Jan 14, 2013
For the first time ever, and for a brief moment in time, two knowledgeable and highly credentialed public figures have commented on the fact that psychiatric medications cause violence and must be considered suspect in the case of the Newtown shooter. But then, as if it never happened, and as if psychiatric drugs could not possibly be implicated in violence, the issue was dropped by the media.
Fortunately I happened to be watching television on both CNN and Fox Cable News shortly after the Newton tragedy and I have put the TV clips onto YouTube.
The most striking commentary came from Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and famous chief medical correspondent on CNN. On December 18, 2012 at approximately 5:25 p.m. on CNN, he offered the following remarks:
We still don’t know much about the shooter who lived in this home. But there is something else to consider: What medications if any he was on? I’m specifically talking about antidepressants. If you look at the studies of other shootings like this that have happened, medications like this were a common factor. Now I want to be clear I’m not saying that antidepressants can’t be effective. But people seem to agree that there is a vulnerable time. When someone starts these medications and when someone stops could lead to increased impulsivity and decreased judgment, and making someone out of touch. None of this is an excuse and it’s never just one thing. None of these behaviors will fully predict or explain why. But soon again there will be hindsight that might just help prevent another tragedy. It’s worth pointing out over a seven-year period there were 11,000 episodes of violence related to drug side effects. If there was a death involved, often it was the individual of himself or herself, a suicide.
Gupta doesn’t say where he got the figure of 11,000 drug-induced cases of violence. However, that exact unconfirmed estimate has circulated on the Internet in regard to violence reports to the FDA.
There is very convincing evidence of violence induced by psychiatric drugs in a scientific review of all reports of violence and homicidal ideation made to the FDA over a 69 month period. Less extreme behaviors, such as “Aggression, Belligerence and Hostility,” were excluded. Among 454 prescription drugs, 31 drugs had a disproportional rate of reported violence or homicidal threats for a total of 1527 reports. Two-thirds of drugs had no reports of violence. The drugs that most clearly cause violence included varenicline (Chantix, a smoking cessation aid), 11 antidepressant drugs, 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and 5 hypnotic/sedatives (sleep aids and tranquilizers). Thus, all but one of the top offenders were psychiatric drugs. Antidepressants as a group were 8.4 times more likely than other prescription drugs to be associated with violence. This study should end the controversy. Psychiatric drugs do cause violence. As the researchers concluded:
Acts of violence toward others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small number of drugs.
On Sunday December 16, 2012 on the Fox News Channel, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge was interviewed by Shannon Bream. Ridge was also on the Virginia Tech Review Panel. His roles as Homeland Security boss and Virginia Tech Review Panel member put him into a knowledgeable position. In discussing flawed efforts to intervene in the lives of potentially violent youth, Ridge observed:
Or we put them on severe medications. One of the students in the Columbine shooting was on severe medication and apparently there’s analysis that it probably even contributed to his destructive aggressive behavior.
Combined with Sanjay Gupta’s remarks, these observations by former Secretary of Homeland Defense Tom Ridge should elevate psychiatric drug-induced violence to a new level in public discourse.
Ridge’s characterization of the medication prescribed to Eric Harris as “severe” was incorrect. Harris was prescribed routine antidepressant treatment. As a medical expert in cases surrounding Eric Harris and the Columbine shootings, I obtained the drug company’s official report to the FDA on March 17, 1999 confirming that one of the two shooters (Harris) had a “therapeutic blood level” of the antidepressant Luvox (fluvoxamine) in his system. Luvox is similar to other well-known antidepressants, including Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) in its effects.
As a medical expert, I also had access to medical records and can confirm from these unpublished documents that Eric Harris was taking Luvox regularly for one year leading up to the shootings. The dose was increased 200 mg per day on February 9, 2009, two and one-half months prior to the April 20th assaults. He saw his doctor and his prescription was renewed on March 13, 2009. At that time, the medical record described him as suffering from medication-induced tremors, indicating a degree of toxicity.
I first began writing about the risks of violence associated with antidepressants in the early 1990s in Talking Back to Prozac (coauthored by Ginger Breggin). I specifically addressed Eric Harris’ use of Luvox in my book, Reclaiming Our Children: A Healing Solution for a Nation in Crisis (2000). I also about Eric Harris and Luvox-induced violence in a peer-reviewed scientific article titled “Fluvoxamine as a cause of stimulation, mania and aggression with a critical analysis of the FDA-approved label” (2001).
With the exception of the disclosure of Eric Harris’ toxicology report, it has been very difficult to obtain exact information about the psychiatric drug exposure of previous mass murders. For example, James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado shooter was in treatment with psychiatrist Lynne Fenton in the months before he assaulted people in a movie theater. He mailed a box of materials to her shortly before committing the violence. A court hearing recently revealed that four prescription bottles had been removed from his home. Yet to this day information has been withheld about what psychiatric medications he was almost surely taking.
Similarly, there are unconfirmed reports that Newtown mass murderer Adam Lanza was taking psychiatric drugs. According to the Washington Post, he was, “A really rambunctious kid, as one former neighbor in Newtown, Conn., recalled him, adding that he was on medication.” Yet no information has been released concerning his medication use.
Psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, stimulants and tranquilizing sedatives, can cause violence. It is imperative to find out what, if any, psychiatric drugs were being taken by twenty-year old Adam Lanza in the Newtown elementary school massacre.
Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York, and the author of more than forty scientific articles and twenty books, two of which are very relevant to current events in regard to medication-induced violence. In Medication Madness (2008) Dr. Breggin examines fifty cases of medication-induced violence, mayhem and suicide. His latest book is Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guidebook for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families. It presents reasons to withdraw from psychiatric drugs and describe a safe and effective patient-centered approach. Dr. Breggin’s website is www.breggin.com
About the author:
Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Breggin criticizes contemporary psychiatric reliance on diagnoses and drugs, and promotes empathic therapeutic relationships. He has been called “the Conscience of Psychiatry.” See his website at www.Breggin.com
References added by Infowars
Tom Ridge on Columbine Shooter – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpt7M8UnOFg
SANJAY GUPTA MD – Inside Violent Minds; Parenting a Troubled Child – http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1212/22/hcsg.01.html
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s chief medical examiner says he doubts toxicological tests and genetic analysis of the body of the gunman who fatally shot 20 children and six educators at an elementary school will explain his actions.
The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports (http://bit.ly/Wx5jls ) that Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, who autopsied the body of the gunman Adam Lanza, said an examination of Lanza’s brain showed nothing unusual.
He says the testing was a “fishing expedition.”
Carver said Lanza’s brain showed no tumor or gross deformity, though he didn’t expect to find a gross deformity.
He said he doesn’t expect answers, but will still look.
The toxicology exam, which could take several weeks, involves testing body fluids for psychiatric medications or illegal substances.
Lanza fatally shot himself after the Dec. 14 shooting spree.
Information from: Connecticut Post, http://www.connpost.com
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil are so linked to violence that they were given the FDA’s highest warning, a black box, in 2004 for the suicidal risks they can create in young adults.
According to published reports, the gunmen involved in the mass shootings at Columbine High School, Red Lake reservation, Northern Illinois University, and Virginia Tech were under the influence of psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from such drugs.
About 5,000 news stories link psychiatric drugs to violent crime, including school shootings, according to the website SSRI Stories, where the stories can be read (ssristories.com).
Three men in their 70s and 80s attack their wives with hammers while under the influence of psychiatric drugs, say news reports on the site. A 54-year-old respiratory patient with a breathing tube and an oxygen tank and no previous criminal record holds up a bank.
An enraged man in Australia chases his mailman and threatens to cut his throat—for bringing him junk mail. A 58-year-old Amarillo man with no criminal history tries to abduct three people, and an Oklahoma woman accepts a cup of tea from an elderly nurse she’s just met—and kills her.
“The kind of energy, rage and insanity seen in a lot of crimes today was not seen before SSRIs appeared,” said Rosie Meysenburg, who co-founded SSRI Stories, in an interview shortly before her death this year.
Meysenburg is not the only one to observe the bizarre, unpredictable, and inexplicable violence that has surfaced since the psychiatric drug craze began 25 years ago with Prozac. Did elderly people commit crimes so frequently in the past? Did people so frequently kill their families?
During a few weeks in 2009, these events were reported: A Middletown, Md., man was accused of killing his wife and three children. A Milton, Mass., man was accused of killing his two sisters at a birthday party. A Santa Clara man was accused of killing his two children and three other relatives.
An Orting, Wash., man was accused of killing his five children. A Chicago man was accused of killing his girlfriend’s sister, father, and grandfather, and an Alabama man was accused of killing his mother and grandparents. What’s going on?
And there’s another indication that the high rates of suicide and violence are linked to prescription drugs—the high suicide rate in the military, where antidepressants are widely given.
In just one month, July 2011, there were 32 suspected suicides, 21 among active duty troops and 10 among reservists. In one report, 36 percent of the troops who killed themselves had never even been deployed. That means that combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder were not factors in the self-injurious behavior.
A reader writes me this today:
Karen: As an owner of several guns I still believe that the threat of mass killings could be reduced if we outlawed assault weapons of any kind as well as clips over 5. Just maybe this might reduce the next mass shooting to something less than 26. The only way an average gun owner can compete with others who have assault weapons is to get one themselves. Probably not a good solution. I realize that outlawing these weapons would not eliminate them completely but fewer of them would make it harder for the average mental case to obtain one. What do you think?
I can’t believe the propaganda is penetrating supposed gun owners, but the powers of indoctrination will lead the majority of the masses toward servitude. As Aldous Huxley said in Brave New World:
A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.
My response was that I think we could ban one highly-profitable root cause of these mass killings: psychiatric drugs. Or we could ban another influence for these killings: be reminded of all of the Hollywood celebrities who clamor for the outlawing of guns and/or “assault” weapons, and then note the homicidal movies they have made for the masses. Is there a slight disconnect here? Why are people still walking around in the fog of the unknown? Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.
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