Oregon psychologists still pressing for a license to harm mental health consumers

The article in the The Lund Report bears the headline Psychologists Continue Push for Prescribing Rights.

Psychologists are attempting to pass legislation allowing them to prescribe psychotropic drugs after Governor Ted Kulongoski vetoed such a bill in 2009. This is their fifth try.

5 strikes doesn’t seem to signal an out in this game. Where, pray tell, is the umpire!?

Only Lousiana and New Mexico, thus far, have granted psychologists a license to harm their clients in this fashion. Let’s hope interest groups and legislators can continue to keep psychologists from gaining the upper hand in their pursuit of the prescribing edge.

The battle is still raging in Oregon over prescription privileges. Psychologists want the same so-called “rights” that psychiatrists have to prescribe psychiatric drugs. At the hands of psychiatrists these prescription drugs have created an epidemic in iatrogenic (physician caused) disease.

The psychiatric drugs that these psychologists would be able to prescribe are known to cause a movement disorder and progressive neurological disease. There is also a metabolic syndrome associated with them that has been credited with being the chief reason people in mental health treatment are dying, according to one study, on average at an age 25 years younger than the rest of the population.

Granting privileges to psychologists to dispense drugs, and thereby harm patients, will certainly not lessen the amount of iatrogenic disease there is in the mental health field now. It is also not likely to appreciably increase recovery rates as drug maintenance invariably adds to the overall disability rates.

As John McCulley, a lobbyist for one of the chief offenders, the Oregon Psychiatric Association, puts it.

These are “powerful drugs,” he said, that can cause liver and kidney impairment, effect the brain, and other parts of the body. “It’s a prescription of medicine and should be done by those who have medical training.”

Opponents of the bill dispute the claim that proponents have used to support it that it will increase mental health care access in rural areas.

Why do it? Well, because psychologists want the same megalomaniacal sort of power that psychiatrists have.

I didn’t say it was a good reason.

The good news…

[Psychology professor Tanya] Tompkins is fairly confident the bill won’t pass this session. “It doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate this time,” she said, adding that it “will be close” in the House, which is split between 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans.

Let’s hope the electoriate of Oregon can prevent psychologists from being granted this license to maim and kill people in mental health treatment in years to come. Psychiatrists acting alone have managed enough destruction and devestation. We certainly don’t want to increase the numbers achieved through this damaging capacity by permitting another profession to damage people’s physical wellbeing, too.

Oregon, the eyes of the nation are upon you. Psychologists in other states are antsy for this devestating power. Do the right thing, and don’t let them have it.

2 Responses

  1. Do we know why this is being done? Is it simply to save visits to the psychiatrist, since any consultation with a psychiatrist will be more expensive? Or is it being done to increase the rate of diagnosis and then of course prescribe to larger numbers of people?

    There’s a lot of angles to this. And it can depend on who is actually pushing for it. And of those who are pushing for for it, who actually has influence. Like “Mothers For The Prevention Of My Child’s Suicide” might be shrilly clamouring for it but the government won’t do it unless the government wants to do it.

    So are the psychologists actually pushing for it and if so why? Are they just being told to ask for prescribing rights and if so by whom?

    • “This is” not “being done”. In only two states, Louisiana and New Mexico, are psychologists allowed to prescribe drugs. Psychologists in other states want those “rights”, and they want them pretty badly, but that would require legislation, and, as you can see, it isn’t happening in Oregon.

      The stated reason for the push is that there aren’t enough trained psychiatrists for, and in, rural areas, and therefore psychologists must play the part of psychiatrists in those areas. I suspect there is much more to it than that, for instance, this would mean more pay and status for the psychologists that are allowed to prescribe. I’m sure that the real reason is much less altruistic and benign than the stated reason. It is more a matter of one profession wanting to get its hands in the same pie another profession already has its hands in.

      Psychologists are pushing for this legislation, according to the article I drew from, but then not even all psychologists support it.

      Her [Tanya Tompkins] students at Linfield conducted a survey recently among 130 of the state’s 1,318 psychologists. Of the 83 who responded, 44 percent were in favor of prescribing rights, 7 percent said they’d pursue such training, while 36 percent were opposed.

      This sort of legislation would allow psychologists to become as bad, when it comes to actual harm done to patients, as psychiatrists are, and it is my considered opinion that it would be extremely detrimental to have such legislation enacted on any large scale. Just think, psychiatrists get kickbacks from drug companies, this sort of legislation is only going to foster the same sort of relationship between big pharma and psychology. Psychologists are no less capable of becoming pharmaceutical industry puppets than psychiatrists. Should this legislation be enacted, we will get psychologist pharmaceutical industry puppets out of it.

      The biggest issue I have with any sort of legislation of this sort is that it would mean more harm and death coming to people who have experienced the mental health system from the inside. If you allow another profession to prescribe psychiatric drugs, more people are going to receive psychiatric drugs, and thus more people are going to be injured by psychiatric drugs. Psychiatrists are primarily pill pushers now while psychologists often play the role of counselors. Increasing the numbers of pill pushers is not a good policy. I would like to see less harm come to people in treatment rather than more.

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