible. Someone did attend (Oh, darn!), and someone was protesting, too (Yippee!).

With PB oil rushing in just off the coast, these pharmaceutical company puppets couldn’t claim to be the baddest boys in town, this time.

Martha Rosenberg was there, and she covered the event for Counter Punch in an article called Meeting the drug industry.

It was 95 degrees with 99 percent humidity. The Gulf had the biggest oil spill in US history. And attendees to last week’s American Psychiatric Convention (APA) annual meeting in New Orleans had to brave 200 protestors chanting “no drugging kids for money” and “no conflicts of interest” to get into the convention hall.

I’m pretty sure the 200 or so protestors mentioned here were connected with the Citizens Commision on Human Rights (CCHR), a human rights organization with close ties to the Church of Scientology. They held a protest in 2009, too, accompanied across the way by a small number of counter protestors. I remember seeing busload after busload of people arrive who took part in this march and rally. Our affair was much more modest number wise. We were the ex-patient psychiatric survivors, and our event took place the following day.

Overt conflicts of interest and drug company influence were suppressed to a greater degree at this years event than they had been at previous APA meetings.

“They used to wine us and dine us,” said one participant, a veteran of decades of annual meetings, ruefully.

“An SSRI maker flew my entire group to a Caribbean island,” remembered a doctor from the East coast who did not want to be identified. Anymore.

This account ends with the report of a study done at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, taking a look at polypharmacy, and finding it damaging. We could have told them that.

When 24 patients on polypharmacy combinations of Seroquel, Zyprexa and other antipsychotics were reduced to only one drug — monotherapy — there was no worsening of symptoms or increased hospitalizations in 23. Not only did patients not deteriorate, their waist circumferences and triglycerides improved, say the researchers as drug interactions, side effects and, of course, cost of treatment declined.

Now if only these guys could do something about monopharmacy. I don’t see it though. I just see more selling of “mental illness” labels and the zombifying drugs that go along with those labels.

I hear there’s going to be another big bash of this sort in 2012 in Philadelphia. I’ve also heard there are going to be protesters at this upcoming APA meeting as well. If so, the hounds of hell couldn’t keep me away. I will carry a sign, and I will do my part to drive our message home to the nation at large. Psychiatric drugs are no way to treat people and other living creatures.

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