Modern medicineaccounts for a large role of averting violence in our society. One of thestrongest and most effective tools in their arsenal is a psychotropicdrug, such as Chlorpromazine. However, there are issues concomitant with itsusage, explicitly when used in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. This paperwill shed the light on several key points on why chlorpromazine should not beused as a chemical restraint in prisons. Safety is a major issue in all prisons.As consequence, the usage of chemical restraints as a last resort aroused,particularly on prisoners who pose a threat to themselves or others, and areunresponsive to physical punishment and isolation.
Thus, prison program wentfrom a security and a rehabilitation/treatment program to a social controlpunishment one. Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) is atranquilizer developed in 1952 for the purpose of treating psychosis.Nevertheless, It subdues and controls disturbing or problematic behaviorsrather than having any valuable medical benefit to “treat” any psychologicalcondition. This drug is administered either without informed consentagainst the prisoner (or the patient) will, or with a consent obtained bykeeping the “patient” unaware of important information about seriousrisks and alternatives. This drives the fact that it is both unethical andimmoral. Chlorpromazinealong with other anti-psychotic and minor tranquilizers known as chemicalrestraints, are called neurotoxins by the clinical instructor Joseph Glenmullenin psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in his book Prozac Backlash,and the psychiatrist and psychiatry critic Peter Breggin in several of hisbooks.
Chlorpromazinespecifically has many serious and disabling effects that can occur as high as50% or more of patients, and often the effects are permanent with no knowncure, including death. These side effects are sometimes the drugs’ intended effects to build fearin patients or prisoners compounded with ignorance and uncertainty of sucheffects. Workmanand Cunningham conducted further study in November 1975 on the impact ofpsychotropic drugs on aggression in prisons. The published study stated that the release of hostility observed afterconsumption of chlorpromazine had been implicated in acts of murder andsuicide. Concluding that the use of psychotropic drugs as a treatment,compounds violent problems. Anotheraspect of the situation is that a Colorado task force established by thatstate’s legislature to investigate mental health issues in the criminal justicesystem found out that prison inmates abuse on drugs and alcohol to combat andrelief the side effects caused by psychotropic drugs.
In winding up, accordingto the statistics of the states of Washington and Wisconsin, the cost of prisoninmates’ psychotropic drugs has increased more than doubled in the recentyears. Countless billions of dollars are being spent on programs treatingcriminality with drugs, instead of funding educational, vocational training,and chains to drug rehabilitation for inmates. Chlorpromazineitself is not dangerous, but giving psychiatrists and other physicians thelegal power to involuntarily commit any barley-examined person they”believe” to be dangerous to themselves or others is treacherous.Fundamentally, drugs should be dispensedto address specific diagnosed problems, not to put inmates in a zombie-likestate. These treatments are creating problems far more than solving.
For that, wemust address alternatives.