OYM Jim | Psychiatric Rights

 

Psychiatric rights continues to be a contentious issue as psychiatric drugging and other controversial treatments continue to be used in alarmingly increasing rates. This strikes a particularly painful chord for Jim Gottstein, who had personally experienced how abusive the psychiatric health system can be. Not long after his personal experience, he went on to become an advocate for people being subjected to involuntary commitment and forced drugging by launching litigation campaigns. He documents one particularly compelling story of how he helped one individual go through these hearings in his book, The Zyprexa Papers. Jim joins Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D. to explain in detail how he fought and won that landmark case. Tune in and take part in this conversation that opens our eyes to the realities of the psychiatric system and big pharma and how a few brave voices are fighting back.

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Psychrights.com And The Zyprexa Papers: Fighting Battles For Psychiatric Rights With Jim Gottstein

Jim Gottstein grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. After graduating from West Anchorage High School in 1971, he attended the University of Oregon and graduated with honors of Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1974. From there, he attended Harvard Law School graduating in 1978 with a JD Degree. In late 2002, Mr. Gottstein founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, PsychRights.org, whose mission is to mount strategic litigation campaigns against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock across the United States. Jim has made addressing the alarming and horrific increase in the psychiatric drugging of children and youth a high priority.

Jim, thank you so much for being here. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you face-to-face.

Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure.

I was hoping you could start us off by telling us a little bit about how you got into the work you’re doing, and what drives your passion for it.

I was out of law school. I’ve been practicing for a few years and got myself into a situation where I didn’t sleep. I have subsequently learned that anybody will become psychotic, which I prefer the term crazy if they get sleep deprived enough. I’m not particularly tolerant of sleep deprivation. I went crazy. I couldn’t sleep. I went over to my dad’s house and laid down in a bed there. I’ve fallen asleep for maybe a second. I woke up and heard the devil coming down the hall. It was a second-floor bedroom. I ran over to the window and looked down, in which I knew what I would see. There’s a lawn and a little sidewalk there. I thought, “If I missed the sidewalk, I know how to do a parachute landing fall.”

Out I went a parachute landing fall. I was fine. I was in my underwear. It was about 1:00 in the morning in the middle of June in Anchorage. It was late. I ran across the street into this parking lot. The devil was behind me so I kept looking around my shoulder. I was spinning around. They dragged me, took me to the hospital and pumped me full of something to make me sleep. I woke up and there was this male nurse or some hospital staff with a clipboard, sitting at the end of my bed. He said, “What day is it?” I said, “How long have I been asleep?” He wrote it down. I wasn’t oriented to time and things went downhill from there.

I was used to being able to make my own decisions. I have no idea this could happen to me. They told me that I would never get better. Those that believed I was a lawyer, I said, “I would never do that again.” When I told them I had graduated from Harvard Law School, that confirmed that I was delusional. I was lucky not to have been made permanently mentally ill by the system because that’s what the neuroleptics do, which are marketed as antipsychotics, is dramatically worsen outcomes. After that, they get around to answering your question. It changed my priorities.

If I remember from your story, you had a rough ride of it for a while, but then you found a psychiatrist that said, “Anybody who is sleep deprived long enough is going to have difficulty telling the fantasy from the reality.” Now, you’re maintained on getting better sleep and using sleep medication if you need it, is that correct?

Right. I try and do things in a way so I don’t get into that situation. The drug I like is Halcion, which is a benzodiazepine but I can go a year. It’s maybe been two years since I’ve had any. It’s not unusual for me to go a year. I know I’m in trouble. It’s not that difficult to tell that I’m getting close to getting in real trouble, then I’ll take it to get one night’s sleep. It’s usually just one night and that breaks the cycle. What happens to me is that I’m on a deadline and a project. I don’t have it all figured out. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I usually file my briefs a day early, which is pretty unusual for a lawyer because you can always make it better. I get it to where I think it’s good enough and I like to think, “My good enough is pretty good.” It’s different strategies to make sure that I don’t get into that situation. One of the things that I write about in my book, The Zyprexa Papers, is how those cases are tailor-made to present the problems for me.

The cases that you take are going to be so demanding of your time that it’s going to push you to not having enough hours in the day. Is that what you mean?

Right, the involuntary commitment and forced drugging hearings, they want to have them fast. When a hospital files them, they often file them in the morning. This is mostly past tense. They’ll file the petitions in the morning and then they want to have that hearing that afternoon. It’s ridiculous to think about doing a court case that fast.

OYM Jim | Psychiatric Rights

The Zyprexa Papers

Being able to file a defense in that time would be impossible.

I tell any potential client, “I’m not going to do that but they have to be done pretty fast.” It’s not allowed to be delayed more than a week. The idea is you’ve got someone locked up, and they should have a judicial determination that the state is entitled to have them locked up quickly. The reality is that the legal process is pretty much a sham, except when I do it.

You detailed that beautifully in the book, The Zyprexa Papers. It’s a compelling story about this particular individual that you’re trying to help. It’s also a compelling story about drug companies and the legal process. Your own running with the legal system, having your rights denied and having forced medication, how soon after did you start advocating for patients?

It depends on how you look at it. I cofounded this organization called Mental Health Consumers of Alaska pretty soon after that. The big thing that got me into legal representation was I read Bob Whitaker’s book, Mad in America, which is a terrific book and a great read in 2002. To me, in addition to being such a good book, it was a litigation roadmap on how to challenge forced drugging based on not being in the person’s best interest rather than the old Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Before that, I did feel like I had anything particularly unique to offer in the fight against it, but once I read Mad in America, I thought, “This is something I could do.” I founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, PsychRights, at the end of 2002 and then went forward from there.

People can find that at PsychRights.org. That began it. What has been the trajectory of PsychRights and your advocating for patients?

It’s pretty soon after that. Before I was ready, someone that I knew by the name of Faith Myers got scooped up. She asked me if I could represent and help her from being forcibly drugged. That was in March of 2003. I wrote about that a little bit in the book, but that was quite a story in and of itself. What the Alaska Statutes say is, “The person is found to be incompetent to decide, whether or not to decline the drugs and the hospital got to do whatever it wanted.” What I said is, “That’s not constitutional. They have to at least show that it’s in the person’s best interest and there’s no less intrusive alternative.” We won that at the Alaska Supreme Court, although they took a long time until 2006.

In 2007, I won a case at the Alaska Supreme Court on involuntary commitment. In order for the state to be allowed to lock someone up, they have to find the person is “mentally ill” and as a result, a danger to self or others. That danger to self can be that you’re unable to take care of yourself, that they call it gravely disabled. The Alaska Statutes said, “You could be locked up for being gravely disabled if serious illness, injury or death was highly probable.” I go, “That’s probably okay,” but then the other one said, “Your previous ability to function independently in the community will deteriorate.” I go, “I don’t think that’s constitutional.”

We took that up to the Alaska Supreme Court. They agreed it was not constitutional and that you could only lock someone up for being gravely disabled if they were unable to survive safely in freedom and not entirely. They said it in a couple of different ways. There have been a couple of other cases. One of the important ones was Bill Bigley versus Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Bill was a person for whom I subpoenaed The Zyprexa Papers that you talked about.

In the Myers case, the Supreme Court said, “It had to be in the person’s best interests, and there’s no less intrusive alternative available.” What does available mean? In Bigley, they said available means feasible and they had to provide it or let the person go. A couple of other things is they didn’t give Bill his hospital records until the day of the trial. The Supreme Court said that was a denial of due process and some other things in that case. One of the important things was that I said, “In the petition to drug someone against their will, you had to put insufficient information to establish that you have the right to do that.” They agreed with that.

The other thing is that one of the biggest pieces that get glossed over is when the hospital wants what’s convenient, “Is there a less intrusive means to keep the person safe?” That was one of the things that you were talking about quite a bit in The Zyprexa Papers in those cases that you talked about. That’s where I saw your role is advocating so highly.

I got to know Bill pretty well. He made people uncomfortable in the community. He never was violent. One of the grounds for locking him up was that he was so unpleasant that people would assault him, they would get assaulted. Therefore, they needed to lock him up, which is bogus.

If somebody assaults you, why isn’t the person who is doing the assault having the problem?

I put together this proposal for a less restrictive alternative. The way it is for locking someone up is they say, “It has to be less restrictive.” For forced drugging, they say, “It has to be at least intrusive in any event.” For Bill, I put together this proposal for how to manage things for him. The hospital said, “We can’t do that.” I never got it but they ended up doing it. Basically, not being ordered to but doing it on their own because it made so much sense. That actually worked.

What neuroleptics, which are marketed as antipsychotics, do is dramatically worsen outcomes.

At one point, because you were a patient advocate, somebody contacted you about subpoenaing The Zyprexa Papers.

There was this giant lawsuit involving 25,000 separate cases that were consolidated into one Federal court in Brooklyn. It’s called a Multidistrict Litigation for discovery and settlement purposes. There’s an expert witness, David Eagleman. He had access to these documents that he thought the public should know about, and they were subject to a secrecy order. The secrecy order said that if he was subpoenaed, he had to give Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Zyprexa, a notice and a reasonable opportunity to object before he complied with the subpoena.

Alex Berenson, the reporter at the New York Times with whom he was working, went looking for someone he thought might subpoena. It turned out that in the Myers case, Dr. Grace Jackson had done a report on Zyprexa for Faith Meyers. It was olanzapine, which is a chemical name, a dangerous drug dubious efficacy. I have a practice of posting everything on the web that we do in court if I can.

He found that report. It picked up on diabetes. She had freedom of information access documents that Eli Lilly had put into the FDA to get it approved. It showed diabetes and other metabolic problems. She also revealed the way they cooked the books on these studies. For example, one of the things they did, the control group were people who had been abruptly withdrawn from Haldol, which was one of the first-generation neuroleptics.

It’s well-known that people that are abruptly withdrawn from Haldol experience go crazy and get psychotic quite frequently. That was a supposed control group and so that would make people on Zyprexa compare favorably, but then some people that get abruptly withdrawn from Haldol actually do quite well and they flew them out of the study. They called it a placebo washout. That was one of the ways that they fraudulently conducted the studies.

Another one was that they had this process they called last observation carried forward. This drug Zyprexa is so unpleasant, and people were being forced to take it that 60% of them dropped out because they couldn’t be forced to take it. What they said was, “We’ll take where they were in their condition when they dropped out and assume that’s where they would be at the end of the study. That’s called last observation carried forward.” What’s the point of doing a study if you’re going to assume that the person is the same? Alex found that study and told Dr. Eagleman about it. Eagleman called me and asked if I would subpoena them. I was pretty interested in doing that.

The things that you mentioned were ways that the drug company changed the results they got and reporting to the FDA so that would make Zyprexa look better. There was also this whole thing about, in The Zyprexa Papers, all kinds of things that had been sealed under an order of secrecy. They weren’t proprietary company knowledge. I remember there were newspaper reports and all kinds of emails and things that had nothing to do with allowing Eli Lilly to keep their proprietary information and trade secrets about Zyprexa. It was about how dangerous the drug was and all the negative effects. That was being hushed up because of this court order.

They had a reason to keep the negative information secret. I’m not saying that they should be allowed to, but they had a reason to. The secrecy order said that in order to designate something as secret, it had to be a legitimate designation, and there are certain criteria like trade secrets and embarrassment. For convenience, they designated everything as secret. There was no one to object to that. The plaintiff’s lawyers were mainly interested in getting a settlement or winning.

Fighting over something that didn’t matter to them was very important to the public interest, but it didn’t help them to win their case. It wasn’t them who weren’t interested in trying to fight that. The judge is supposed to take that into consideration but they don’t have anybody that’s arguing to keep the stuff to the public. If the parties before them aren’t complaining, the judges tend not to sue out and in essence, would be throwing a monkey wrench into settlement negotiations.

You got a hold of the papers because you had a client that you were working on. They wanted to forcefully detain and give him medications he didn’t want.

I got the call from Eagleman, and then I had to find someone that had an appropriate situation. One of the things I did and I write about all this in the book, is I wanted to make sure that was proper. It’s proper because they’re a public interest lawyer to go out and find a client for a particular purpose. Also, for a subpoena if I wanted to make them public, and I also had a legitimate purpose for subpoenaing them, and I decided I could go ahead and do it. I went out looking for someone who had an appropriate case. I found that was the whole story and adventure in and of itself with the assistant attorney general threatening me that I was violating professional standards. I found Bill and then subpoenaed the papers for him.

When you got the papers, you did what you could distill from them that might be useful for you in this case. You also went because of the public need to know or your assessment of their need to know, distribute them to people who might be of interest. What happened?

OYM Jim | Psychiatric Rights

Psychiatric Rights: It’s well-established how harmful these drugs are and how they worsen people’s outcomes but there’s just so much money on the other side that that information doesn’t get disseminated.

 

I expected when I subpoenaed the documents that Lilly would object, and I would be in court in Alaska arguing why my client was entitled to them, which was under Myer’s decision that the state has approved that it’s in the person’s best interest. I’m entitled to have information that would be relevant on that that would show that it’s not in his best interest.

That’s what I expected to happen, but Lilly was slow so I got the papers before they objected but I knew that once I got going, they would be big and fast. As soon as I got them, I got them out to The New York Times. I made DVD copies and got those in the mail. I didn’t have a chance to look at them very much before I was ordered to return them because Lilly whistled up these Federal judges to order me about.

Eventually, you’ve got pretty solid evidence, if I’m clear on this, that there were a lot of harmful potential effects of Zyprexa. It wasn’t going to be in your client’s best interest to be forced to take it. On top of that, you were able to get the material, which is available on the internet, about how unhealthy it can be to take this medication and how there are probably better options so that in a way, your advocacy efforts were multiplied many times over. You weren’t just advocating for Bill. You were advocating for anybody who might be forced to take this medication.

That was the main point. I said right away, “I was enjoined from further dissemination and I had been ordered to return them.” What I know about this Zyprexa Papers is what I’ve read in the papers and otherwise. Bob Whitaker went through this in Mad in America and then more globally, in a later book, Anatomy of an Epidemic. It’s well-established how harmful these drugs are and how they worsen people’s outcomes but there’s just so much money on the other side that that information doesn’t get disseminated. That’s why it was so important that The New York Times did an exposé on it.

One of the things I enjoyed about the book was that you followed up on Bill throughout and did the long-term picture for him and his life. You continued to do the PsychRights, the website and the advocating. Is this the first book you’ve written, The Zyprexa Papers?

Yes, and probably the only one. I felt at that time that it happened that it deserved, that I wanted to write a book about it. It’s an incredible set of events. It’s very interesting and important what’s in it. I always wanted to write the book, and then I had a point where I had the time to do it, and I did it.

The outcome for the drug manufacturer that produces Zyprexa, that’s Eli Lilly. What can you tell us about that? What was the end result of cases that came against them related to this drug?

They settled with the plaintiffs and there’s Multidistrict Litigation. They were two big settles for $1.5 billion of which I got none. The Federal government, which is under the whistleblower statute called Qui Tam of False Claims Act, got another $1.5 billion in Criminal and Civil penalties, also of which I got none of it. I ended up with $300,000 in attorney’s fees, which at that time, I wasn’t able to pay all of it. In a lot of ways, that was the cost of doing business for Eli Lilly. It cost virtually nothing for them to make the drug. At that time, they were selling $5 billion of it a year.

What year was that?

2006.

You accumulated over $300,000 worth of lawyer’s fees trying to defend yourself for what you were doing, which was whistle-blowing, which was providing critical information to the public about a very dangerous medication, especially the long-term effects of this medication. I thank you for that and for that kind of advocacy on a broader range. The other thing that was fascinating to me is that they weren’t able to criminally charge you. You did what you did within the confines of the law so that what you did was legal.

Judge Weinstein, who is this legendary judge who passed away in 2021, found that I had “conspired” to steal the documents. That set me up for criminal contempt, and Lilly threatened to go after my bar license. What had happened, and that’s one of the places where I screwed up in my testimony partly because I was sleep-deprived, is that when I went and met with Bill, I asked him to sign an authorization for release of information so I could get his records. The hospital said, “You can’t do it. Only his guardian can do that.” “I was pretty sure you had been given Zyprexa but I didn’t know for sure.”

Zyprexa is so unpleasant that 60% of people dropped out because they couldn’t be forced to take it.

At the time I testified, I thought I had testified that I was pretty sure he had been given Zyprexa, but it was not in the transcript. One of the things that the judge and Lilly hammered on was, “He wasn’t even given Zyprexa. This whole subpoena was a sham.” Within a couple of weeks of that, I had gotten his records and he had been drugged against his will with Zyprexa a few days before I subpoenaed them. He was drugged against his will with Zyprexa two months later. We told that to Lilly. The picture looked a lot different and the idea that they were going to come after me with criminal contempt didn’t look so good.

What they did more to my shame, maybe fairly successfully, is they tried to keep that hanging over my head as long as possible to minimize how much I was talking about the stuff. They never brought criminal contempt charges or any contempt charges. They never went after my law license. I had talked to the bar counsel for the Alaska Bar Association to see what he thought about it. He wasn’t too worried about the whole thing anyway.

The lesson for those of us who might end up with a family member or ourselves in a situation like this is that you do need good representation. You do need to understand that most of the medications that are given in a crisis situation are not intended for long-term consumption because, as Robert Whitaker has pointed out in two different books, there’s a lot of evidence that says, “The longer you take these things, the more negative impact they have.” I forget the statistics, but you had noted something about shortened life expectancy, and then Bill’s life panned out that way.

In Bill’s case, I had Grace Jackson. She graciously agreed to testify in his case too. In 2007, she testified that, “If he was continued to be drugged against his will, he would die within five years,” and he did in 2012. Also, people diagnosed with serious mental illness in the public mental health system have a 20 to 25-year shorter life span. It’s due to the drugs because, before the introduction of the drugs, people in mental hospitals had normal lifespans. There are other things that people can do for the short-term and maybe some people could use a benzodiazepine to re-establish sleep.

That’s what they did in a couple of these studies that showed that if you can minimize who gets these neuroleptics when they first get introduced to the mental health system, you can have an 80% recovery rate. What we’re seeing in the United States, where psychiatry or the system insists that people be on these drugs forever, there’s a 5% or 6% recovery rate. It goes from 80% to 5% or 6% recovery rate if you’re put on these drugs forever. There was this other study that showed for people who were on these drugs and then got off of them had a 40% recovery rate, which is 7 or 8 times better than staying on them but half as good as if you never got on them in the first place.

That’s why it’s important not to get on these drugs to avoid getting put on these drugs if you possibly can. None of this information is usually presented to the judges. You just have the psychiatrist say how great these are and how much the person needs them. The public defenders, which are commonly referred to as public pretenders, are not expected to represent their clients. The way I look at their purpose is to check the box that the person had a lawyer.

With the caseload, they’ve got the money they’re being paid. It is a big glitch in the system to say the least.

They’re not allowed to do a good job. In Anchorage, when I was doing this, there were maybe five or so of these cases that get filed every Monday and Friday morning. It was two times a week in the morning for trials that afternoon. They did all those trials in that one day. There’s no time to prepare and that’s a kangaroo court.

You’re talking about some studies where you’ve got an 80% recovery rate if you’re not drugged against your will and if you have some other more humanistic alternatives to this lockup and drug routine. I would want to recommend Peter Breggin. He wrote a book about withdrawal from psychiatric medications. It’s so important to come off of these in the proper way slowly. It’s good to have a medical doctor to help you supervise that.

That’s what people say. They don’t say protect themselves.

What I’m saying is with somebody like Dr. Breggin’s book where he is a medical doctor, has studied it and says, “You have to do this very slowly.” If you go to your medical doctor and say, “I want to do this,” and they say, “Just cut it in half,” that’s probably not the best way to do it.

That’s what I was going to say. Most doctors don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. They think you can just get off very quickly.

OYM Jim | Psychiatric Rights

Psychiatric Rights: People diagnosed with serious mental illness in the public mental health system have a 20 to 25-year shorter life span because of the drugs.

 

The studies show that when you come off quickly, you’re subject to rebound and psychotic symptoms or worse symptoms than you had before because there’s a tremendous change in your brain chemistry that happens with these powerful medications.

The neuroleptics, for example, block 70% to 90% of the dopamine transmission in your frontal lobe, basal ganglia and limbic system. I can tell you what all those do. What the brain does to compensate initially, it pumps out more dopamine to try and compensate but then, with the continued blockage, it grows more dopamine receptors.

While there was never anything abnormal about a person’s brain before they start taking the drugs, once they’ve taken them for six weeks or so, then they have more dopamine receptors and you have to come off slowly. They can eliminate some of those receptors, and you’re much more likely to be successful if you come off slowly.

It’s very individualized. As you said, in the Haldol situation, some of the people who come off have pretty good results. A lot of them don’t. Dr. Breggin points that out in his book that you need to read your own body and be willing to work in titrating down slowly if needed.

It’s important and good to have support when you’re doing it. Dr. Breggin’s book on that is very good. It’s called Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. He has got some Seminole book called Toxic Psychiatry, which was published in the mid-’90s. He has got this other one called Your Drug May Be Your Problem, which is also a good book that helped me once, where you can look and see what the adverse and withdrawal effects are so it helps you to figure out what’s going on.

There’s a free download and there’s a link to it on the homepage of PsychRights.org called the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs. They’re very similar. One of the things that are striking about them is they both emphasize the importance of being in a situation where it enhances your prospects of being successful. That includes having people who support it and having someone that you trust and hopefully when you get into one of those states who says, “You’re getting a little dicey. Maybe you should go back up a little bit so you stabilize or not go down anymore.” Basically, being in a place where you have support.

The more knowledge that your support team has, the better. That’s why a lot of these peer groups and those people who had lived experiences who are starting support groups and trying to have early interventions for anybody who has had a psychotic episode is so important. The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. I’m not talking about intervention with medications. I’m talking about discussions, support, keeping the person safe, finding out about the stressors, getting somebody who is educated and dealing with that, whether it’s a peer support level or a professional support level, it’s useful to have those pieces in place when you’re going to come off these medications. What is something about your work, whether it’s with Zyprexa Papers, PsychRights or something else that we haven’t covered yet?

Maybe what’s going on with children, especially foster children and youth that are being drugged to the gills. Someone goes into foster care and they’re immediately given a mental health evaluation, which had an 80% false-positive result on that. I was involved with a group called Facing Foster Care in Alaska. I went to their retreat once and asked how many of them had been given psychiatric drugs. Every single person raised their hands.

Children aren’t the ones making the decisions, so they’re always forced to take the drugs. It turns out that most of the psychiatric drugs given to children are not properly reimbursed by Medicaid. All foster children and youth are on Medicaid. I mentioned this False Claims Act case for Zyprexa. Under the False Claims Act, anybody can sue on behalf of the government and sharing the recovery if any.

On our homepage, we have the PsychRights’ Medicaid Fraud Initiative Against Psychiatric Drugging of Children & Youth. The idea is that anybody can sue on behalf of the government and sharing the recovery. Each prescription is not allowed to be reimbursed as a false claim. Each false claim has a minimum penalty of $5,500. Any prescriber worth their salt would have done a thousand of these in a six-year Statute of Limitations. That’s $5.5 million. The idea is to sue one or more of these prescribers to make them bankrupt and scare the other ones into stopping it.

I won a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that our theory of this was correct, but it got screwed up on remand. None of the cases have gotten to the end, but I still think it’s a viable approach, whether that approach or any other way that we are drugging foster children is horrific. The child goes into foster care because there has been a determination that they’ve been subjected to abuse or neglect.

That’s going to make a child act out in most cases. No matter how bad, some are glad to be taken away from their home but mostly, it’s pretty traumatic to be taken away from their home. That’s going to cause them to act out. A lot of these foster homes are pretty terrible in various ways. That caused problems and have the children behave in ways that adults don’t like.

Public defenders are not expected to represent their clients. Their purpose is to check the box that the person had a lawyer.

What we do is rather than help them deal with all this stuff, which is what we should be doing, we should help them deal with this stuff. We should be helping parents be better parents because, most of the time, most parents are doing the best they can. Some are pretty terrible people but mostly not. Instead of doing that, we tell the child that there’s something wrong with their brain. They’re going to have to take these drugs that disable them for the rest of their lives and that they’re not responsible for their behavior that it’s a “mental illness” that is causing them to behave this way. This is all exactly the wrong thing that we shouldn’t be doing.

I appreciate the heads-up on that. I talked to you about Martin Whitely and his book in Australia. He is trying to look at the same thing, The Complete Overprescribing for Children on Attention Deficit Disorder, Meds and Things in Australia, that he is working on, bringing awareness to that problem and trying to find some solutions. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about this. I thank you for your work with the Zyprexa Papers. I hope people feel compelled to check you out at PsychRights.org. If you do come up with another book, I would love to read it.

Thanks. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you.

Jim Gottstein grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. After graduating from West Anchorage High School in 1971, he attended the University of Oregon and graduated with honors of Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1974. From there, he attended Harvard Law School graduating in 1978 with a JD Degree. In late 2002, Mr. Gottstein founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, PsychRights.org, whose mission is to mount strategic litigation campaigns against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock across the United States. Jim has made addressing the alarming and horrific increase in the psychiatric drugging of children and youth a high priority.

Mr. Gottstein is most known around the US and internationally for subpoenaing and releasing The Zyprexa Papers in late 2006, resulting in a series of New York Times articles and an editorial calling for a congressional investigation. In January of 2009, Eli Lilly pled guilty and agreed to pay $1.4 billion in Civil and Criminal fines for the activities revealed by The Zyprexa Papers. In 2020, Jim published his book, The Zyprexa Papers, giving a first-hand account of what really happened, including his battles on behalf of Bill Bigley, the psychiatric patient whose ordeal made possible the exposure of The Zyprexa Papers.

Mr. Gottstein also devoted considerable time trying to make alternatives to psychiatric drugs available in Alaska through Soteria-Alaska and Choices, Inc. You can see a report titled Multi-Faceted Grass-Roots Efforts To Bring About Meaningful Change To Alaska’s Mental Health Program. You’ll see a description of these efforts.

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About Jim Gottstein

OYM Jim | Psychiatric RightsJim Gottstein grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. After graduating from West Anchorage High School in 1971, he attended the University of Oregon and graduated with honors (BS, Finance) in 1974. From there he attended Harvard Law School graduating in 1978 with a J.D. degree. In late 2002, Mr. Gottstein founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) whose mission is to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock across the United States.

Jim has made addressing the alarming and horrific increase in the psychiatric drugging of children and youth a high priority. Mr. Gottstein is most known around the US and internationally for subpoenaing and releasing the Zyprexa Papers in late 2006, resulting in a series of New York Times articles and an editorial calling for a Congressional investigation. In January of 2009, Eli Lilly pled guilty and agreed to pay $1.4 Billion in civil and criminal fines for the activities revealed by the Zyprexa Papers.

In 2020, Jim published his book, The Zyprexa Paper giving a first-hand account of what really happened, including his battles on behalf of Bill Bigley, the psychiatric patient whose ordeal made possible the exposure of the Zyprexa Papers. Mr. Gottstein also devoted considerable time trying to make alternatives to psychiatric drugs available in Alaska through Soteria-Alaska, and CHOICES, Inc. See, Report on Multi-Faceted Grass-Roots Efforts To Bring About Meaningful Change To Alaska’s Mental Health Program for a description of these efforts.

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