Bill to Fund Mental Health Screening Goes to Senate

It’s another step closer to living in the ultimate nanny state:

Funding for a controversial Bush administration plan to submit the nation’s school children to mental health testing and drug treatment may end up reaching the Senate floor this week, as GOP congressional leaders look to clear the legislative slate in order to set the table for George W. Bush’s second term.

The plan, called the New Freedom Initiative (NFI), is the keystone of a package of initiatives by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, a group of doctors and mental health care professionals established by the Bush Administration in 2002. …

In 2003, the Commission published a report recommending states encourage more mental health testing and treatment for Americans and suggested public schools were an ideal place to access students and begin to root out undiagnosed and “severely disruptive” mental health issues. It pointed to a program begun during George Bush’s governorship of Texas called the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which set a standard operating procedure within a flow chart allowing psychiatrists to identify and medicate possible conditions.

In a report posted on the website of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights quotes a whistleblower who says doctors staffing the Texas program had strong links to pharmaceutical companies, and those doctors often prescribed expensive, brand-name drugs over cheaper alternatives.

It looks like a program to either diagnose and medicate our kids for political purposes, or to diagnose and medicate our kids for the economic benefit to Big Biotech.

Whichever, it’s unconscionable. It doesn’t take a hyperactive imagination to see a future in which kids raised in households with certain unpopular political views (say, libertarian) are diagnosed as being at risk.

What about homeschooled kids? Would they be required to submit to screening? And what if their parents refused to allow their children to be screened? Or the parents of public school kids who refused to fill prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs? Could they be charged with child abuse?

I haven’t seen satisfactory answers to those questions, and I doubt there are any. The government does not belong inside my daughter’s head, and I would fight to keep it out. Let’s pray that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) can marshal support for his “Let Parents Raise Their Kids Act“, which would block federal funding of any mental health screening program that does not require parental consent.

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