MindFreedom Virginia has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about Cho. MF-Virginia filed this FOIA because of press reports that the Virginia Medical Examiner has said he will not release toxicology or autopsy reports about Cho. Such reports could shed light on whether or not Cho was on a psychiatric drug at the time of the shooting.
Latest info on mental health issues and Virginia Tech tragedy.
Find more info in Media, Mind and Seung-Hui Cho a timeline of selected media stories and public statements on the interaction of the mental health system with Seung-HuiCho.
MindFreedom Virginia Files Freedom of Information Act Request About Cho
On 2 May 2007, MindFreedom Virginia has filed an official Freedom of Information Act Request with the Virginia Medical Examiner in order to obtain any toxicology or autopsy reports, in the public interest. For a copy of the letter filed by MindFreedom Virginia click here.
MindFreedom Issues Statement Calling for “Full Disclosure” about Cho
by David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
1 May 2007:
Today is supposed to be the beginning of “mental health month.” When it comes to the catastrophe at Virginia Tech, let’s not have May become “cover-up month.”
The Roanoke Times in Virginia has reported that the Virginia Medical Examiner will refuse to release results of a toxicology examination of Cho. Given the magnitude of this horrible catastrophe, MindFreedom calls for full and complete transparency about all aspects of this investigation. Such a toxicology report could shed light on whether or not Cho was in fact on psychiatric drugs at the time of the shootings.
To read the rest of the statement click here.
National Public Radio features MindFreedom director David Oaks
David Oaks, director of MindFreedom was one of their guests on the NPR national call-in show “Talk of the Nation.” The subject: how the Virginia Tech tragedy is provoking calls for more forced psychiatric drugging. David discusses his own experience of being forcibly drugged, and dialogues with callers and a psychiatrist. The portion with David begins about 15 minutes into the show, and continues for about 24 minutes.
To listen to the archive go to the NPR web site here:
To read quotes by David Oaks from that NPR Talk of the Nation show click here.
National Journal quotes MindFreedom director
The publication National Journal ran an 28 April 2007 articleabout the Virginia Tech tragedy and its impact on the forcedpsychiatric drugging debate. While the article appears to slant towardthe use of forced psychiatry, at least it quotes MindFreedom directorDavid Oaks about the importance of hearing from people “on the sharpend of the needle.”
“I was a college ‘mental patient,'” by David Oaks, personal reflections about youth, the psychiatric system, and the Virginia Tech tragedy on the MFI blog.
17 April 2007
MindFreedom Statement on Virginia Tech Massacre
At this time, there are only sketchy and unconfirmed media reports about the interaction of the mental health system with Seung-Hui Cho, the apparent shooter in the Virginia Tech Massacre.
MindFreedom is calling for an immediate and complete investigation, from the start, of all aspects of the involvement of the mental health system with this overwhelming tragedy, especially about how this impacts young people.
Some of the questions that need to be answered:
- What psychiatric drugs were prescribed, and when was Seung-Hui Cho on these prescribed drugs, and at what levels? In the past, horrible tragedies have taken place caused by someone who was on prescribed psychiatric drugs, without a thorough disclosure of the relevant facts to the public.
- What role if any did prescribed psychiatric drugs play in this tragedy? Early Associated Press reports (see related content link at bottom) state that Seung-Hui Cho was prescribed antidepressants, which are well-known to potentially lead to “disinhibition,” meaning the person is less able to control behavior that he or she would never have done without the drug.
- How effective was the care offered to Seung-Hui Cho? What was he and his family told about the effectiveness and hazards of this care? Unbiased studies that have been done indicating that, for relieving someone’s unhappiness, some antidepressants are barely more effective than a sugar pill.
- What else could have been done, such as non-drug alternatives? When Seung-Hui Cho came to the attention of mental health care professionals because of his past troubled behavior, what opportunities were lost? Was he offered a full range of humane alternatives because of an emphasis on psychiatric drugs? What was the opportunity cost here?
- If any survivors of this trauma develop extreme and overwhelming mental and emotional problems, will they be spared re-traumatization that is often experienced in the current mental health system (such as psychiatric labeling, over-drugging, electroshock, and more)?
Whatever the results of these investigations, MindFreedom continues to call for US Congressional and State Attorneys General investigations of abuse, mismarketing, fraud by the psychiatric drug industry. Young people as never before have ended up on the receiving end of this abuse.
MindFreedom is pro-choice on an individual’s personal mental health care decisions, and many of MindFreedom’s members choose to take prescribed psychiatric drugs.
Said David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom, “Our hearts go out to all those who are impacted by this nightmare. MindFreedom is a coalition. We unite people who willingly choose to take psychiatric drugs, with those who choose to not take psychiatric drugs. We unite for choice, truth, freedom, and choice. Our members on prescribed psychiatric drugs often have the most at stake in any investigation of this tragedy. Information about the mental health care of the apparent shooter should be open and transparent.”
MindFreedom has protested the way they claim the psychiatric drug industry has “taken over” much of mental health care today, creating countless human rights violations, and denying people choices of non-drug approaches. According to MindFreedom attorneys, some of this abuse by corporations are in fact criminal human rights violations.
Said Ted Chabasinski on the MindFreedom board of directors, “How long is the public going to let this go on? How many shootings and massacres will there have to be? Wake up, America! Let’s bring the drug companies under control.”
To repeat, at this early point, whether or not Cho was on prescribed psychiatric drugs is a mystery. MindFreedom is asking that all the facts be released, in as clear and documented way as possible. While the Associated Press is reporting Cho “may” have been on prescribed antidepressants, according to ABC news:
“Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history ofantidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News thatthey can find no record of such medication in the government’s files.This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, includingsamples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internetsources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirsis a reasonably complete search.”