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MERIDELL ACHIEVEMENT CENTER IN LIBERTY HILL, TX
MERIDELL ACHIEVEMENT CENTER
Liberty hill, texas
Also See: Staff and Background Information
According to the following report by survivor Victoria Cloud, Meridell Achievement Center is guilty of neglect, misdiagnosing patients/students, over-drugging and falsely drugging patients/students, and likely using the children in their care for human experimentation for the University of Texas. Here is her story.
Story (If you would like to contact Victoria, e-mail her at
have a story about this place.
the fall of 1998, when I was fifteen, I was placed in the Westwood
Behavioral Campus of Meridell Achievement Center. This residential
treatment center is located outside Austin in a town called Liberty
Hill, nestled in a wooded area which is very pleasing to look upon. I
was released in January of 1999, but in the summer I was placed at the
Windridge Neurological Campus, which is in another town near Liberty
as an institution, had its good points. We had structured activities
(indoor and out depending on the child's stability) and therapeutic
group sessions, which were monitored by caring staff. Once I took a
pencil and carved into my arm with it, and I was put on suicide watch
for that. That may have prevented something catastrophic. We were
encouraged to be expressive and honest with each other and with the
staff, and I have memories of growing close to several of the girls I
stayed with. My counselor seemed like a very kind, very genuine woman
who was sincerely interested in my well-being for the most part.
there were certain incidents, which, even six years later, trouble me.
It seems like both campuses were very keen on using the boys and girls
as guinea pigs for psychotropic medications, and I have since learned
that it may have been a part of some program set up by the University of
Texas at Austin. The predominant drug during my time was Tegretol, and
between October 1998-January 1999 a lot of us girls were taking
Risperdal. I specifically remembered a time when both myself and my
roommate were lactating as a side effect of that drug. I witnessed one
boy at the Windridge campus who reported seeing double as a result of
taking Tegretol. Later, another boy on Tegretol collapsed twice while
playing football outside in 90+ degree heat. The staff members who were
monitoring him were aware that people taking Tegretol should never be
exposed to excessive heat or sunlight. When I was on Prozac, I reported
terrifying dreams to my counselor, and I felt that she dismissed it
rather flippantly as a side effect, which would go away. It did not go
away and it seemed like weeks before I had the opportunity to report
this (or much of anything) to Dr. Riedel.
All of the children on campus shared this psychiatrist. I am
almost positive our parents were never notified about the kinds of
medications we were taking, or the dosages. I am also quite sure that
they weren't aware of much else, either, except the things, which came
out during family sessions.
things pop out in my memory as well. One boy, Curtis, was taken from the
boy's unit at Meridell Westwood in an ambulance after overdosing on
pills which he had somehow managed to acquire, and once after a tantrum
I was left in the Windridge unit's Quiet Room almost overnight.
diagnoses I received seemed to have been impulsively decided at best.
We'll go with Westwood Behavioral Campus first. You cannot diagnose a
teenage girl with traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, which they
did. They also decided the first week I was there that I had
Schizoaffective disorder. Next on the list was Bipolar disorder. Those
are not diagnoses you just throw around. These are major, debilitating
problems which disable people's judgment for life. When you label a
child with things like that you tell them that they have to fight a
bloody war forever. The only thing which made remotely any sense at all
was the diagnosis of AD/HD, which is totally obvious and we went in
knowing I had that anyway!
Windridge, the seemingly more underfunded Neurological campus, I was
subjected to something called a BEAM test. They said I was having small
seizures in my brain which caused me to act out impulsively and they
dismissed all the diagnoses I was given at the Westwood campus. I don't
think my mother was aware of any of this.
I was released from Meridell, I learned that most of the things the
children were subjected to were bogus practices. This does not
invalidate what I learned in group and whatnot but it does cast a
serious shadow over the practices of the staff and doctors.
hope my story helps you, and take care.
Westwood Campus October 1998 to January 1999
Campus August 1999 to November 1999
If you would like to submit a statement about Meridell Achievement Center, please e-mail us for more information.
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