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[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
This plays right into the hands of Big Pharma which could want nothing more
than more people--regardless of training/certification with pens and
prescription pads. This is exactly why, in 1965, LBJ was sold on the need
to increase the number of physicians nationwide and enacted laws that
doubled the capacity of US medical schools and took the physician supply
from an ideal 145(docs)/100,000 (citizens) to 300/100,000 today--a monstrous
glut--the cause of our health care crisis with all of them so desparate for
new patients that they have to invent treatments and running out of things
to prescribe, invent diseases. Enter psychiatry and the DSM--Fred A.
Baughman Jr., MD]

Nmsu Offers Psychologists Drug Training

Albuquerque Journal - April 18, 2002

LAS CRUCES -- New Mexico State University is offering post-doctorate
training for psychologists who want to prescribe drugs for mental illnesses
after New Mexico became the first state to allow psychologists to prescribe
such drugs.

Elaine LeVine, head of the New Mexico Prescribing Psychologists Register,
helped create NMSU's program and led the lobbying effort for the law, which
goes into effect July 1.

LeVine said she believes the law could greatly improve mental health care in
rural areas. Only 18 of New Mexico's 95 psychiatrists live outside
Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so there's a need in rural areas for people
licensed to prescribe mental health medications, she said.

NMSU's program began with 20 students in 1999. LeVine said the curriculum is
based on a similar program offered by the American Psychological

Gov. Gary Johnson signed legislation March 5 asking the state Board of
Medical Examiners and the state Board of Psychologist Examiners to work
together to establish a program to train and certify psychologists in
biosciences before letting them prescribe drugs.

The law requires candidates to take 450 hours of instruction in
neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology and other biosciences. They also must
complete an internship supervised by a psychiatrist or other physician and
treat at least 100 patients with mental disorders over an additional 400
classroom hours plus an 80-hour practicum in clinical assessment.
Eventually, applicants will have to pass a test.

During training, the psychologist will work with a physician, who will write
prescriptions, LeVine said. The state then will issue the psychologist a
two-year provisional license to prescribe under the supervision of a

Once that is completed, the psychologist may apply for a permanent license
to write prescriptions without physician supervision.

LeVine said 12 of the 20 psychologists who started NMSU's program will
finish at the end of the year and will be ready to begin their supervised
treatment of patients.

Almost 40 percent of LeVine's patients are on medication, and her training
in preparation for prescribing medications has helped her better understand
the body-mind connection, she said.

"Our philosophy is to use enough medication to allow patients to access
their inner strength," LeVine said. "By having this tool, we have one more
way to help our patients."

The American Medical Association has opposed giving psychologists
prescription authority. Some nurse practitioners in New Mexico already have
authority to write prescriptions.

© 1997 - 2002 Albuquerque Journal

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