Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

a legal victory over forced drugging!


May 22 2009

Jim Gottstein

In an important decision issued today, William S. Bigley v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute,, the Alaska Supreme Court significantly advanced psychiatric patients’ constitutional due process rights when the state seeks to force them to take psychiatric drugs against their will.

“One of the things they held,” said Jim Gottstein, President and CEO of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) and the attorney who handled the case, “is that if the State is holding someone in a psychiatric facility, they must provide a feasible alternative to the forced drugging if the alternative satisfies the State’s asserted justification. The State’s only other option is to let the person go.”

The Court also held that in order to allow the person a realistic opportunity to prepare a defense, when filing a forced drugging petition, the State must provide a written statement of the facts underlying the petition, including the reasons for the forced drugging, information about the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis; the medication to be used; the method of administration; the likely dosage; possible side effects, risks and expected benefits; and the risks and benefits of alternative treatments and nontreatment. “This is very important,” Mr. Gottstein said, “because up until now, they just checked a box that said the person was incompetent to decline and the facility wants to drug the person. Then the State comes in with a witness who testifies untruthfully and there is no way to have been prepared to rebut it.”

Equally important, the Court ruled the person’s lawyer must be given access to the person’s medical and psychiatric records in advance of the hearing and adequate preparation time. “The problem is judges have been misled for years that these drugs increase safety and are beneficial to patients,” according to Mr. Gottstein, “The truth is they decrease safety, are ineffective for most, are physically very harmful, and prevent many people from recovering. The evidence on this is clear, but the way these cases have been rushed through without allowing adequate time for a defense, these facts have not normally been revealed to the judges.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site:

# # #

James B. (Jim) Gottstein, Esq.

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 274-7686) Fax: (907) 274-9493

Law Project for
Psychiatric Rights

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging. We are further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to other brain and body damaging interventions against their will. Extensive information about this is available on our web site, Please donate generously. Our work is fueled with your IRS 501(c) tax deductible donations. Thank you for your ongoing help and support.


The Ottawa ECT protest flyer: ELECTROSHOCK PROTEST MAY 10th, 2009

Hello everyone:

Below is the Ottawa ECT protest flyer:


Meet at the Centennial Flame  FOR MORE INFO CALL SUE:  613-721-1833 see the ICBE website:   “events”

The International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE) is holding its second annual protest against electroshock (ECT)  ECT is still around, it never left.  130 hospitals in Canada continue to give ECT.  ECT is not safe nor are the ECT machines.  A recent study byHarold Sackeim reports that ECT causes brain damage 100% of the time.  People are not being told the truth about ECT.

See for more info.
See the Blog and News section to read this article.

Approximately 14,000 ECTs are given in Ontario yearly.  100,000 Americans get ECT yearly, worldwide it is estimated that 1 to 2 million people get ECT yearly.  Sue Clark-Wittenberg the director of the ICBE had ECT which damaged her.  Sue suffers from permanent memory loss and has difficulty learning new things.   Sue says “I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.  I was tortured”  The ICBE deems ECT to be barbaric, unethical, inhumane, torture and a crime against humanity.  The ICBE is working with others around the world to  help end ECT universally.

Sue (Ma’at) Clark-Wittenberg MFI member

Director, International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE)

Website URL:

Electroshock is a crime against humanity

CAPA’s Media Release-Shock Protest on Mother’s Day, May 10/09

Media Release – May 2009


Date: Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009
Time: 1:15pm (March) & 2pm (demo)
Place: Queen’s Park, Toronto

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) announces another public
protest against psychiatry’s use of electroshock (“electroconvulsive
therapy” or “ECT”).   CAPA is a political action organization that
addresses psychiatric violence (see website below).  This special Mother’s
Day event is co-sponsored by Maggie’s and the Association of Part-Time
Undergraduate Students of the University of Toronto and is endorsed by
over 20 women’s, human rights, and social justice organizations.  This is
an international protest which occurs every year and which takes place in
locations throughout the world including Montreal and Cork Ireland.  This
year’s Toronto protest starts with a march at 1:15 pm at the NE corner of
Spadina and College (in front of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry,
CAMH); the rally, which includes shock survivor-testimony, speeches, and
entertainment, starts at 2:00 pm in Queen’s Park.  The keynote speaker is
MPP Cheri DiNovo.  Entertainment includes the legendary singer and
activist Faith Nolan.

The event is being held on Mother’s Day because a disproportionate number
of women generally and elderly women in particular are subjected to ‘ECT’
and ‘ECT’ is now considered the treatment of choice for postpartum
depression.  According to ‘ECT’ statistics (see Burstow 2006), 2-3 times
more women than men undergo ‘ECT’; approximately 70% of patients shocked
are women; 50% of these are women 65 and over.

The largest study in electroshock history was conducted in 2007 by Harold
Sackeim et al. At the level of statistical significance, it proves that
that electroshock always causes brain damage, including permanent memory
loss, and that women and the elderly suffer the most damage from it.
Other important pieces of research show that women are greatly traumatized
by the damage (see Burstow, 2006) and that despite claims to the contrary,
electroshock is no more effective than placebo (Ross, 2006).

This damage is authorized and paid for by the state and we demand that the
state put an end to it.  On May 10th, we call on psychiatry and the state
to stop shocking our mothers and grandmothers.  Join us in delivering this
challenge.   Eat with us, listen to testimony and other speeches, enjoy
the entertainment.  This is a child-friendly event (bring your children).
This is a BYOMAG event  (bring your own mother and grandmother).   Let’s
make Mother’s Day count.

Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault:,
Contact persons: Dr. Bonnie Burstow, 416-538-7103; Don Weitz, 416-545-0796