A Publication of the NATIONAL ALLIANCE on Mentall Illness in Buffalo & Erie County vol. 2 Number 1
Mark Your Calendar
All regularly scheduled meetings are held at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4007 Main Street,
Amherst (near the intersection of Main and Eggert Rd.). Board meetings and monthly educational
meetings are held on the second floor (main entrance at the back of the church). Support group meetings
are held on the first floor (church entrance at ground level at left rear of the building).
NAMI Board Meeting, Thursday, March 4th, 7:30 PM.
Members are welcome to join us!
NAMI Educational Meeting, Thursday, March 11. Library and Coffee Hour:
7 PM Presentation: 7:30 PM. Guest speaker: Elizabeth McClam,
Executive Director, Safe Haven Shelter Kendra's Law
NAMI Family Support Meeting, Wednesday, March 24th, 7 PM. Up for Renewal
April Ten years ago, a beautiful young woman
full of hopes and dreams left the little city
NAMI Board Meeting, Thursday, April 1, 7:30 PM. of Jamestown, NY to follow her star to
Come meet your NAMI Board members! the Big Apple. Kendra Webdale, plans
NAMI Monthly Educational Meeting, Thursday, April 8th. Library and and life were brutally cut short when she
Coffee our 7 PM. Presentation: 7:30 PM. Guest speakers: Harmony was pushed in front of a subway train by
Hurtgen, Court Clerk, Tonawanda Mental Health Court, and Kelly a man with untreated schizophrenia
Gotham-Audin, Attorney, Tonawanda MH Court, on procedures and Shortly after the tragic loss of Kendra's
options families need to know if a loved one is arrested. life, a young father of two small children,
NAMI Family Support Meeting, Wednesday, April 28thth, 7 PM. Hector Rivera, was pushed in front of a
subway train by another mentally ill man.
Hector survived, but lost both his legs.
NAMI Board Meeting, Thursday, May 6th , 7:30 PM. Following these two horrific incidents,
All NAMI members are welcome to attend. the New York State Legislature passed
NAMI Educational Meeting, Thursday, May 13th, Library and Coffee Hour: Kendra's law, and it was signed by the
7 PM. Presentation: 7:30 PM. Guest speaker: To Be Announced. Governor. In the decade since, the law
NAMI Family Support Meeting, Wednesday, May 26, 7 PM. has improved the lives of thousands of
NAMI’s 27th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner, May 20th, 6 PM, seriously mentally ill individuals who are
Protocol Restaurant, 6766 Transit Rd., Amherst, Keynote at risk to themselves and the community,
Speaker: Steven Lamberti, MD, distinguished researcher most of whom do not believe they have a
and physician/psychiatrist. mental illness, who have endured repeat-
ed hospitalizations, homelessness, incar-
ceration, a lack of their own safety in the
NAMI Board Meeting, Thursday, June 3rd, 7:30 PM. community, physical illnesses resulting
All members welcome. from poor hygiene, malnutrition, and
NAMI Monthly Educational Meeting, Thursday, June 10th. lack of general medical care.
Library and Coffee Hour 7:00 PM. Presentation: 7:30 PM. Under Kendra's law, individuals may be
Guest speaker: To Be Announced. committed by a judge to Assisted
NAMI Family Support Meeting, Wednesday, June 23rd, 7 Outpatient Treatment (ACT) if they meet
PM. a very extensive, and restrictive, set of
KENDRA’S LAW - cont’d on pg. 2
Mailing Address • 302 Parkhurst Blvd.• Buffalo, NY 14223 • 716.832.4035
WEB SITE: www.NAMI BuffaloNY.org E MAIL: email@example.com
KENDRA’S LAW - cont’d from pg. 1
Law Change Opens
criteria-multiple hospitalizations, a histo-
ry of noncompliance with treatment, We Get Letters... Way for Covering
refusal to take prescribed medications, "This year for Christmas instead of Unmarried Children
over the age of 18, and several others. buying one another 'stuff’ that we don't
The court requires the ACT treatment really need, our family decided to pool
Up to Age 29
team to present a treatment plan for the our money and give it to charities that Do you have an unmarried adult son or
patient and to return to court every six have been meaningful to us in the past. daughter under the age of 30 who has started
months to renew the order if continuing Our daughter Karen immediately working in a job without health insurance? If
services are required by the patient. suggested NAMI. She is doing wonder- you do, starting January 1, they may be able to
fully now but we all remember the scary enroll for coverage through the NYS Health
A recent study completed by an research days that we went through back in 2004! Insurance Program's new Young Adult
team from outside New York State Without the guidance and reassurance Option.
demonstrates that ACT treatment dra- we received from you, I don't know Under this new option, they are not
matically reduces hospitalizations, where we would be now!" required to live with you, be financially
arrests, noncompliance with treatment, dependent on you, or be a student to be eligi-
and premature deaths of those under the Judy Q. ble for coverage. They must be covered under
care of ACT teams. Patients themselves the same plan as the parent. And they must be
indicated that it has greatly improved the "Sometimes I feel exhausted by my ineligible for insurance through their own
quality of their lives. family. My daughter now has mental ill- employer. They must live or work in New
ness, too. If it weren't for folks like you, I York state or the health insurance company's
However, a significant number of patient don't know what I'd do. Thanks for being service area, and not be covered by Medicare.
and peer-run agencies and programs there.” The Young Adult Option does not apply
originally opposed, and continue to Elaine to vision or dental plans. Young adult cover-
oppose, Kendra's Law as "forced treat- age will require a separate individual enroll-
ment," claiming that people have a right ment in the plan, beyond what a parent pays
to be "crazy", to live on the streets if they for family enrollment.
want, or even to commit suicide if they In Brief... The Young Adult Option is the result of a
choose. Significant numbers of provider recent change in state law that affects many
The Disability Digest is a free,
agencies have also opposed Kendra's law, public employee and private health insurance
on-line newsletter and blog,
basically because they would rather see plans, but not self-insured plans. To learn
which is an excellent resource
the funds redirected to their agencies. more, visit the state Insurance Department
for individuals trying to thread web site at
So NAMI families, who know that their way through the maze to http://www.ins.state.ny.us/faqs/faqs_S6
Kendra's law has provided a lifeline for qualify for Social Security bene- 030_Age29_young.htm
the sickest and most difficult of patients, fits. It's especially helpful for Also, under state law, if you have a child
need to take action now. The Treatment people who want to try to work who is diagnosed with a "developmental dis-
Advocacy Center (TAC), founded by while receiving benefits. Just go ability", including mental illnesses, before the
E. Fuller Torrey, MD, is gathering signa- to TheDisabilityDigest.com age of 18, that child can remain on the family
tures of supporters of Kendra's Law to health insurance indefinitely under family
present to the NYS Legislature. Please plan coverage, if the documentation is provid-
sign on to help us ensure that Kendra's ed to your health insurance provider.
Law will be there today and tomorrow to However, the insurance company will proba-
protect and serve our most vulnerable bly not inform you of this, You have to take
patients. Go to www.kendraslaw.org and the initiative, collect medical records, and
sign on today. Your voice is needed, and contact the insurance provider. There is no
you can make it count. I additional premium for this child, regardless
of age. Such documentation must be provided
before the child reaches the age at which
he/she would otherwise be ineligible for cov-
erage under the parents' plan. I
Toxoplasmosis Parasite May Trigger
Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorders
Scientists have discovered how the Dr McConkey says: "It's highly
toxoplasmosis parasite may trigger the unlikely that we will find one definitive
development of schizophrenia and other trigger for schizophrenia as there are Good News...cont’d.
bipolar disorders. many factors involved, but our studies
will provide a clue to how toxoplasmosis
WNY Childrens Psychiatric
The team from the University of infection - which is more common than
Center has reopened an on-site library
Leeds' Faculty of Biological Sciences has you might think - can impact on the
for the children and teens in treatment
shown that the parasite may play a role in development of the condition in some
at the West Seneca Facility, through
the development of these disorders by individuals.
collaboration with a UB Library
affecting the production of dopamine -
Science graduate student and her pro-
the chemical that relays messages in the "In addition, the ability of the para-
fessor, and many volunteers creating a
brain controlling aspects of movement, site to make dopamine implies a potential
space for children to learn to read for
cognition and behaviour. link with other neurological conditions
pleasure, as well as using the library
such as Parkinson's Disease, Tourette's
in conjunction with their school work
Toxoplasmosis, which is transmitted syndrome and attention deficit disorders,
via cat feces (found on unwashed vegeta- says Dr McConkey. "We'd like to extend
bles) and raw or undercooked infected our research to look at this possibility
Niagara Falls Memorial
meat, is relatively common, with 10-20% more closely."
Medical Center has recently opened
of the UK population and 22% of the US
a newly renovated 28-bed unit for
population estimated to carry the parasite ScienceDaily men that offers larger activity areas
as cysts. Most people with the parasite March 11, 2009 and "comfort rooms", lounge areas,
are healthy, but for those who are
and rooms for individual therapy. A
immune-suppressed - and particularly for
25-bed unit for women is scheduled to
pregnant women ~ there are significant
health risks that can occasionally be fatal. Good News... open this spring, as part of a $6.9 mil-
lion project to upgrade and modernize
their psychiatric inpatient facilities.
Dr. Glenn McConkey, lead
Lake Shore Behavioral Health, The new center will nearly double the
researcher on the project, says:
thanks to support from the Oshei space for psychiatric care at the hospi-
"Toxoplasmosis changes some of the
Foundation, the federal Housing and tal. One major goal of the new unit is
chemical messages in the brain, and these
Urban Development Program (HUD), to reduce safety hazards, as well as
changes can have an enormous effect on
and the NYS Office of Mental Health, reducing the use of seclusion and
behaviour. Studies have shown there is a
has opened the Safe Haven Residence restraints, according to a hospital
direct statistical link between incidences
for Homeless Individuals to provide spokesman.
of schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis
decent, supportive housing to individ-
infection and our study is the first step in
uals who have been chronically home- Mental health coverage parity,
discovering why there is this link." The
less and struggle with mental illness- under the Paul Wellstone and Pete
parasite infects the brain by forming a
es. Located at Sycamore and Domenici federal law is scheduled to
cyst within its cells and produces an
Michigan Ave., the large, beautifully go into effect July lrt. Passed in 2008,
enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase,
renovated house will be staffed almost the law covers anyone ensued through
which is needed to make dopamine.
entirely by peer-counselors, accord- their employer and group health
Dopamine's role in mood, sociability,
ing to Elizabeth McLam, the site plans. Insurers cannot set higher high-
attention, motivation and sleep patterns
supervisor. Residents will be subject er co-payments and deductibles or
are well documented and schizophrenia
to far fewer requirements and regula- stricter limits on treatment for mental
has long been associated with dopamine,
tions than the typical group home. illness and addiction disorders. Nor
which is the target of all schizophrenia
Candidates for housing are being can they establish separate
drugs on the market. The team has recent-
sought through the Crisis Services deductibles for mental health care and
ly received $250,000 (£160,000) to
Homeless program, the City Mission, for the treatment of physical illnesses.
progress its research from the US-based
and other groups that work with the It's estimated that the new law will
Stanley Medical Research Institute,
homeless. improve coverage for 140 million
which focuses on mental health condi-
(cont’d column 3) people insured through their jobs. I
tions and has a particular emphasis on
Maurice Clemmons: Mental Illness Does Cause Violence
Maurice Clemmons is the alleged shooter of four policemen.
He was likely mentally ill and untreated. NAMI Officers & Board
According to the Seattle Times:
Clemmons was (previously) accused of gathering his wife and young rela-
tives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them President
they need to "be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday," a Pierce County sherif- Mary Kirkland
f's report says. "The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the 832-4035
world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus," the report says.
Clemmons' sister…told (police) "Maurice is not in his right mind...he was Vice President
saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a Marcy Rose
letter to the President.…His behavior has become unpredictable and erratic.” 688-4125
She suspects he was having a mental breakdown," the report says.
Other family members…reported that Clemmons had been saying he could Treasurer
fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to "confirm that he is Messiah
in the flesh."
All this raises the question, “Are the mentally ill more violent than others?”
The answer depends on how you define “mental illness”. If “mental illness” Irene Turski
incorporates 40% of the population who ‘advocates’ and ‘professionals’ say
have a ‘diagnosable mental disorder”, studies find they are not more violent than Corresponding Secretary
others. Lynne Shuster
But when most of us ask the question, “are the mentally ill more violent” we are
not asking about the "worried-well", we are asking about the most seriously “Challenger” Editor
mentally ill—the 5% of the population with illnesses like schizophrenia and
treatment-resistant bipolar disorder. People more likely to be living in the streets
untreated, than working. In that case, the answer is clearly “yes”--the seriously
mentally ill who are untreated are more violent as a group than others. At Large
Mary Lou Bond
(Clemmons/Violence - cont’d on pg. 5)
Unmet Need for Mental Health Care in Schizophrenia: 675-9649
New Data from a First-Admission Study
In surveys of large numbers of patients with schizophrenia, approximately
40% said they have not had treatment in the preceding six to twelve months. Clinical
studies indicate that many patients “virtually drop out of treatment” after their initial
contact with services and receive little mental health care in the years after that origi- Lorraine Lopez
Clinical studies of patients in routine treatment settings indicate that the Jim McGoldrick
treatment of these patients often fall short of the standards set by evidence-based
practice guidelines, while at least half of these patients continue to experience signif-
icant symptoms. The lapses are most obvious in the lack of psychosocial treatments
and in outpatient settings.
The expansion of managed care has led to further reduction in the use of
psychosocial treatments and continuity of care.
The researchers found a substantial level of unmet need for care of patients
with schizophrenia both at the community level and in treatment settings. “More
than half of the individuals receive either no treatment or “suboptimal” treatment.
Ramin Mojtabai, MD, et. al.
November 20, 2009
Clemmons/violence, cont’d. from pg. 4
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, created the best colllection of statistics on violence by the
mentally ill. Here are just a few:
• A1988 Department of Justice study reported that individuals with a history of mental illness (not including drug or alcohol
abuse) were responsible for 25 percent of cases in which an individual killed his/her parent.
• Of the 28 homicides between 1970 and 1975 in Albany County, New York, individuals with schizophrenia committed 29
• Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia carried out 10 percent of all homicides between 1978–1980 in Contra Costa
County in California.
• In Indiana, 10.2% of homicides between 1990 and 2002 were by individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness
• A study of 133 outpatients with schizophrenia showed that 13 percent of the study group was characteristically violent.
• A Swedish 1990 study reported the seriously mentally ill committed violent offenses at a rate four times greater than the
There are many other such studies. In reviewing many, one researcher concluded:
"The data that have recently become available, fairly read, suggest the one conclusion I did not want to reach: Whether the
measure is the prevalence of violence among the disordered or the prevalence of disorder among the violent, whether the
sample is people who are selected for treatment as inmates or patients in institutions or people randomly chosen from the
open community, and no matter how many social and demographic factors are statistically taken into account, there appears
to be a relationship between mental disorder and violent behavior."
Over 1000 homicides are committed every year in the USA by individuals with untreated serious mental illness.
In spite of the overwhelming evidence, there are many violence deniers out there. Most of them are commissioners of the
state mental health departments. If they acknowledge violence, then they would have to revamp their 'blinders on' policy.
Instead of helping the 5% who are most seriously ill, they focus the bulk of their dollars on the 40% with a "diagnosable"
mental illness which they define quite broadly. As a result of abandonment of the most seriously ill by the mental health
departments, the police have become the de-facto mental health system. Four policemen recently paid the price.
The good news is that research shows treatment lowers the rate of violence. From a policy perspective, this means one way
to lower violence would be for state legislators to pass laws requiring their mental health departments to spend at least 80%
of their mental health dollars on the most seriously ill. Those most likely to become violent.
Another helpful change would be to implement Assisted Outpatient Treatment Laws. These laws have been shown to dra-
matically reduce violence by the mentally ill. They require the mentally ill to stay on violence preventing medications, mon-
itor compliance, and commit the system to providing services. When the NYS Mental Health Department was forced by the
Legislature to implement these laws, they found that among the mentally ill in the program:
47 percent fewer harmed others
46 percent fewer experienced damaged or destroyed property
43 percent fewer threatened physical harm to others
83 percent fewer experienced arrest
87 percent fewer experienced incarceration
Maurice Clemmons has now been killed, and his only other option was to be captured.
Neither was a good outcome for him. Treatment would have been better for all.
Certainly it would have been better for the four policemen. We have to stop denying
violence and start treating it. I
On the Frontiers of Science
Complete and Severe (cont’d. from col. 2)
Suicide Attempts: Olanzapine and risperidone showed
Findings from the greater effectiveness in tolerability.
Finnish 1981 Birth Clozapine demonstrated better
Cohort Study effectiveness compared to other
agents for patients who discontin-
A recent study of 5302 Finnish citi- ued their first medication because it
zens indicates that males who com- wasn’t effective.
pleted suicide and/or made serious
T.C. Manschrek, et.al.
suicide attempts in adolescence or
early adulthood had psychiatric The CATIE Harvard Review of Psychiatry
March 13, 2009
problems by the age of 8, including Schizophrenia Trial
living in a nonintact family, psycho-
logical problems as reported by a
primary teacher, or conduct, hyper-
The massive, government-spon- Add-on Mirtazapine
sored CATIE study has some dis-
kinetic and/or emotional problems. couraging news regarding maintain- Enhances the
Male suicides were predicted most
strongly by children identified as
ing pharmacological treatment in Antipsychotic Effect
schizophrenia. Only 26% of patients
having both conduct difficulties and completed the 18-month trial on the of First Generation
internalizing their problems. No
predictive associations among the
medicine they were originally pre- Antipsychotics
scribed. Patients receiving olanzap-
study variables were found among ine stayed on their medication a In a recent double-blind, placebo-
the females. slightly longer time, despite its controlled trial, mirtazapine out-
A. Sourender, et. al association with metabolic distur- ranged placebo on almost all mea-
Archives of General Psychiatry bance, especially weight gain. sures. The PANSS (Positive and
April 13, 2009
negative Syndrome Scale) score for
Perphenazine (Trilafon) an older positive symptoms decreased by
antipsychotic, unexpectedly showed 17.2% with mirtazapine vs. 1.6 with
comparable levels of effectiveness placebo, and the Panns score for
and produced no more extrapyra- negative symptoms decreased by
madil side effects than the newer 12% for mirtazapine and 3% for
medications. Despite elevated pro- placebo.
lactin elevation, risperidone was the
best tolerated medication. G. Joffe et. al
Ziprasidone (Geodon) was associat- March 25, 2009
ed with weight loss and with posi-
tive impact on lipids and blood glu-
(cont’d in col. 3) (Frontiers - cont’d on pg. 7)
Frontiers - cont’d from pg. 6
denied benefits to those discharged, at least in
part, because of the disorder during a six-year
AHRQ: Research Yi-Gan San as Adjunctive
period that ended Oct. 14, 2008.
Summaries Therapy for
Most Office-Based Legal notices are being mailed to about 4,300
veterans informing them they can “opt-in” to the
Psychiatrists are An Open-Label Study lawsuit until July 24 to be part of the expedited
review. Attorneys for the veterans estimate that
millions of dollars could be paid to veterans
under the agreeement, with some veterans
Recent studies indicate that the tra-
receiving hundreds or more dollars in increased
Medication Rather ditional Japanese herbal medicine
Than Psychotherapy yi-gan san may be safe and useful in monthly benefits.
treating behavioral and psychologi-
to Their Patients PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop
after a terrifying event in which the person was
cal symptoms in patients with
physically harmed or felt threatened. Symp-
dementia and borderline personality
toms can range from flashbacks to problem
The use of psychotherapy has disorder, as well as treatment-resis-
declined markedly among U.S. tant schizophrenia. A significant
office-based psychiatrists, reveals a decrease in both positive and nega-
At issue is the disability rating given to military
veterans discharged with PTSD. Each of the
new study. For instance, the per- tive symptoms measured on the
seven plaintiffs was given a rating of 10 percent
centage of visits to psychiatrists that PANNS scale was observed, but not
included psychotherapy dropped in the control group.
from 44.4 percent during 1996-
1997 to 28.9 percent in 2004-2005. Tsuyoshi Miyaoka, MD, et. al The law requires the military to assign a disabili-
ty rating of at least 50 percent to those dis-
charged for PTSD, said Bart Stichman, co-
Similarly, the number of psychia- Clinical Neuropharmacology,
executive director of the National Veterans
trists who provided psychotherapy Vol. 32, pages 6-9
Legal Services Program, a non-profit organiza-
to all of their patients fell by nearly January-February 2009
tion that represents the veterans. Since
half from 19.1 percent to 10.8 per-
cent during that time. The October 2008, the military has given the 50 per-
cent rating to those discharged with PTSD,
researchers attribute the decline in
Thousands of vets could
psychotherapy to a drop in the num-
The higher rating ensures that the veteran
get benefits upgrade
ber of psychiatrists specializing in
receives life-long monthly disability payments,
psychotherapy and a corresponding
rise in those specializing in drug free health care for the veteran and the veter-
Because of a lawsuit, the military will review an’s spouse and health care for the veteran’s
therapy. They note that these
changes were likely sparked by the records of vets discharged with PTSD.
Associated Press/St. Petersburg Times - If a veteran qualifies for a higher disability rat-
reimbursement policies favoring
brief medication management visits Tuesday, January 26, 2010 ing, he or she may receive back pay and reim-
bursement for health care expenses.
WASHINGTON - A military review could bring
over psychotherapy and the intro-
millions of dollars in benefits to thousands of To help affected veterans, the National
duction of new psychotropic med-
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans discharged with Veterans Legal Services Program and Morgan
ications with fewer adverse effects
post-traumatic stress disorder. Lewis and Bockus LLP law firm have coordinat-
in recent years. The study was sup-
ed about 100 volunteer lawyers to offer free
ported in part by the Agency for
The military has agreed to review the records of counseling.
recentveterans discharged with PTSD to decide
Healthcare Research and Quality
whether they were improperly denied benefits. Stichman said it’s possible some veterans will
qualify as part of the class-action suitwho did
The agreement stems from a judge’s order in a not serve in combat, but instead were dis-
9/0209RA24.htm class-action lawsuit originally filed by seven charged for PTSD related to some other type of
combat veterans. They said the military illegally traumatic event, such as rape. I
From the Treatment Field...
Many Antipsychotic In 2003, the US Food and Drug
Administration began requiring a warn-
not lead to any increase in blood sugar
testing rates and only a marginal
Users Not Getting ing on labels of second-generation increase in cholesterol testing rates (an
antipsychotic medications stating that increase of 1.7 percent).
Needed Tests blood sugar levels should be monitored
People who take newer drugs for schiz- in people with diabetes, at risk for the
ophrenia and other psychotic condi- disease or with symptoms of high blood
tions are supposed to have their blood sugar.
sugar and cholesterol levels checked Clozapine for
regularly but many don't, according to a At the same time, the American Schizophrenia:
study released today. Diabetes Association and American
Psychiatric Association issued a state- Life-threatening or
These so-called "second-generation" ment describing the risks of elevated
antipsychotic drugs, which include blood sugar and cholesterol levels asso- Life-Saving Treatment?
olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone ciated with these drugs and laid out a Clozapine, despite its side effect bur-
(Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilify), monitoring protocol which included den, may be the most effective and have
were developed because older antipsy- blood sugar and cholesterol screening the lowest mortality risk among all
chotics have significant side effects. for anyone starting one of them. available antipsychotics.
However, the newer drugs are known to
significantly increase blood sugar and These warnings and recommendations Researchers in Finland surprised psy-
cholesterol levels, raising the risk for had little impact, according to the new chiatrists this year by announcing that
diabetes and heart disease. study, an analysis of claims data from clozapine “seems to be associated with
low-income patients covered by a substantially lower mortality than any
In a study, researchers found that less Medicaid in California, Missouri and other antipsychotic.”1 This finding also
than one-third of low-income Medicaid Oregon between 2002 and 2005. surprised the researchers, who expect-
patients who are treated with these ed their 11-year study to link long-term
drugs have their blood sugar and cho- Morrato and colleagues used the data to use of second-generation (“atypical”)
lesterol levels checked. compare blood sugar and cholesterol antipsychotics with increased mortality
testing rates between a group of in patients with schizophrenia. Instead
And perhaps even more concerning, 109,451 patients taking a second-gen- they found longer lives in patients who
say the researchers, screening rates did eration antipsychotic drug and a con- used antipsychotics (and particularly
not increase following government trol group of 203,527 not taking one of clozapine), compared with no antipsy-
warnings and recommendations calling these medications. chotic use.
for increased blood sugar and choles-
terol monitoring. Blood sugar and cholesterol testing This study’s findings do not change
rates, they found, were no different for clozapine’s association with potentially
The findings are consistent with others patients starting an antipsychotic med- fatal agranulocytosis as well as weight
from non-Medicaid populations, said ication than for the control group of gain, metabolic abnormalities, and
Dr. Elaine H. Morrato of the University individuals from the same states. other adverse effects. Clozapine also is
of Colorado, Denver. difficult to monitor, as patients must
Initial screening rates for those treated have periodic blood tests, and be
She has this advice: "If you are taking with antipsychotics were low -- 27 per- enrolled in FDA-mandated registries.
second-generation antipsychotic drugs, cent had their blood sugar checked and These obstacles might discourage psy-
then you should be screened for dia- 10 percent had their cholesterol levels chiatrists from offering clozapine to
betes and (high cholesterol and fats in checked, the researchers report in the patients who could benefit from it.
the blood) and monitored for potential Archives of General Psychiatry.
adverse drug effects. This is important Why bother considering clozapine?
so that you can receive appropriate pre- The government warnings and profes- Because recent data on decreased mor-
ventive care and treatment." sional society recommendations did tality, decreased suicidality, and control
(cont’d. in col. 2) (cont’d. in col. 3) (Clozapine - cont’d. on pg. 9)
Clozapine, cont’d. home Sunday said the family would have no
comment until after consulting its attorney.
Drugs may aid only deep
of aggressive behavior make clozapine The State Commission of Correction says
A study reports little benefit for
a compelling choice for many patients. that Erie County’s jails have held 7.5 percent
Careful attention to clozapine’s adverse of the prisoners in New York’s county jails
effect profile is necessary, but these over the past five years. But Erie County’s
New York Times/St. Petersburg Times -
risks can be managed with appropriate jails have now had 16 percent of the county
January 7, 2010
jail suicides, or six of the 37 suicides since
Some widely prescribed drugs for depression
provide relief in extreme cases but are no more
Leslie Citrome, MD, M Law enforcement officials have said Murr
effective than placebo pills for most patients,
PH was an admitted heroin user. Undersheriff
according to a new analysis.
Professor of psychiatry, New York Richard T. Donovan has said Murr under-
University School of Medicine, New went suicide screening, “and as far as we
While the study does not imply the drugs are
York, NY knew, there was no risk.”
worthless for anyone with moderate to serious
Director, Clinical Research and
depression - many such people so seem to
Evaluation Facility, Nathan S. Kline So Murr went into the general population.
benefit - it does provide a likely explanation for
Institute for Psychiatric Research Jail officials have said deputies did all they
experts’ sharp disagreement about the drugs’
could. Holding Center deputies reportedly
found Murr hanging less than 10 minutes
after he was last seen during their routine 15-
Recent Previous studies have painted a confusing pic-
ture. Industry-supported trials have generally
found that the drugs sharply reduce symptoms
Murr was charged with robbery and grand
NEWS larceny following his arrest in connection
while many other studies showed no significant
with last Monday’s holdup of an HSBC
Bank branch on Main Street in the City of
The new report, in the Journal of the American
Inmate who tried to kill Tonawanda.
Medical Association, reviews data from previ-
ous trials on two types of drugs. It’s the first to
self in cell dies His death came three days after County
analyze responses from hundreds of people
Attorney Cheryl A. Green asked a federal
BY PATRICK LAKAMP
being treated for moderate symptoms, as are
judge to dismiss a Justice Department law-
most people who seek care.
BUFFALO NEWS STAFF suit stressing that Erie County’s jails need to
REPORTER improve their suicide-prevention efforts and
Reasearchers evaluated six large drug trials
install other constitutional safeguards.
involving 728 men and women, about half with
Updated: December 21, 2009
severe depression and half with more moderate
The Erie County Holding Center inmate In an earlier report on the Holding Center in
symptoms. Three of the trials were of Paxil, a
who last week fashioned a noose with his Buffalo and the Correctional Facility in
so-called SSRI, and three were of imipramine,
shoelaces to attempt suicide died Saturday, a Alden, the department claimed the Holding
an older generic drug from the tricyclics class.
Sheriff ’s Office spokeswoman said Sunday. Center continues to hold suicide-prone
Adam Murr, of North Tonawanda, charged inmates in cells that offer opportunities for
The team, led by Jay Fournier and Robert
in a bank robbery, had been hooked to life- hangings, counter to the special advice given
DeRubeis of the University of Pennsylvania,
support machines in Buffalo General to the county by the National Commission
found that compared with placebos, the drugs
Hospital, and his chances of survival were on Correctional Health Care.
caused a much steeper reducation in symptoms
poor. Murr is the first suicide death in the
of severe depression. Those with lesser
county jails this year, although the U. S. Green, however, told U. S. District Judge
depression got little or no added benefit from
Justice Department has reported three previ- William M. Skretny the design of the cells
ous suicides and 13 suicide attempts in Erie satisfies the State Commission of Correction
County facilities since 2007. and contended that the Justice Department’s
“The message for patients with mild to moder-
objections amount to federal overreaching
ate depression,” DeRubeis said, “is...there’slittle
Murr, 31, hanged himself Thursday, the day into state affairs.
evidence that (medications) add to other efforts
after Erie County officials went to court to
to shake the depression--whether it’s exercise,
defend the suicide-prevention measures in Skretny reserved decision on her motion to
seeing the doctor, reading about the disorder or
their jails. dismiss the federal lawsuit.
Someone who answered the door at Murr’s News staff reporter Matthew Spina contributed going for psychotherapy.” I
to this story.
(cont’d in col. 2) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NAMI’s Future Fund
Mike & Marsha Devine We’re delighted two introduce two new
Cornerstone Society $2,500 - $4,999
Susan Friedhaber-Hard NAMI Buffalo Executive Board Members,
James & Rita McGoldrick Irene Turski and Lorraine Lopez. We’re so
George & Myra Trautman pleased that Irene has already accepted the
President’s Circle $1,000 - $2,499 Les & Imogene Wager
Anonymous position of our Recording Secretary and has
Norbert & Marie Weckerle agreed to serve on the NAMI NYS
Milenko & Anna Zdjelar Nominations Committee. We wish them a long,
Circle of Hope $500 - $999 Gail Donaghue in honor of happy and productive experience as they work
Brian Moore Scott Howard for all of us to create a better life for families
Abel Fink, PhD in memory of struggling to deal with serious mental illness.
Rainbow Circle $250 - $499 Miriam Becker
Radhika & Dharma Iyer James & Patricia Howell in honor of
Lynne M. Shuster Donna Murphy
James & Mary Kirkland in memory Thanks…
Benefactors $100 - $249 of Ann Bird’s grandson To our very special Family to Family
Douglas P. Easton Susan Lord Wetherbee in honor of teachers, JoEllen Pennella and Gerie Cruz
Thomas Hays, MD Renee who completed our latest class just before the
Sheila Haque Patricia McCall in honor of Lynne holidays.
Dr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Kashin and Mary To our Welcoming Committee members:
Dr. Oscar & Lorraine Lopez Barbara Rex in memory of Nora Roberto, and Librarian Rosemary
Barbara Milliken Christopher Rex Donnelly, and to library consultant, Marcy
Marguerite Mohr Patricia Sturgess in honor of Sandy & Rose.
Bill & Margaret Paget Ronnie Lasky To Ann Ezzo, our new Membership
Richard & Marcy Rose Committee Co-chair, and veteran Co-chair
Dennis Sajdak Mary Lou Bond.
Barbara Utter To Max Gabriel, serving on the NAMI New
Ann Venuto York State Board which involves long slogs to
Cherie & Gary Wilcox Albany, often in bad weather, and looong week-
Mary Ann & Marc Blackowicz in ends in meetings and stuffy conference rooms.
memory of Bernard Blackowicz A special thanks to him, as well, for his out-
Bob and Grace Chambers in honor of standing work to address the mental health
Darrell Surerus problems of weary veterans and their families,
Ellen Todd Cooper in memory of who have given so much.
Frederick Todd Cooper To Gerry and Sue Keppel, who do so much
Jeff & Rosemary Donnelly in memory of to prepare for our monthly educational meet-
Miriam Becker ings—moving dozens of chairs, making sure
Ann Ezzo in memory of Al Ezzo the doors are unlocked, setting up our print and
brochure table, arranging refreshments for us
Future Fund Builders $60 - $99 all to enjoy, making sure everything is ship-
In Memoriam – shape at the end of the evening. Don’t know
Steven Dubovsky, MD
Myra Trautman what we’d do without them!
Mary K. Bertell To all our United Way, CFC and SEFA
Clifford & Lorna Cooke contributors as well as our friends and NAMI
Future Fund Friends
Margaret M. Daniels members whose financial support is so impor-
Paul & Wanda Haak tant in keeping NAMI working.
Willie Mae Dorsey
Joy Higgins Our Sympathy…
Robert & Kathie Kersten NAMI folks have lost many good friends,
James & Mary Kirkland members, and loved ones in the last few
Jane E. Korte months. Our hearts and prayers for:
Allison Martin Mary Ann Blackowicz on the loss of her
John Stewart Martin husband, Bernard.
Lynne Shuster The family and friends of Miriam Becker.
Mark & Mary Lou Slott Anne Bird, on the loss of her grandson.
Ann E. Thorpe George Trautman, on the loss of his dear wife,
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Worth Myra.
Sandra R. Stone
Tina Zelasko Pat Watson, on the loss of her mother.
Teresa & Robert Cochran
Phillip & Joyce Trautman Bobrowski Greg Zafirakis, on the loss of his wife, Kely.
Membership (cont’d. from col. 1)
NAMI Advocates $250 - $499
First Presbyterian Church of Nola Stutz
Clarence Sheila Summers
Jerry Scott & Renee Szarowicz
NAMI Benefactors $100 - $249 Esther Trachtman
Mervin & Margaret Baker Damien & Irene Turski
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Sheila Dunn Lillian D. Wosilait
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Jane and Joe Penvose Michael Boland
Abel Fink, PhD in memory of
NAMl Buffalo & Erie County
Kathleen and Joe Thill
Miriam Becker in helping us make a difference for people
Genevieve Geibel in memory of with mental illness and their families
Larry Geibel Mail to:
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Jesella 302 Parkhurst Blvd. Buffalo, NY 14223
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Courage is not limited to the battlefield or to the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a
thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much deeper and much quieter. They
are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody’s looking, like enduring pain
when the room is empty, like standing alone when you’re misunderstood, like fighting for
what is right even if you know you are going to lose.
Charles R. Swindoll, “Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life”