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MindFreedom Issues Statement Calling for "Full Disclosure" about Cho

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."

1 May 2007

Statement on Cho and Full Disclosure

by David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

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 relevant 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.

While a finding that Cho had been on psychiatric drugs may not explain the entire cause to the shootings, certainly whether or not Cho was on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's), which according to multiple scientific reports may contribute to aggressive behavior, is important to know.

Opponents of our human rights are exploiting this tragedy to call for more forced psychiatric drugging. Cho had apparently been under involuntary outpatient commitment. If he was following medical orders and taking prescribed psychiatric drugs, this would also be revealing about the effectiveness of forcibly drugging our constituency in our own homes.

In fact, despite multiple media reports that psychiatric drugs were found among Cho's possessions, authorities have not released a conclusive statement about whether they found such drugs, or what type of drugs they may be.

MindFreedom is working with an attorney and its affiliate MindFreedom Virginia to file a Freedom of Information Act in the public interest to request results of the toxicology and autopsy reports. A Virginia law passed just before the shooting would prohibit such a public release of information using the Freedom of Information Act, but this law does not go into effect until July.

MindFreedom also calls for a congressional investigation of the mental health industry, especially criminal corruption, fraud and control by the pharmaceutical industry of mental health care today.

Cover-ups are not healthy for anyone's minds in our society, whatever the month.
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Chuck Hughes is a psychiatric survivor activist from Santa Barbara, California.

"I find inspiration and mental support in MindFreedom," says Chuck. "I like associating with like-minded activists for human rights in mental health. When I go into a Board or Commission and say I am a member of MindFreedom International. It gives what I say a lot more validity and my voice carries a lot farther. My first of eight involuntarily institutionalizations was at age 23. I have witnessed much injustice in mental health. I have been involved with the user and survivor movement since 1992. My goal is to help stop forced outpatient psychiatric procedures, seclusion, restraints and other human rights violations, psychiatric abuse and torture. Of particular concern is the elimination of forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) on people of all ages."
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