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Hunger Strike On Overuse Of Medications Hits 11th Day
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2003

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA--Nearly two dozen people from the U.S. and Europe have been on a hunger strike since August 16 to protest what they consider human rights violations within the mental health service system.

The action is being led by MindFreedom, a grassroots advocacy group that is trying to change the bias in the mental health system which relies heavily on drugs for treatment -- sometimes against the will of the person being treated.

Organizers say that when a person is in crisis there are a number of things they need for support to make it through. The psychiatric community, which MindFreedom believes is influenced a great deal by pharmaceutical companies, tends to prescribe medications as the first, and often only, option.

MindFreedom's director, David Oaks, claims that there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance. The hunger strikers are demanding that the American Psychiatric Association produce "scientifically valid evidence" proving that mental illness is biologically-based.

Representatives of MindFreedom did meet Wednesday with Marcia Kraft Goin, MD, PhD, current president of the APA.

The activists called the meeting "valuable". Goin called it "interesting".

"We're pleased with this development," said hunger striker Mickey Weinberg, "But we're going to continue this Fast for Freedom."

Related articles:
"Activist strikes over psychiatrists' faith in drug therapy" (Eugene Register-Guard)

http://www.registerguard.com/news/2003/08/26/d1.cr.mindfreedom.0826.html
"Hunger Strikers Hold Face to Face Meeting Today with President of American Psychiatric Association" (MindFreedom.org) http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike38.shtml

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