Prisoners of psychiatry: the first abused, the last defended

The very first sentence in an article in a recent issue of The Baltimore Sun, Many drugs in short supply at hospitals, pharmacies, runs as follows:

For a time this year, a psychiatric hospital run by the state of Maryland didn’t have enough injectable drugs for schizophrenia patients who refused to take pills.

What this article doesn’t tell you is that these drugs are dangerous. They can cause permanent brain damage, and they cause a metabolic syndrome that can cut short a life by many many years. I don’t think anybody should be forced to take such drugs who doesn’t want to do so. I don’t think people should be forced to imbibe alchohol or snort coke who don’t want to do so either.

I’d like to point out that this alarmist first sentence shows an astonishing lack of regard for the humanity of people imprisoned inside state mental hospitals. It is considered entirely acceptable to disregard their citizenship rights. It is considered entirely acceptable to physically assault them, and to drug them into a numb oblivion. Neither one of these precedures are acceptable in my book, and they never will be. Since when did the branch of what purports to be a medical science become grafted onto the trunk of the tree of police science!?

This sort of callousness points to the fact that prisoners in state mental hospitals DON’T have the right to choose what kind of treatment they receive. It points to the fact that they are 1. prisoners, and 2. forcibly treated. Imprisonment and coerced drugging are violations of one’s human and civil rights to freedom of movement, and to security of mind, body and person.

That such a sentence would serve as an introduction in an article of this sort indicates, to use a metaphor, just how steep a climb psychiatric survivor and mental health consumers have yet to summount before their citizenship rights are officially acknowledged, publicly recognized and fully restored.

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2 Responses

  1. You got it completely right in your prisoners in psychiatry. People are conned into believing that since an institution is called a hospital than any drugs “given” are considered “medicine”. Easy to rationalize this as therapy; harder to rationalize a straitjacket as therapy. Bottom line here is that these so-called hospitals are all about control(prison) where people are sent to be straightened out (controlled, changed, punished, etc. etc.). The reporter bought into the psychiatric con; if she didn’t, she might end up having to be straightened out.

    • A hospital doesn’t have the drugs to dope up patients that refuse to take pills. I was offended. This is an article on a shortage of pharmaceutical products, and the first fear this reporter has is that psychiatric patients won’t get their dose. Ill people could be dying, and the media is playing on the general public’s slasher movie image of people in psychiatric treatment, an image created and fostered by this same media. These drugs aren’t really medicine, they are actually agents of social control. The big fear is of people losing control–somebody else’s control–the president’s control, the police state’s control, some corporate executive’s control, the control of the advertising industry. This beginning sentence is about towing the line, and intolerance of difference. Just think, now with ankle bracelets and involuntary outpatient commitment laws or forced drug treatment laws, the future will have to contend with hospitals and prisons without walls as the institutions of containment creep further and further into the community at large. Given these developments, I can easily foresee a time in the future when over burdened and harried people whistfully reminisce about a long gone period in the not so distant past when the concept of freedom was one of our nation’s most cherished values.

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