The August 2005 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

Psychiatric Drugs: Assault on the Human Condition

Review of Mad In America

An Interview with Author of Mad In America

Homelessness and Psychiatric Abuse

Electroshock Must Be Banned

Zyprexa: A Prescription for Disease & Death

The Dangers of Antidepressants

Mental Health Policy: Humane or Reactionary?

Ghosts of the Albany Landfill

Berkeley Haven for Homeless Families

Franciscans for Peace and Justice

Ten Flaws of Social Security Privatization

CAFTA and Colonization

Spirit of St. Mary's Center

Life Stories of Homeless Seniors

Disabled Bus Rider's Hardships

Union Debates Sleeping Ban in Santa Cruz


July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

Psychiatric Drugs: An Assault on the Human Condition

Street Spirit Interview with Robert Whitaker

Interview by Terry Messman

Investigative reporter Robert Whitaker, author of the groundbreaking book Mad In America, is now pursuing a fascinating line of research into how the mammoth psychiatric drug industry is endangering the American public by covering up the untold cases of suffering, anguish and disease caused by the most widely prescribed antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.

Whitaker exposes the massive lies and cover-ups that have corrupted the Food and Drug Administration's drug review process, and co-opted research trials in order to spin the results of drug tests and conceal the serious hazards and even deadly side-effects of brand-name drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Zyprexa.

The story becomes even more frightening when we look at the aggressive tactics these giant drug companies have used to silence prominent critics by defaming them in the press, and by using their money and power to have widely respected scientists and eminent medical researchers fired for daring to point out the hazards and risks of suicide and premature death caused by these drugs.

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See Related Stories:

A Review of Mad in America

Interview on the Untold History of Psychiatric Abuse

Disturbing the Ghosts of the Albany Landfill

by Janny Castillo and Terry Messman

City officials sent bulldozers to remove homeless encampments at the Albany Landfill, a disturbing reminder of an earlier eviction of a homeless village. Lydia Gans photo

In July, the City of Albany once again sent bulldozers to clear out homeless encampments at the Albany Landfill. A news report made nearly no mention of the people that had made the landfill their home and what had happened to them. I went in search of them. Maybe it was too late to help, but I was hoping to give them a voice, a chance to tell their story.

The demolition of a homeless village at the Albany Landfill in 1999 is still a source of outrage for many who remember it vividly. So, when Albany officials acted again this July to remove homeless encampments at the landfill, they disturbed the ghosts and ghostly memories of the cruel demolition that was originally carried out as an anti-homeless operation.

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A Haven for Homeless Families in Berkeley

by Janny Castillo, BOSS

Kathryn Lundeen and her daughter Lindsey live at Sankofa House. Lydia Gans photo

Transitional houses are the next step out of the shelter for homeless families. They provide long-term assistance in giving individuals an opportunity to build job skills, go to school and address issues that have caused their homelessness. Sankofa House, a BOSS transitional program, opened it doors in February 2005, and now has seven families that call it home.

Nikki Sachs, LCSW, is the family services coordinator for Sankofa House. She described what a family needs to qualify for a shared-living apartment. "Families with drug and alcohol problems must have at least six months sobriety and be referred from another shelter or from a drug and alcohol program. They must also be homeless and have an income.

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