Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pre-flight cocktails

The Washington Post reports that there have been more than 250 recent cases of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency giving "pre-flight cocktail" injections of psychotropic drugs to foreigners being deported. These injections of antipsychotic drugs have been given to people with no history of mental illness and for no medical justification, with the only apparent purpose to sedate them during their flights.

The practice of "involuntary chemical restraint of detainees" without medical justification violates some international human rights codes, according to the Post, and is banned in several countries. Confidential documents obtained by the newspaper indicate that in some of the cases they report, detainees were not able to be given additional injections during layovers because to do so would be illegal in the countries in question.

These sedations violate the government's own rules, which only permit sedation if the individual has a mental illness which requires the drugs or if the person is aggressive to the point of creating a danger to those around them.

The Post reports that during 2007, there were 67 people deported with medical escorts with no medical justification, 53 of whom were given psychiatric drugs, and 48 of whom had no documented history of violence. Most of those given drugs appear to be individuals who had previously resisted deportation.

One man deported to Nigeria was still under the effects of the drugs for four days after his arrival.

One drug often reported used was Haldol, which created some controversy during George H.W. Bush's presidency when it was reported that he took the drug to avoid jet lag; some speculated that this drug was the cause of his vomiting at a dinner with (and vomiting on) the Prime Minister of Japan.

A related story in the Post looks at 80 cases of deaths of immigration detainees, of which 30 were found to be "questionable," including two in Arizona.

(Via The Agitator.)

No comments: