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The Troubled Teen Industry / Isolation
« on: May 12, 2007, 10:38:50 PM »
Post removed by administration: reason: inflammatory.

Publish Date: 5/1/2007

Hinton OK’d to leave state

Vic Vela
The Daily Record
The Royal Gorge Academy co-director accused of assault and false imprisonment of several students can move out of state if he wishes to, while returning for court proceedings, a judge ruled Monday.

In addition, Randall Hinton, 32, pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces in Norman Cooling’s Fremont County courtroom as a trial date also was set.

The defense motion to relocate out of state was not met with objection by the prosecution nor the alleged victims in the case, who were not present for Monday’s hearing.

Meanwhile, several Academy administrators appeared in the courtroom to support Hinton, including school co-director Brian Lemons.

When asked by Cooling if it was the defendant’s desire to move to Utah, where he had lived prior to opening the school, Hinton responded, “Yes, I’d just like to have that option.”

The defendant faces seven counts of third-degree assault and two false imprisonment charges, all misdemeanors. Hinton was arrested in January following a Canon City Police Department investigation into charges that he was abusive toward students at the private boarding school.

A trial date was set for Aug. 27-31. His next court appearance, a motions hearing, is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 28.

Hinton was represented by his attorney, Michael Gillick; the prosecution by Deputy District Attorney Thom LeDoux.

Vic Vela can be reached at ... sp?ID=6843


World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) / ..
« on: April 01, 2007, 08:27:25 AM »

SAN DIEGO ? An undercover police investigation launched months ago resulted in the arrest of 15 students on drug-possession charges Wednesday morning at University City High School and Patrick Henry High School.

Police said two of the students had marijuana in their possession when they were detained.

Two San Diego police officer posed as students during the fall semester at the two campuses. They bought drugs on or near school, including prescription pain medication, marijuana, ecstasy and psilocybin, otherwise known as magic mushrooms, police said.

At University City High School, police arrested eight boys and one girl, ranging in age from 15 to 17.

At Patrick Henry, in Del Cerro, six male students were arrested. They ranged in age from 15 to 18.

Authorities said they also plan to seek an arrest warrant for a student who transferred from University City to a school in Ohio.

The arrests were made without incident and the operation ?was very smooth and very low-key,? said school district spokeswoman Ursula Kroemer.

Police officials said they conducted the operation to combat drug activity in and around the campuses. The undercover officers bought 6.3 grams of marijuana, 5 ecstasy pills, 6.4 grams of mushrooms and 12 pain pills.

The superintendent was informed about the investigation from the start, with principals at the two schools learning about it Tuesday, Kroemer said.

?On one hand it is a little bit (of) startling information. On the other hand it is keeping with our zero-tolerance policy,? she said. ?One thing we can say is we think the arrests send a very clear message: We don't tolerate drug use, possession or selling on campus.?

Three students were on probation for drug-related offenses and several were repeat offenders, police said.

Police said the students are to be charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics for sale and some will face an enhanced charge accusing them of selling drugs in and around a school.

School district officials had said that police would hold a media briefing Wednesday afternoon, but police officials issued a release with information on the incident instead.

Acting police Capt. Shelley Zimmerman said she couldn't say whether the department had undercover police officers posing as students at any other district campus.

She said no other arrests were expected from the operation. ... hool2.html

The Troubled Teen Industry / Mad Love for Program Parents
« on: January 03, 2007, 04:40:26 AM »
Without you, fornits wouldn't be possible.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Abused, drugged and unprotected
« on: January 03, 2007, 01:00:24 AM »
article source

Mentally ill children suffer in state-paid centers

By Spencer Hunt
and Debra Jasper
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

At Ohio psychiatric centers, workers molested children, denied them food or gave them alcohol and drugs. Some kids suffered broken bones. Others lived in homes so dirty they urinated on the floor by their beds.

Taxpayers shell out $160 to $1,000 a day for each mentally ill child who lives in these private treatment centers.

But a Cincinnati Enquirer investigation reveals that kids don't always get the help they're promised. Some struggle just to survive.

"You have kids secluded, restrained and injured over and over again," says Carolyn Knight, director of the Ohio Legal Rights Service, a state-funded agency that investigates how children are treated inside facilities.

"It's like Dante's Inferno: 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.'"

Whether a child ends up in a troubled treatment center or one that helps is largely a gamble, state records and interviews show. A review of the 10 largest facilities statewide shows that conditions were so bad in the past three years that the government ordered three not to admit new children and a fourth to stop putting kids in seclusion.

Yet with demand high and space short, county officials who send more than 7,000 children into treatment each year say they place kids wherever they find an opening. These children include abuse victims, anorexic girls, teen sex offenders and youths who repeatedly cut themselves or are suicidal. Most are mentally ill. Some are as young as 3 or 4.

Michael Hogan, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health, acknowledges that some centers are troubled, but says that most improved in the past few years after state inspectors cited them for failing to protect kids.

"We've never found gross and willful neglect. We have found disturbing patterns of problems," he says. "We've worked to correct those."

Hogan says the state tries to help facilities change rather than shut them down because Ohio desperately needs homes willing to take in the most difficult kids.

"Any child being hurt is unacceptable, but when you ask, what are the norms, there are no norms for what is acceptable. Are we satisfied?" he says. "We're never satisfied, but I'd say we're realistic about how complicated this is."

Knight says the system is so complex that many families can't figure out who's in charge of watching over their children, and many kids are sent to centers that can't help them.

"We saw overworked, undertrained staff in very volatile, high-burnout situations," Knight says. "Parents send their children there thinking, 'Johnny is going to get better, and some day he's coming home.' But all too often they just end up back in another facility."

Kids 'deserve better'

Advocates say it's difficult to find good care for mentally ill children in Ohio because the state closed most of its mental institutions in the late 1980s and early 1990s - and created few programs to replace them.

Ohio once operated 17 mental hospitals caring for more than 20,000 children and adults. Today, the state runs nine hospitals caring for 1,100 adults - and no children.

As a result, thousands of mentally ill kids seek help outside state institutions. But severe shortages persist, and children routinely wait three months or more just for an office visit with a psychiatrist.

Those who don't get therapy, or turn violent, depressed or suicidal, often end up in Ohio's privately run treatment centers. Twenty-two companies operate licensed centers in Ohio, providing 937 beds.

"Residential treatment centers have kids that 10 years ago would have been in psychiatric hospitals," explains Penny Wyman, director of the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies. "We serve children who, if they don't get help, end up homeless, in juvenile detention or prison."

To be sure, not all treatment provided by centers is suspect. Many children live in well-maintained facilities with supportive, trained staff. They have access to psychiatrists, medication, group counseling and other critical help.

But thousands of kids are caught in a system so confusing that even officials in the state Department of Mental Health and Department of Job and Family Services struggle to explain how it works.

State officials don't even track how many investigations of abuse and neglect are done or their outcomes. At times the two departments argue over which agency should inspect which center.

With state oversight spotty and confounding, much of the burden for funding and operating the mental health care system falls to 88 different counties. As many as five agencies in one county might share responsibility for a child - who may be in treatment several counties away or even out of state.

"For some kids, the practical effects of the licensing system can be devastating," says a 2002 report by the Ohio Legal Rights Service. "Families don't know who is responsible for their child or their child's rights, and parents frequently aren't told when their child has been abused, injured or is ill."

'Blatant abuse'

Much of what happens inside facilities that house children is secret because of federal and state privacy laws. But extensive interviews and an examination of state inspection records, court documents and government studies provide a glimpse into how the system works.

For example, an inspector in the Mental Health Department cited the Cleveland Children's Aid Society in 2002 for failing to report injuries to children, calling it "blatant abuse."

The report also found that a worker grabbed and broke a boy's right arm, the home was dirty, staff was poorly trained and there was only one bathroom for 15 children so some kids urinated in their bedrooms. The center also failed to show that it followed 14 state rules to care for children and keep them safe, the inspector said.

"It was apparent from the documentation that staff aggravate daily situations which in turn escalates children," the inspector wrote. "This has and will continue to result in injury to staff, ineffective mental health treatment, child injury and child abuse."

Roberta King, chief executive officer of Children's Aid, says the worker who broke a boy's arm was suspended and retrained. She says the company corrected problems, but restraints are sometimes necessary to keep children safe.

"The Ohio Department of Mental Health, they don't think a child should be restrained at any time," King says. "I quite frankly think some folks at the mental health board need to spend a couple hours or a day at some of these facilities for kids."

'A pincushion'

Mental health regulators also found serious problems at Belmont Pines Hospital in Youngstown, which they put on probation for five months and banned from admitting any more children.

The action came after Ohio Legal Rights Service wrote to the state complaining that workers gave children too many shots of powerful drugs to control their behaviors.

"We are concerned about how frequently the facility uses emergency medication shots," an April 2002 letter by agency worker Beth A. Oberdier said. "Our further concern is the use of Haldol and Thorazine on children."

A month later, Judy Jackson-Winston, a Cuyahoga County Mental Health Board official, also complained that Belmont Pines improperly drugged kids. She said one father told her that his son and other children were sedated whenever they got upset.

"The treatment the father had in mind did not include his son being used as a pincushion," Jackson-Winston wrote the Department of Mental Health. "He is concerned that nearly every encounter ends with (his) son receiving a shot."

Drugs commonly are used to treat mental illness. And sometimes, even children need several strong drugs administered at the same time, authorities say.

But Patricia Goetz, a child psychiatrist with the state, wrote the Mental Health Department that the medications used on Belmont Pines children "have effects that last far longer than required for a patient to regain self control."

Mental health department records show that Belmont Pines, a 65-bed facility, changed its policies, and the state took it off probation.

Officials at the home wouldn't comment. But the facility's parent company, Nashville-based Ardent Health Services, said in a statement that it's committed to operating the home according to state and federal regulations.

Other centers also use powerful drugs to control children's behavior, according to a 2002 Legal Rights Service review of medical charts at four, unnamed centers.

The report found children as young as 10 on six different kinds of psychotropic drugs at once, including an 8-year-old on eight medications that caused serious adverse side effects. It said most weren't approved for use in children.

In another case, a 13-year-old boy was given three shots of Haldol and three shots of Ativan in one five-hour-period. A 12-year-old girl, born addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol and sexually abused until she turned 3, was given six shots of Thorazine, restrained by two or three men 31 different times and put in seclusion 23 times during a nine-month period.

"These children aren't combative anymore, they're just drugged out. They do well to just get out of bed," says Knight, the agency's executive director.

"Who can really fathom yet what the side effects are? The cumulative effects of multi-meds and heavy doses can just gnaw away at a child's life."

No state action

Psychotropic medications aren't the only drugs improperly given to children. At a treatment center in Parma, Ohio, a police investigation two years ago found that a worker gave kids laughing gas, Ecstasy and marijuana before having sex with a 13-year-old girl and watching two other kids have sex together.

Another former youth counselor, Michael Brown, 49, of Cleveland, got sexual favors from six boys at the center by letting them drink liquor, taking them on field trips, giving them expensive gifts, or promising to adopt them.

Brown and five other workers at Parmadale, a 48-bed treatment center near Cleveland, were indicted on 110 charges ranging from corruption of a minor to rape.

Four workers await trial, one was sentenced to six months' probation for importuning, and, in August, Brown pleaded guilty to kidnapping, gross sexual imposition and tampering with records. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

One 17-year-old victim told Brown in court: "I thought you loved me, but you hurt me and some of my friends. You will no longer have control of me after today."

Cuyahoga County, which pays Parmadale $2 million a year to house its troubled children, stopped sending kids there during the investigation but started again last March after the company moved administrators and therapists into buildings to better supervise children.

Child-welfare director Jim McCafferty says the county steps in because it's not always clear if or when the state will take action. "It's a disjointed system," he says.

Kids at risk

Inspectors also put the Oak Ridge Treatment Center near Ironton on probation after determining the center housed young sex offenders with boys under 12.

When children complained they were being sexually abused, Oak Ridge couldn't show it offered them medical care or treatment. State officials in 2001 also faulted Oak Ridge staff for taking away children's belongings, including their clothes, and for denying kids food, drinks and access to the kitchen - except to clean it.

Oak Ridge's director, Dr. W. Michael Dowdy, disputes claims that his facility admitted child sex offenders. "These are issues that are behind us and that we've more than adequately addressed," Dowdy says. "We've never had issues like that again."

The state lifted the probation three months later after the 75-bed facility said it created a new policy to handle and report accusations of sex abuse, hired more workers and better trained them.

State officials also took action against a Springfield treatment center after getting complaints that it put kids in a time-out room 134 times in a two-month period in 2002 - and left them there for as long as nine hours.

The state ordered the facility, Oesterlen Services for Youth, to stop the practice after Ohio Legal Rights brought it to officials' attention.

Donald Warner, director of the 52-bed facility, says the home opted to stop using time outs because it would cost too much to remodel the rooms. He disputed the claim by Ohio Legal Rights that some children spent hours in them.

"Some of that had to do with our staff not filling out the paperwork correctly," Warner says.

He says the issue looked more serious on paper than it actually was. "No one, to my knowledge, alleged that Oesterlen was ever mistreating kids."


Advocates for the mentally ill say kids and their families will continue to suffer until the state sets clear standards for treatment and establishes a single state licensing body in charge of oversight.

Ohio Legal Rights has urged the state to better track abuse and neglect, evaluate treatment centers and publish the results. Under the current system, "Families are left out, and kids are short-changed."

Advocates like Gayle Channing Tenenbaum of the Ohio Public Children Services Association agree that children need help now. "The system is unfair and wrong. What could be worse for a family than to have a child who is abused, or who can't get access to good treatment?" she says.

"If I felt like some official at the state was agonizing or losing sleep over this, I'd feel a lot better," she adds. "But right now, I just don't think anybody is."

The Troubled Teen Industry / Book Details Psychiatric Abuse of Queer Teen
« on: January 02, 2007, 11:57:20 PM »
In my last article, I wrote about some of the problems experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) teenagers. In this article, I'd like to discuss The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Daphne Scholinski and Jane Meredith Adams. Published in 1997 and set in the early 1980's, this book provides a real-life account of the psychiatric abuse endured over a period of three years by a teenage lesbian diagnosed with gender identity disorder.


Daphne Scholinski is fifteen years old when her parents decide she is out of control and place her in a series of mental hospitals.

Certainly, Daphne has her share of problems. She has been sexually abused several times-by a female babysitter, by a man who lived across the street from her mother and convinced her he was a professional hit man, and by a thirty year old man who told the fourteen year old Daphne they were having a "relationship." Her mother ignores her. Her father routinely beats her with a belt. She is understandably depressed.

To gain some small measure of acceptance, she joins a street gang, begins using drugs and alcohol, and engages in petty theft.

Yet these are not the problems which concern the staff of the first hospital when Daphne arrives at their door. Instead they notice that she looks more like a boy than a girl. Her hair is cropped short, unstyled. She doesn't wear makeup. She doesn't wear "feminine" clothes. Most of her close friends are boys. Daphne's psychiatrist gives her the diagnosis "gender identity disorder," a label which haunts her over the next three years.

From the first hospital, she is transferred to another facility specializing in the care of adolescents. Here, Daphne's "treatment" involves learning how to fix her hair and put on makeup. She is given "points" for wearing eye shadow, "points" for selecting feminine garb, and, even more disturbingly, "points" for hugging male counselors.

In a private journal, Daphne notes that she sometimes feels attracted to girls. A staff member read this, and several counselors question her closely about her sexual orientation. Scared and uncertain, Daphne denies being a lesbian.

Daphne's second facility is designed to provide short-term treatment. Unsurprisingly, her gender identification does not change. More importantly, she has a good insurance policy, so rather than being discharged, she is transferred to a third psychiatric facility where she remains until the age of eighteen.

At the third facility, Daphne is no longer required to wear makeup and feminine clothing, but the staff continues to confront her about her masculine behavior and her sexual orientation. When she develops a friendship with another female resident, several staff members accuse her of having a sexual relationship with the resident. She and her friend are allowed to see each other only under the strictest supervision, and all phone calls are monitored.

nterestingly, during that same period Daphne is raped by one male resident and sexually assaulted by another, and the staff makes no effort to provide supervision or protection.

Daphne's mental health insurance coverage ends on her eighteenth birthday. Five days later, she is discharged from the hospital. She later learns that her insurance has paid out nearly a million dollars for her three years of inpatient "treatment."

As of the date of publication of this book, author Daphne Scholinski is an artist and an activist speaking out for the rights of LBGT youth. She continues to eschew typically "feminine" styles of dress and behavior, and is involved with a female partner. She writes that she continues to have nightmares and flashbacks about the psychiatric abuse she experienced during her teenage years.

Style of Writing

The events are chronicled in first person, from Daphne's point of view. Chapters detailing her experiences in the psychiatric facilities are alternated with chapters describing the events leading up to her hospitalization.

Daphne Scholinski's writing style is steady and matter-of-fact as she describes one horrific experience after another without hyperbole and, remarkably, with no trace of self pity. She even manages to weave a thread of humor through her narrative as she describes finding a way to sneak out of the third hospital for regular runs to the local liquor store.


The Last Time I Wore a Dress deals with many issues faced by teenagers and young adults-physical and sexual abuse, divorce, gang involvement, problems at school, problems with peers, depression, alcohol and drugs. Through it all runs the theme of gender identity and sexual orientation, and how these issues play upon everything else going on in Daphne's life.

For instance, her "best friend" before she is hospitalized frequently teams up with other girls to tackle Daphne, hold her down, and paint makeup on her face. Daphne realizes that this is not the behavior of a true friend, but continues the relationship because she is desperate for social contact.

Also, the staffs of all three psychiatric hospitals where Daphne is treated emphasize her gender identity and sexual orientation to the exclusion of all other issues in her life. At places in the narrative, Daphne provides doctor's notes from her actual chart. The notes of all three facilities acknowledge the abuse that Daphne has endured at the hands of family members and others, but no doctor suggests post-traumatic stress disorder as a diagnosis, and no part of the treatment plan deals with helping Daphne overcome the effects of the abuse. One doctor even blames Daphne, telling her that if she were more feminine, people would treat her better.

Daphne herself keeps in touch with the thirty year old man with whom she had a "relationship" before her hospitalization so she can tell her therapist she is with a man.

Furthermore when Daphne is raped by a male resident of the third facility, she believes she cannot confide in the staff:

"I thought if I told my therapist what had happened, she'd want to know exactly why didn't you want to sleep with Luke, a fine, handsome boy..."

Finally, the book emphasizes how one person really can make a difference, as Daphne clings to the words of the one student counselor who tells her she is "sane" and "normal."


The events in The Last Time I Wore a Dress sound like they should have happened ages ago, at Bedlam hospital, perhaps, or in one of the 1950s "snake pits." The fact that they happened less than twenty years ago adds a razor edge to this book. The fact that teenagers and young adults are still being hospitalized and treated for "gender identity disorder" makes it downright terrifying.

I would highly recommend The Last Time I Wore a Dress to anyone concerned about the well-being of LBGT teens. Make no mistake, however, reading this book is a grueling experience. I would advise readers to be aware of their own issues before picking it up. If you believe the book may be triggering for you, either give it a pass for now or make sure you have excellent support while you're reading it.

Scholinski, Daphne & Adams, Jane Meredith (1997). The Last Time I Wore a Dress.. Riverhead Books: New York.

Note: This article was originally published under the title "Book Details Psychiatric Abuse of Lesbian Teen." A reader notified me that Daphne actually identifies more as transsexual and asked if I would change the title to "queer teen," which I was glad to do. My apologies for any confusion. ... es/67536/3

9 ... Id=6115760
Morning Edition, September 21, 2006 ·

Most insurance policies limit the amount and type of psychiatric care children can get. And in many parts of the country, there aren't even any child psychiatrists to get an appointment with. So parents who have teenagers battling serious psychological problems often struggle to get treatment.

But for Amy, a sweet-faced, polite 16-year-old who has suffered bouts of major depression, her family could afford the best.

Several years ago, she ended up in the psychiatric wing of a general hospital.

"It was just a dirty place," she recalls. "I mean the cot is tiny that you sleep on, it's just uncomfortable. It's one blanket, one pillow. It's white all over, it's not welcoming."

And it was scary, she adds.

"The other kids, you know, they had behavioral problems and they were mean and I was so scared," Amy says. "I wanted to get out of there. I didn't care if I got help. All I wanted to do was leave."

She left the hospital after four days and saw a therapist regularly. Recently, sitting on a couch with her aunt, she was able to talk comfortably about it. But her brow furrowed and her big brown eyes squinched a bit when she remembered what happened soon after she got out of the hospital.

A Life 'Out of Control'

"I was a great student and my grades were just dropping and my friends noticed I was sad," she says. "I was crying in school and had trouble getting out of bed, it was a nightmare."

She had family problems to deal with and her own depression.

"I became suicidal and my life was out of control," Amy says. "I had no control over it. I was scared. This wasn't how I was or how my life was supposed to be."

She didn't want to go back to a psychiatric hospital.

"Of course I said no, I'm not going to a hospital where you have to stay, but I knew I needed the help, so eventually I said OK.

But this time her therapist got her into one of the premier hospitals in the country, Sheppard Pratt, which just last November opened a new psychiatric hospital designed for teens. It's called Overlook, and it's an eight-bed facility for adolescents diagnosed with major depression or psychotic disorders.

Tailored, Luxury Care

It's housed in a shady brick building on rolling hills north of Baltimore. The cost is $1,700 a day. That's straight out of parents' wallets, because Overlook doesn't accept any insurance. Patients get made-to-order meals, high-speed Internet and they stay in private rooms similar to those you would find in a premier hotel.

Her room comes with her own bathroom, a TV, phone, desk, a comfortable chair and a queen size bed.

But Amy doesn't spend much time there. She's busy virtually all day and evening with activities, led by trained psychotherapists, aimed at giving kids insight into themselves and getting them to enjoy life again.

Overlook psychiatrist Jack Vaeth lists some of the options.

"We have art therapists who not only conduct art classes in groups but who interpret the artwork," Vaeth says. "And many of the kids in here have gone on to take art lessons as a result of their experience."

There's music therapy, tai chi and meditation. Family members come in for therapy sessions. Since psychiatrists spend weeks or months with patients, they're able to fine-tune the psychiatric medications they're prescribing. And they give each patient almost unlimited hours of one-on-one talk therapy. Vaeth says it's often a form called cognitive behavioral therapy.

"Cognitive behavior therapy is a very practical therapy, nothing esoteric about it," Vaeth says. "They will sit down with you and come up with practical solutions for reframing your thought processes, because often your thought processes are, 'I'm not good because of one thing or the other.'"

Amy learned how to deal with her self-defeating thoughts, and she was taught how to set goals.

"You pick a goal that's hard, but you know you can do it," Amy explains, such as learning new coping skills.

There's group therapy as well. Amy remembers working with two others. They were given a rope and two buckets, one filled with plastic balls, and were told to move the balls to the other bucket without using their hands. They learned it could be done by just one person, moving the plastic balls with her feet.

Breaking Down the Insurmountable

Vaeth says exercises like these teach kids that often a problem in life that looks insurmountable can sometimes be easily solved.

"We listen very carefully," Vaeth says. "We have exactly what parents would like to have: one-to-one care, more groups, greater structure and more time to work with the kids. And, quite frankly, weekends are just as busy as weekdays, which you won't find anywhere at any hospital.

But at more than twice the cost of most other hospitals, is Overlook better? Vaeth says having an open-ended stay not controlled by insurers means doctors have time to make difficult diagnoses. At least two kids who came to Overlook had been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. They both turned out to have a mild form of autism requiring very different treatment.

Insurers, however, say that treatment lasts as long as is medically necessary, and they would be interested in seeing data on whether the amenities or the level of clinical care make a difference in how kids do.

Cheaper in the End

Psychiatrist Vaeth doesn't have the data, but he thinks Overlook could prove cheaper than multiple short-term stays at other hospitals, and that insurers might learn from some of Overlook's approaches.

"If this program flourishes and does well and people say, 'Wow, if you have $1,700 a day, you will do well psychiatrically,' then why couldn't we develop a similar program but maybe scaled down to $1,000 a day?

That's closer to what insurance companies might be willing to pay.

Right now, Overlook is half full, and some other hospitals are considering luxury care, such as the Harvard-affiliated MacLean, which already offers an intensive therapy program. That program has fewer amenities like private rooms, but it is sometimes covered by insurance.

Amy left Overlook after four months, at a cost of about $200,000. Her aunt says her niece has gained enormous perspective and strength. Amy thinks so, too.

"I've changed, I've just become so much stronger, and I can handle things so much better, and I care about things," she says. "And it's the little things that matter to me, it's like when I walked in here, I was Amy, and I'm walking out of here as Amy times 10."

Today, Amy's at a regular boarding school. She calls back in to talk to Overlook nurses every week or so. She says she's going to make it.


200k for four months!!! WOW.

Dr fool is a tool in need of some serious bitch slappin. he flew the bumfights guy all the way to his show taping then brought him into the studio ran the promo and then got upset? hes showboating for the crowd, couldnt be more fake if you tried. the bumfights dude knows this will only sell more tapes because he knows deep down people like to see violence... too bad he doesnt have some dr phil fight videos now that id like to see.

No 'smoking' gun -- Research indicates teen marijuana use does not predict drug, alcohol abuse

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 4 -- Marijuana is not a ?gateway? drug that predicts or eventually leads to substance abuse, suggests a 12-year University of Pittsburgh study. Moreover, the study?s findings call into question the long-held belief that has shaped prevention efforts and governmental policy for six decades and caused many a parent to panic upon discovering a bag of pot in their child?s bedroom.

The Pitt researchers tracked 214 boys beginning at ages 10-12, all of whom eventually used either legal or illegal drugs. When the boys reached age 22, they were categorized into three groups: those who used only alcohol or tobacco, those who started with alcohol and tobacco and then used marijuana (gateway sequence) and those who used marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco (reverse sequence).

Nearly a quarter of the study population who used both legal and illegal drugs at some point ? 28 boys ? exhibited the reverse pattern of using marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco, and those individuals were no more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who followed the traditional succession of alcohol and tobacco before illegal drugs, according to the study, which appears in this month?s issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

?The gateway progression may be the most common pattern, but it?s certainly not the only order of drug use,? said Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and lead author of the study. ?In fact, the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.?

In addition to determining whether the gateway hypothesis was a better predictor of substance abuse than competing theories, the investigators sought to identify characteristics that distinguished users in the gateway sequence from those who took the reverse path. Out of the 35 variables they examined, only three emerged to be differentiating factors: Reverse pattern users were more likely to have lived in poor physical neighborhood environments, had more exposure to drugs in their neighborhoods and had less parental involvement as young children. Most importantly, a general inclination for deviance from sanctioned behaviors, which can become evident early in childhood, was strongly associated with all illicit drug use, whether it came in the gateway sequence, or the reverse.

While the gateway theory posits that each type of drug is associated with certain specific risk factors that cause the use of subsequent drugs, such as cigarettes or alcohol leading to marijuana, this study?s findings indicate that environmental aspects have stronger influence on which type of substance is used. That is, if it?s easier for a teen to get his hands on marijuana than beer, then he?ll be more likely to smoke pot. This evidence supports what?s known as the common liability model, an emerging theory that states the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug but instead by the user?s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.

?The emphasis on the drugs themselves, rather than other, more important factors that shape a person?s behavior, has been detrimental to drug policy and prevention programs,? Dr. Tarter said. ?To become more effective in our efforts to fight drug abuse, we should devote more attention to interventions that address these issues, particularly to parenting skills that shape the child?s behavior as well as peer and neighborhood environments.?

Indeed, according to the study, interventions focusing on behavior modification may be more effective prevention tactics than current anti-drug initiatives. For example, providing guidance to parents ? particularly those in high-risk neighborhoods ? on how to boost their caregiving skills and foster bonding with their children, could have a measurable effect on a child?s likelihood to smoke marijuana. Also, early identification of children who exhibit antisocial tendencies could allow for interventions before drug use even begins.

Although this research has significant implications for drug abuse prevention approaches, Dr. Tarter notes that the study has some limitations. First, as only male behaviors were studied, further investigation should explore if the results apply to women as well. Also, the examination of behaviors in phases beyond alcohol and marijuana consumption in the gateway series will be necessary.

CONTACT: Jocelyn Uhl Duffy

Other study authors include Michael Vanyukov, Ph.D., and Maureen Reynolds, Ph.D., and Levent Kirisci, Ph.D., also of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy; and Duncan Clark, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. ... 120406.php

Open Free for All / Father Grieves After Son Kills Himself At School
« on: December 16, 2006, 10:02:07 PM »
The father of the 16-year-old who killed himself inside his high school Tuesday over a less-than-satisfactory report card urged students at a candlelight vigil to listen to troubled classmates.

?You got to talk to anyone who has a problem and listen to the problem,? Halligan said. ?I?m not saying Shane did talk to anyone, but obviously, he had an issue.?

His son, Shane Halligan, died after he put what appeared to be an AK-47 to his chin and pulled the trigger in a hallway at Springfield Township High School in Montgomery County Tuesday morning.

"It's a very, very, very tough time," said John Halligan, the teen's father. "He was an Eagle Scout. He got it when he was 13. He was a volunteer fireman. He was going for his private pilot's license. He's talking National Guard. I don't know what happened today."

Shane Halligan, who would have turned 17 in February, is described as a good student, a volunteer firefighter and an Eagle Scout. Halligan had planned to go into the Army and his parents were going to let him take boot camp this summer before his senior year of high school.

Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said it could have been the end of those hopes that sparked Tuesday's shooting. Halligan's grades had been dropping, and after his parents found a report card with grades they deemed unsatisfactory, the 16-year-old was told he would not be able to be a firefighter or go to boot camp early unless his grades improved.

His family said he took it well, watched football with them Monday night and nothing seemed unusual at breakfast Tuesday morning.

Then, around 9:15 a.m. between classes in a hall near the school science wing when the teen, wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt and blue jeans, pulled the semiautomatic rifle from his bag, warned students nearby to get down and get away and he started shooting into the ceiling, leaving huge craters in the cinder block walls.

"I just heard 'Get down,' and I saw shots fired into the ceiling, and so from that point, I just ran outside," one student told NBC 10.

"Teachers were just trying to get everybody out of the building, just trying to get away from the school. They said, 'Just get in your cars and leave,'" another student said.

None of the many students in the hall were injured.

"I just heard shooting, and we were running," student Jen Lynch said.

"Everyone was running and yelling. Someone was shooting. We ran. People were pushing everyone out of the way," student Mercy Eustace said.

Police said they responded almost immediately and were in the building when the final shot was fired into the boy's head. The coroner will do an autopsy Wednesday but confirmed that the death appears to be a suicide, according to Castor.

A note was found in Halligan's front pocket indicating that he intended to commit suicide.

"Today is the day that Montgomery County lost its innocence as it relates to school safety," Castor said. "We will have to convene the chiefs of police and the senior staff in the DA's office and the school administrators to figure out what we can do to try to make sure this doesn't happen again."

When the shots were fired, 911 was immediately called and the schools were put on lockdown.

The district attorney said it appears the gun came from a gun safe in the family home with multiple other firearms. The teen found some way to get the gun out of the safe, which is secured with two keys kept by his father John Halligan, Castor said.

"We don't know how it became it unlocked and how it got into his possession or when," John Halligan said.

"... We see this on the news and wonder how it happens. It doesn't happen to your family, but it did," the tearful father said.

After a student brought a handgun to school and showed it to classmates in September, school officials considered metal detectors, but felt it was an isolated incident and that detectors might not be the answer.

Police said they don't think the security measures would have made a difference.

"These campuses are not prisons," Police Chief Randall Hummel said. "If he was intent on doing this and there was a metal detector, I have no doubt that there would have been a way for him to get the weapon into the school and use it."

Castor suggests it may be impossible to stop someone intent on causing harm.

"I know how to make sure that we have no violence in schools, but you've got to wonder if the public is willing to pay the price of searches and metal detectors and clothing that is always tucked in, and no long coats, and no duffle bags and all of those sorts of things," Castor said. "America is built on freedom, and what we have to do is create an atmosphere where people don't do this rather than try to stop everything that can possibly happen."

Schools in the School District of Springfield Township will be closed Wednesday, following Tuesday's school shooting. The district will make counselors available to students and their families.

District Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Nyiri said Tuesday night they will explore all possible avenues to prevent guns from coming into the school, and that police will provide them with a lot of guidance.

Halligan's friends could not believe the teen killed himself. They said he was the funny guy in the crowd, the volunteer firefighter who couldn't wait to join the military -- an all around good guy. They wish they could have spoken to him in those final minutes.

"If he had gotten somebody to talk to, somebody he knew, I don't think he would have done anything. If he was confused, then we would have helped him," said friend James Andrews.

At Tuesday night's candlelight vigil outside the school, Oreland firefighters looked on and friends cried as Halligan's dad begged everyone not to let this kind of thing happen again.

?You think you know them, but obviously you don?t know what goes on behind their eyes,? Halligan said. ?I?m at a loss, I?m at a complete loss here.? ... i&psp=news

The Troubled Teen Industry / Camp censured for Seymour teen's torture
« on: December 16, 2006, 09:40:23 PM »
SEYMOUR ? A town man sentenced to 20 years in a psychiatric hospital for trying to kill his parents by burning down their house has won a $900,000 judgment against a Southern Christian military boot camp where he said he was tortured. Joseph Gabriel Paolillo and his father, Joseph Peter Paolillo, won the judgment in Mississippi federal court Monday against the Bethel Boys Academy of Lucedale, Miss.

The elder Paolillo was awarded $59,709 in damages.

Routine beatings and mental abuse from a drill instructor with a pit bull trained to bite in the crotch were alleged by the younger Paolillo, who was 17 when he went to Bethel in 1998.

"They beat him viscously," his father said. "I feel relieved that some satisfaction was given to my son, so he can seek professional treatment and counseling."

The judgment against Bethel and William Knotts, a drill instructor there, was issued by Louis Guirola, a Republican judge appointed by President Bush.

"The judge called the abuse something reminiscent of 'medieval torture,' " said George Yoder, a Jackson, Miss., attorney for the Paolillos. Yoder added that collecting the settlement will be difficult because Bethel has closed, although the facility has reopened under a new name.

"We're going to do the best we can. At the end of the day, I feel vindicated, and my clients feel vindicated," he said.

Joseph Gabriel Paolillo said he is "happy with the judgment," adding that he hoped it would help other former cadets.

The  parents of eight former Bethel cadets also have a pending civil case against Bethel and its founder, the Rev. Herman Fountain.

State officials sought to close Bethel in 2003, after investigators contended that boys were struck, denied medical attention for illness or injuries, and shocked with a cattle prod or stun gun. The academy was allowed to stay open after agreeing to a consent decree that forced policy changes and the ouster of Fountain.

The school is now operating as Pine View Academy and run by Fountain's son, John Fountain.

Yoder said Herman Fountain was dropped from the Paolillo lawsuit after it became clear he had no assets to go after. Fountain now operates City of Refuge, a home for men 18 and older who abuse drugs and alcohol. He did not return a message seeking comment Thursday. The younger Paolillo was a troubled teenager who was abused before attending Bethel. While living in Washington State, he was placed in foster care at age 11 after accusing his father of abusing him, a claim he later recanted. Paolillo later claimed he was molested in two group homes. His testimony was used in a criminal case against a counselor, Kenneth Bell, who pleaded guilty last year to two counts of child sexual abuse.

The elder Paolillo said that Bethel was recommended to him as a good place for his son after the ordeal in Washington.

"I was convinced that the Bible Belt was the best place to make a complete turnaround. I was not prepared for such a complete horror story," he said. His son left Bethel shortly before he turned 18 and was unable to hold a job. His parents had moved to Seymour, and he came north, living for a time at the Ansonia YMCA. On Dec. 16, 2003, Paolillo broke into his parents' Julie Drive home and set the dining room floor on fire with gasoline. He confessed to police two days later, saying he originally wanted to shoot his parents with an M-16 assault rifle but resorted to arson when the weapon was unavailable, police said. Found mentally unfit to stand trial, Paolillo was ordered to Whiting Forensic Institute in Middletown for 20 years, where he is in a high security ward. Now 25, Paolillo gave a deposition from Whiting that was critical to the judgment against Bethel, Yoder said. In his testimony, Paolillo said he had confided about the sexual abuse to Fountain, who afterward stared calling him "faggot" in front of others. He described Bethel drill instructors making him eat breakfast in 45 seconds and then forcing him to roll around on the ground until throwing up. He said Knotts would sic a pit bull on cadets given a head start to run across a field, Paolillo testified. "I had bite marks on my groin," Paolillo said in his testimony. "That's basically where the dog generally bit."

Paolillo also testified that he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a second-floor balcony. After losing consciousness, Paolillo said when he came to, Knotts, Herman Fountain, and other senior cadets were punching him and making fun of him. They made him do push-ups with a broken elbow, he said, and prevented him from going to the hospital for two weeks. Paolillo said any time he talked to his parents on the telephone, a Bethel drill instructor was right next to him to make sure he didn't report any abuse.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Psych facility for teens shuts down
« on: December 16, 2006, 09:37:05 PM »
BOISE - A Boise treatment facility, which calls itself a "center for teens in crisis", is unexpectedly closing its doors.

Sixteen patients at Intermountain Residential Treatment Center will have to be moved to another facility that services teens with mental and behavioral issues.

The treatment facility has been given until February to fix a number of problems found by Health and Welfare or lose its license, but we found out the center has already decided to close.

One mother we talked to says the center is not a safe place for kids.

"Its been devastating as a mother, for our family, for Kassandra more than anything that's the main concern the pain and suffering she's been going through since she was six years old,? says Heather Evers, mom of patient.

Heather Evers is talking about her daughter Kassendra.  A 14-year old Washington girl who was once abused by a family friend while on vacation away from home.

From that she suffers emotionally and is a danger to herself.

So to get psychiatric help her family sent her to the Intermountain Residential Treatment Center in Boise.

The teen has been there for a month -- but will be leaving at the end of the week.

"We got a call Friday that they are shutting down the RTC program and that all patients are to be transferred in the next three weeks,? says Evers.

Evers says the closure is a surprise.  But recently she found out the facility is operating on only a provisional license -- with the threat of losing it altogether.

"The treatment center had a riot situation back in July of this year which we responded to after complaints, after police had arrived and we accessed the situation of the treatment center and determined there were many deficiency that needed to be corrected,? said Ross Mason, Dept. of Health and Welfare.

So Intermountain Treatment Center was put on a provisional license -- and given from July of this year to February of next year to make the necessary changes.

"They found a number of issues, excessive physical and chemical restraint, peer on peer assaults, staff abuse, assaults of another nature, improper treatment plans, a lot of things, a number of serious issues,? says Mason.

We talked to the facility's CEO, Richard Bangert, and when asked about the issues he said there was no comment.

Bangert sent a letter to Health and Welfare Tuesday morning, saying the center was closing to re-engineer programs and complete a remodeling project.

It also said it was imperative to interrupt services no later than December of this year.

"They are serious problems, they are serious no question about it and the facility will need to fix those."

There are 16 juveniles, between the ages of 12 and 18 that live at the treatment center.  Health and Welfare says their problems range from assaults to aggressiveness, eating disorders, and drug use.

Psychiatric Solutions Inc. owns Intermountain Residential Treatment Center, along with 72 other facilities around the nation.

This closure only affects the treatment center and has nothing to do with intermountain hospital.


Tacitus' Realm / Afghan poppies to get herbicide spray
« on: December 10, 2006, 06:22:03 PM »
Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan - The top U.S. anti-drug official said Saturday that Afghan poppies would be sprayed with herbicide to combat an opium trade that produced a record heroin haul this year, a measure likely to anger farmers and scare Afghans unfamiliar with weed killers.

John Walters, the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Afghanistan could turn into a narco-state unless "giant steps" are made toward eliminating poppy cultivation.

"We cannot fail in this mission," he said. "Proceeds from opium production feed the insurgency and burden Afghanistan's nascent political institutions with the scourge of corruption."

Afghans are deeply opposed to spraying poppies. After nearly three decades of war, Western science and assurances can do little to assuage their fears of chemicals being dropped from airplanes. Because of those fears - and because crop dusters could be shot down by insurgents - spraying would need to be done on the ground.

The Afghan government has not publicly said it will spray, and President Hamid Karzai has said in the past that herbicides pose too big a risk, contaminating water and killing the produce that grows alongside poppies.

But Walters said Karzai and other officials have agreed to ground spraying.

"I think the president has said yes, and I think some of the ministers have repeated yes," Walters said without specifying when spraying would start. "The particulars of the application have not been decided yet, but yes, the goal is to carry out ground spraying."

Gen. Khodaidad, Afghanistan's deputy minister for counter-narcotics, said the government hadn't made any decisions yet. But a top Afghan official close to Karzai said the issue was being looked at closely.

"We are thinking about it; we are looking into it. We're just trying to see how the procedure will go," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Opium production in Afghanistan this year rose 49 percent to 6,700 tons - enough to make about 670 tons of heroin. That's more than 90 percent of the world's supply and more than the world's addicts consume in a year.

A U.S. official who asked not to be named told The Associated Press last month that if Afghans don't spray in 2007 "there's going to be a lot of pressure on the government for spraying ... a lot of pressure from the U.S."

At the news conference Saturday, Walters tried to emphasize to the largely Afghan media members in attendance that spraying was perfectly safe. He said the herbicide glyphosate - sold commercially in the United States under the name Roundup - would be used, and that it was a safe and common weed killer.

He said the U.S. uses glyphosate to spray marijuana plants in Hawaii and that it's also used against coca plants in Colombia.

"We are not experimenting on the people of Afghanistan," he said. "We are not using a chemical that has a history of questionable effects on the environment."

Walters said he didn't expect the fight against poppies "to be a one-year success story." A recent U.N. report said it would take a generation - 20 years - to defeat the drug trade in Afghanistan.

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