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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 24, 2005)

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AMENDMENT NO. 11 OFFERED BY MR. PAUL

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is straightforward: "None of the funds made available in this a may be used to create or implement any universal mental health screening program."

This does not deny any funds for any testing of those individuals who may show signs of mental illness. It only denies funding for any universal, read by many as mandatory, which is a bit of overkill as far as I am concerned. There is $26 million in this bill for these programs. Eight States have already been involved, and three more have applied for grants.

The main reason why I oppose this is I think there is a lot of overtreatment of young people with psychotropic drugs. This has been going on for a lot of years, and there are a lot of bad results, and once we talk about universal testing of everybody, and there is no age limit, matter of fact, in the recommendation by the New Freedom Commission, there is a tendency for overdiagnosis and overuse of medication. There are as many complications from overuse of medication as there is with prophylactic treatment.

There is no evidence now on the books to show that the use of this medication actually in children reduces suicide. Matter of fact, there are studies that do suggest exactly the opposite. Children on psychotropic drugs may well be even more likely to commit suicide. It does not mean that no child ever qualifies for this, but to assume there is this epidemic out here that we have to test everybody is rather frightening to me.

Matter of fact, when the State gets control of children, they tend to overuse medications like this. Take, for instance, in Texas, 60 percent of the foster children are on medication. In Massachusetts, it is close to 65 percent. In Florida, 55 percent of the children in foster home care are receiving these kinds of medication.

Once again, I want to make the point that this does not deny funding for individual children who show signs that they may need or they have a problem and need to be tested. It is just to make sure that this is not universal and not be mandatory and that parental rights are guarded against and that the parent is very much involved.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 ½ minutes.

Let me assure Members that you are misconstruing the amendment. It is as if we are banning screening. That is not the case. I am just saying screening everybody is what I am trying to prevent. If there is one person out of 100,000 that commits suicide, why are Members compelled to have a program that may test 99,999 people?

This does nothing to the individual that shows the problem. You can still test them, preferably with parental consent.

Let me add that the gentleman from Ohio stated that the vote went against this amendment last year. This came up at the last minute. Let me tell Members, people in this country have been well informed about this, and they do not like this program.

I also would like to quote from the New Freedom Commission because it is true the New Freedom Commission, which is the guideline the gentleman from Ohio brought up; he brings it up, he cites what it says, so they have some value. They never say "mandatory," but they never say "voluntary." What they say is "universal."

How can you have something universal if you are not going to be testing everybody? Also from the Freedom Commission, it should be for consumers of all ages, screen for mental disorders in primary health care across the life span. These are the guidelines of the New Freedom Commission, as well as saying the schools must be partners in the mental health care of our children. Why do they not say the parents should be partners in the health care of our children?

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Chairman, as a physician, having practiced medicine for well over 30 years, let me tell Members, there is a crisis in this country. There is a crisis with illegal drugs, but there is a crisis in this country with an overuse of all drugs, especially in the area of psychiatry.

Psychiatrists, if they are honest with you, will tell you that diagnoses are very subjective. It is not like diagnosing appendicitis. It is very, very subjective. If you push on this type of testing, the more testing you have, let me guarantee it, the more drugs you will have. Sure, there are mental diseases. I am not excluding any of this when a person has true mental illness, but I am talking about the overuse of Ritalin and Prozac and many of these drugs that are pushed on these kids.

Let me tell Members, there have been some real problems with families who will not let their kids go on drugs because the schools pressure them to. They have been charged with child abuse, and threatened with taking their children away because they will not be put on these drugs. That is the kind of abuse I am calling to Members' attention, and that is why you need to vote for this amendment. It does not change anything. It does not deny anybody testing and treatment. All it does is say universal testing of everybody of all ages in this country is not the direction that we want to go. Please vote for my amendment.

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