By CCHR International
Every single time there is a school shooting, or some senseless massacre, the press are quick to start touting the need for more mental health treatment to “prevent” these tragedies—well before the facts of the case have been investigated. In fact, most of the press don’t appear as interested in bringing the facts to light as they are in making “recommendations” based on assumptions and calling for more mental health services/treatments. How one can make recommendations before finding out what actually occurred seems illogical to us, and we’re hoping we’re not the only ones. What also seems illogical is the lack of direct questioning and demand for answers given the facts already known about prior massacres/shootings, such as: The majority of those who committed such acts had already undergone mental health “treatment,” and were already on psychiatric drugs. Drugs documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause violence, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, suicide and even homicidal ideation.
In the case of prior massacres/shootings, what has repeatedly occurred is that when the facts finally came out, due solely to the efforts of those few determined investigative reporters (such as Fox National News reporter Douglas Kennedy), and it was revealed that the shooter had been under the influence of psychiatric drugs, or in withdrawal from them, most of the press were quick to counter the drug/violence connection by featuring some Pharma mouthpiece touting the “there is no evidence that these drugs cause violent or homicidal behavior” line.
Really? No evidence? There have been 22 International Drug Regulatory Agency Warnings on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, psychosis and even homicidal ideation. These warnings have been issued by drug regulatory agencies in the United States, the European Union, Japan, The United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
And consider that just last week, TIME Magazine reported on a study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices that “based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others.” And out of the Top 10, 8 were psychiatric drugs.
From Time Magazine: “When people consider the connections between drugs and violence, what typically comes to mind are illegal drugs like crack cocaine. However, certain medications — most notably, some antidepressants like Prozac — have also been linked to increase risk for violent, even homicidal behavior.
The Top 10 included the Antidepressants Pristiq, Effexor, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, ADHD Drugs, Strattera and the Anti-Anxiety drug, Halcion.
Now, to be perfectly clear, we’re not saying for a fact that Loughner was taking psychiatric drugs at the time of the shooting, or in the past, which studies show can cause long-term damage long after an individual has stopped taking them. We’re saying, why aren’t the press finding out? Consider that 10 recent massacres were committed by those under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence and even homicide, resulting in 54 dead and 105 wounded—and those are just the ones we know about. In several cases, medical records were sealed or autopsy reports not made public or, in some cases, toxicology tests were either not done to test for psychiatric drugs, or not disclosed to the public. But let’s just consider what we do know about the mental health “treatment” of those who committed these acts of violence:
- Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 16 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system.
- Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Hawkins’ friend told CNN that the gunman was on antidepressants, and autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
- Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
- Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.
- Blacksburg, Virginia – April 16, 2007: 23-year-old Seung Hui Cho shot to death 32 students and faculty of Virginia Tech, wounding 17 more, and then killing himself. He had received prior mental health treatment, however his mental health records remained sealed.
- Red Lake, Minnesota – March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.
- Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”.
- El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School.
- Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
- Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
- Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.
- Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.
- Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac.
So, given the fact that these shooters were on psychiatric drugs, given the fact that 22 international drug regulatory agencies warn these drugs can cause violence, mania, psychosis, suicide and even homicide, given the fact that a major study was just released confirming these drugs put people at greater risk of becoming violent, here are the questions we think deserve to be answered.
1) Court records show that a case against Jared Loughner was dismissed on Dec. 9, 2008, after he completed some type of diversion program. What was the diversion program? Did it include mental health treatment or do the case notes include any information about any prior mental health treatment Loughner may have undergone? Such was the case of Columbine shooter Eric Harris’s “diversion program”, where case notes dated 4/16/98 revealed that “Eric has been having difficulty with his medication for depression. A few nights ago he was unable to concentrate and felt restless. He went to the doctor and the doctor is changing his medication.”
* Further note to press: Sometimes finding the psychiatric drug connection requires a bit more due diligence than just asking the question; case in point, following the Columbine massacre, the Coroner’s office initially reported no drugs were found in Eric Harris’ tox reports. Following this, an investigative reporter found that Harris was rejected from the military and psychiatric drug use was suspected as the cause for the rejection. When this became known, the coroner’s office seemed to find that Harris did in fact have the antidepressant Luvox in his system.
2) The Wall Street Journal reported, “One high-school pal said Loughner had become suicidal”. Considering the FDA has issued black box warnings that antidepressants can cause suicidal ideation (as can other psychiatric drugs) was Loughner already under the influence of these drugs?
3) The press has reported that Loughner was “barred from campus pending a psychological evaluation.” So what happened? Did he get one? Was he ever in mental health treatment, or prescribed a psychiatric drug? Ever?
As a final note: Whether or not Loughner was yet another in the long list of shooters under the influence of drugs documented to cause mania, psychosis, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, suicidal and homicidal ideation—Given the international drug regulatory agency warnings & studies, the just released Institute for Safe Medication Practices study, this much we know for certain; the last thing we need is more kids on psychiatric drugs. And given what we already know about the risks of these drugs, any recommendation for more mental health treatment, meaning more people and more kids put on these drugs, is not only negligent, but considering the possible repercussions, criminal.
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