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Modern medicine
accounts for a large role of averting violence in our society. One of the
strongest and most effective tools in their arsenal is a psychotropic
drug, such as Chlorpromazine. However, there are issues concomitant with its
usage, explicitly when used in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. This paper
will shed the light on several key points on why chlorpromazine should not be
used 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 are
unresponsive to physical punishment and isolation. Thus, prison program went
from a security and a rehabilitation/treatment program to a social control
punishment one.

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Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) is a
tranquilizer developed in 1952 for the purpose of treating psychosis.
Nevertheless, It subdues and controls disturbing or problematic behaviors
rather than having any valuable medical benefit to “treat” any psychological
condition. This drug is administered either without informed consent
against the prisoner (or the patient) will, or with a consent obtained by
keeping the “patient” unaware of important information about serious
risks and alternatives. This drives the fact that it is both unethical and


along with other anti-psychotic and minor tranquilizers known as chemical
restraints, are called neurotoxins by the clinical instructor Joseph Glenmullen
in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in his book Prozac Backlash,
and the psychiatrist and psychiatry critic Peter Breggin in several of his
books. Chlorpromazine
specifically has many serious and disabling effects that can occur as high as
50% or more of patients, and often the effects are permanent with no known
cure, including death. These side effects are sometimes the drugs’ intended effects to build fear
in patients or prisoners compounded with ignorance and uncertainty of such

and Cunningham conducted further study in November 1975 on the impact of
psychotropic drugs on aggression in prisons. The published study stated that the release of hostility observed after
consumption of chlorpromazine had been implicated in acts of murder and
suicide. Concluding that the use of psychotropic drugs as a treatment,
compounds violent problems.


aspect of the situation is that a Colorado task force established by that
state’s legislature to investigate mental health issues in the criminal justice
system found out that prison inmates abuse on drugs and alcohol to combat and
relief the side effects caused by psychotropic drugs. In winding up, according
to the statistics of the states of Washington and Wisconsin, the cost of prison
inmates’ psychotropic drugs has increased more than doubled in the recent
years. Countless billions of dollars are being spent on programs treating
criminality with drugs, instead of funding educational, vocational training,
and chains to drug rehabilitation for inmates.


itself is not dangerous, but giving psychiatrists and other physicians the
legal power to involuntarily commit any barley-examined person they
“believe” to be dangerous to themselves or others is treacherous.
Fundamentally, drugs should be dispensed
to address specific diagnosed problems, not to put inmates in a zombie-like
state. These treatments are creating problems far more than solving. For that, we
must address alternatives.  

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