Policy BP8: Let’s do drugs!

How has U.S. federal drug and mental health policy positively and negatively affected mental health and substance abuse in the U.S.?  Use at least 2 policies for each (mental health and substance abuse) to defend your answer.

Happy Monday! What a perfect blog post for this part of the semester. I will only speak for myself, but I am in a place where my mental health is suffering. I can probably speak for everyone actually…

Good Stuff

  • NAMH came out of mental health reform. It provides social support and treatment for the mentally ill. They provided protections for those who were targeted by supporters of the eugenics movement.
  • The Mental Health Act of 1946 established the National Institute of Mental Health. This examined the mental health needs of the country. NIMH then released Action for Mental Health that modernized US psychiatric care.
  • The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) accepts philanthropy from drug companies and helped with further destigmatization.

Bad Stuff

  • Although deinstitutionalization is a good thing, helping to destigmatize mental health, now there are many mental health patients that are “adrift”, as the book states. This leads to chronic hospitalization and homelessness.
  • Psychotropic meds are now more routine than ever. Heck, I’m on anxiety meds! Meds that should be used within¬†the controlled environment of a hospital are being prescribed to outpatients. The side effects of these drugs make it difficult for someone not in an inpatient facility to function.
  • NAMI takes money from drug companies. I can’t see how this is going to always be a good thing. HINT: special interests.

Overall, the destigmatization of mental illness and the use of drugs to treat mental illness is a very good thing.