Tag Archives: violence

The Link Between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence

One of psychiatry’s most obvious vulnerabilities is the fact that various so-called antidepressant drugs induce homicidal and suicidal feelings and actions in some people, especially late adolescents and young adults.  This fact is not in dispute, but psychiatry routinely downplays the risk, and insists that the benefits of these drugs outweigh any risks of actual violence that might exist.

There are two research studies that indicate a link between SSRI’s and violence, but both studies have limitations that make it difficult to draw firm conclusions.  The studies are:

Moore, TJ, Glenmullen, J, and Furberg, CD (2010) Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others.  This study, which was published in December 2010 in PLOS One, concluded:

“Acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Varenicline [a quit-smoking aid], which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs. Prospective studies to evaluate systematically this side effect are needed to establish the incidence, confirm differences among drugs and identify additional common features.” [Emphasis added]

Molero, Y, Lichtenstein, P, Zetterqvist, J, Hellner Gumpert, C, Fazel, S, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Violent Crime: A Cohort Study( 2015).  This study was published in September 2015 in PLOS One, and found:

“…there was a significant association between SSRIs and violent crime convictions for individuals aged 15 to 24 y (HR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.19–1.73, p < 0.001, absolute risk = 3.0%).” [HR is Hazard Ratio]

In addition, there is also an enormous and growing body of anecdotal evidence (e.g. AntiDepAware) that these drugs are implicated in a great many acts of violence and suicide, particularly those in which individuals kill strangers and then take their own lives.

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Amazingly, psychiatry has consistently failed to conduct a comprehensive, prospective, formal research study on this matter, even though the need for such a study has been glaringly evident for almost 20 years.  It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that psychiatry’s refusal to engage this question is motivated by a desire to suppress information, and to avoid the anti-psychiatry publicity that such a study will almost surely entail.

In this regard, it is noteworthy that in December 2012, shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings, a petition to order such a study was removed, with no explanation, from the White House petition site “We the People”, even though it was well on the way to obtaining the requisite number of signatures in the allotted timeframe.

Not only has pharma-psychiatry failed to conduct a formal study on this matter, they have also shamelessly and callously used these tragic incidents to further their own drug-pushing ends.  With each fresh incident, there are cries from  eminent psychiatrists and from various psychiatric bodies for more screenings, more “mental health treatment”, including enforced “treatment”.  These calls are heard even in cases where it is open knowledge that the perpetrator had been receiving psychiatric “treatment”, and had been taking psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatry’s self-serving exploitation of these incidents is not random or incidental, but is part of a tawdry marketing campaign outlined at a 1999 NAMI conference by DJ Jaffe, founder of Mental Illness Policy.org, and a founding member of the Treatment Advocacy Center.  Here are some quotes from his address as reported by MadNation:

“Laws change for a single reason, in reaction to highly publicized incidents of violence.”

“The media is gonna report on violence no matter what we want, and we have to… turn it to our advantage.”

And another quote from DJ Jaffe’s article “How to reduce both violence and stigma”, Newsletter of Staten Island AMI (SIAMI), December 1994:

“In addition, from a marketing perspective, it may be necessary to capitalize on the fear of violence to get the law [outpatient commitment legislation] passed.”

That psychiatry would pick up this theme and persistently seek to exculpate themselves, by stigmatizing their clients in this way, is a sad though unsurprising reflection.

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It is obvious that when this particular domino falls, it will be a major blow to psychiatry’s credibility, which is why they and their pharma allies have invested so much energy and resources into trying to keep the facts of this matter well under wraps.  And in this endeavor, their tentacles are spread far and wide.  Remember what Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, said on August 22, 2013, during a freedom of information hearing on the Sandy Hook shooting.  In response to AbleChild’s request, he stated that releasing this information [about the psychiatric treatment of the shooter, Adam Lanza] could “… cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”  Why is the state of Connecticut so invested in young people continuing to take psychiatric drugs in the face of such strong indications of their implication in these horrendous incidents?  Why should the promotion of pharma-psychiatry’s deceptions become a part of a state government’s agenda?  Of course, the question is rhetorical.  Pharma distributes a great deal of largesse to politicians, and pharma always gets value for money spent.

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But the good news is that the petition to investigate the psychiatric drugs-violence link is back on We the People.  It went up on October 6, 2015, and has garnered 610 signatures as of today.  The goal is 100,000 signatures by November 5, 2015.  I strongly encourage all my American readers to add their signatures to this petition today.  And – if you feel comfortable doing so – please ask your friends/family/acquaintances to do the same.

Also, please consider writing to your political representatives, asking them to support this initiative.

There is an urgent need to investigate this matter thoroughly and transparently.  The one thing that venality and corruption cannot survive is the spotlight of truth.

 

Mass Murderers and Psychiatric Drugs

There’s an interesting article in the current issue of the National Psychologist written by David Kirschner, PhD, a New York psychologist.  The National Psychologist is a newspaper-type magazine that publishes articles of general interest to psychologists and others working in this field.  Most issues contain a mix of opinion pieces, news, changes in government regulations, etc…

Dr. Kirschner’s article is titled Mass shooters received only limited treatment. 

Here are some quotes:

“As a forensic psychologist, I have tested/evaluated 30 teenage and young adult murderers, and almost all of them had been in some kind of ‘treatment,’ usually short term and psychoactive drug-oriented, before they killed.”

“After each episode of school killings or other mass shootings, such as the Aurora, Colo., Batman movie murders and Tucson, Ariz., killing of six and wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, there is a renewed public outcry for early identification and treatment of youths at risk for violence.

Sadly however, most of the young people who kill had been in ‘treatment,’ prior to the violence, albeit with less than successful results.”

“Most of the young murderers I have personally examined had…been in ‘treatment’ and were using prescribed stimulant/amphetamine type drugs before and during the killing events. These medications did not prevent but instead contributed to the violence by disinhibiting normal, frontal cortex control mechanisms.”

“Prior to the violent event, for which he is currently serving a life without parole sentence, Jeremy [Strolmeyer], an honor student with no history of violence, was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and ‘treated’ with nothing more than a bottle of Dexedrine following a brief 20-minute ‘cost-effective’ psychiatric consultation.”

“And so, despite ongoing congressional debates regarding stricter gun control laws vs. improved access to mental health treatment, our concern should be about the quality of mental health care, not just a societal safety net insuring treatment for all children and young adults. Almost all of them are covered by some type of managed care or insurance company, and the issue is not access to preventive treatment. The real problem, in my opinion, is the quality and competence of therapy for potential violent offenders when insurance companies are the gatekeepers.”

Obviously it’s a compelling article, particularly Dr. Kirschner’s assertion that “almost all” 30 young murderers he has worked with had been in some kind of treatment and had been taking psychiatric drugs.  Dr. Kirschner’s call for more competent and more intensive therapy makes sense, but as long as the mental health system is dominated by psychiatrists and psychiatric dogma, it is likely that psychiatric drugs will continue to be the essential ingredient of these interventions.  And as long as this is the case, all that we can reasonably expect is more of the same.

Dr. Kirschner’s comments are, of course, anecdotal. But there is an ever-growing body of anecdotal information implicating psychiatric drugs in mass killings and suicides. There is a desperate need for a formal study of this matter, but calls for such studies have been routinely ignored and resisted.

In December 2012, a petition on the White House “We the People” website calling for the government to initiate such an investigation was removed without explanation, even though it was well on the way to receiving the requisite number of signatures.

And let us not forget what Patrick B. Kwanashie, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, said on this matter on August 22, 2013 when he was pressed in a freedom of information meeting to release Adam Lanza’s history of psychiatric drug use.

“…you have to advance reasons that you actually do have a real interest in the…medical records.  The plaintiff, the complainant have not shown any such interest.  The complainant is proposing that they can make generalizations, generalized from one single incident, no matter how the outcome of the use of antidepressants, or the causal link between the use of antidepressants and the kind of violence that took place in Newtown.  You just can’t, that’s not a legitimate use of that information.  You can’t generalize just from one case.  Even if you can conclusively establish that Adam Lanza’s murderous actions were caused by antidepressants, you can’t logically from that conclude that others would commit the same actions as a result of taking antidepressants.  So it’s simply not legitimate, and not only is it not the use to which they are proposing to put the information not legitimate, it is harmful, because you can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications, stop cooperating with their treating physicians, just because of the heinousness of what Adam Lanza did.  As the material, the FDA material that they submitted show, it would take a lot of studies over a long period of time and among, and within various demographic groups to even begin to establish causal links between antidepressants and aggressive actions or suicidal behavior.  And the informed opinion has not quite reached the point to say definitively that there’s a causal link between the use of antidepressants and violent behavior.  Having correlations, there are correlations, but to say there are correlations doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is causal.  And this is an issue the FDA is still grappling with, and so far it’s been willing to do is ask the drug makers to put warnings on their products and to advise physicians, treating physicians, to follow monitor their patients closely at the beginning of the taking of antidepressants.  So it’s a complex issue, and to pretend that you can just, based on this one case, make recommendations as to how people should make judgment choices is a disservice to the public and illustrates why these types of reports should not be made available, because in the wrong hands they can be the source of mischief.” [Emphasis added]

In other words, psychiatric drugs are safe until proven dangerous.  And, apparently, the only acceptable evidence is a large scale, randomized, controlled trial.  But the only group who has the data and the resources to conduct such a trial is psychiatry-pharma!  And meanwhile we should cover up any anecdotal information that might cast the drugs in a bad light – because that might induce people to stop taking them!

Psychiatric drugs are not medications in any meaningful sense of the term. Whatever temporary lift they may give people in the short term, is offset by their adverse effects – particularly their contribution to suicides and murder.

Information on this issue is being spun and suppressed by psychiatrists, and by their moneyed collaborators in pharma.  How much longer must this destructive charade continue?

Sandy Hook Massacre: The Unanswered Question

On December 27, 2013, Connecticut State Police issued a 7,000-page, heavily redacted, report on the massacre that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School just over a year earlier (December 14, 2012).  For the record, I have not read the 7,000-page report, but I have read the Wikipedia article Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, last updated January 4, 2013, and several media reports on the matter, including reports from the New York Times, the Hartford Courant, and the Washington Post.

Obviously there is an enormous volume of material in the official reports and in the various media reports and comments.  But there is still one major unanswered question.  Was Adam Lanza under the influence of a psychopharmaceutical product(s) at the time of the shooting or in the period immediately prior to the shooting?  There is a report in the record that he took Celexa (citalopram) for a short while in 2006, but no reports of psychiatric treatment since that time.  But there are some reasons for doubt.

ABLECHILD’S FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

On August 22, 2013, Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, during a freedom of information hearing on this matter, stated that releasing this information could “… cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”  He made his statement in response to AbleChild’s request for Adam Lanza’s medical records, especially with regards to any psychiatric drugs that he might have taken.  The hearing was videotaped.  Here is an excerpt, transcribed verbatim, from Mr. Kwanashie’s response.  The excerpt begins at about 1 hour 4 minutes into the tape.

“Therefore it is simply not sure that if you don’t fall into one of those categories, what you have to advance reasons that you actually do have a real interest in the [unclear] medical records.  The plaintiff, the complainant have not shown any such interest.  The complainant is proposing that they can make generalizations, generalized from one single incident, no matter how the uh outcome of the use of antidepressants, or thee thee thee causal link between the use of antidepressants and the kind of violence that took place in Newtown.  You just can’t, that’s not a legitimate use of information, of that information.  You can’t generalize just from one case.  Even if you can conclusively establish that Adam Lanza, his his uh his murderous actions, were caused by antidepressants, you can’t logically from that conclude that um um in others would uh, would uh commit the same actions as a result of taking antidepressants.  Um, um, so it’s simply not legitimate, and not only is it not the use to which they are proposing to put the information not legitimate, um it is harmful, because you can cause a lot of people um to stop taking their medications, stop cooperating with their treating physicians, um um just because of the heinousness of uh what Adam Lanza did.  As thee, as thee thee material, the FDA material that they submitted show, it would take a lot of studies uh over a long period of time and among, and within various demographic groups to even begin to uh establish causal links between antidepressants and uh uh aggressive actions or suicidal behavior.  And thee thee informed uh uh, the informed opinion has not quite reached that the point to to say definitively that there’s a causal link between uh between uh the use of antidepressants and uh and uh violent behavior.  Having correlations, there are correlations, but to say there are correlations doesn’t necessarily mean there is, the relationship is causal.  And uh uh this is an issue the FDA is still grappling with, and so far it’s been willing to do is is ask the drug makers to put warnings on their on their products and to advise physicians, treating physicians, to follow monitor their uh their  uh patients closely uh uh at the uh the beginning of uh uh the taking of antidepressants.  Um so it’s a complex issue, um and to pretend that you can just based on this one case make uh recommendations as to how people should uh uh how we should make judgment choices is a disservice to the public and illustrates why these types of reports should not be made available, because in the wrong hands they can be the source of the source of mischief.”

The hesitancies make the material a little difficult to read, but I think the message is clear:  AbleChild should be denied access to the documents in question because they are likely to draw and publicize unwarranted assumptions from these documents, and this might induce large numbers of people to stop taking the drugs in question.

Mr. Kwanashie’s statement is extraordinary for three reasons:

1.  The issue on the table was whether or not AbleChild had a “legitimate interest” (as defined by the statute and regulations) in the material.  This was essentially a legal/technical matter, and the complainant’s attorney Jonathan Emord had outlined various legal reasons in support of their right to the information.

What appeared to be expected from the Assistant Attorney General, who represented the State of Connecticut, was a rebuttal also based on legal issues and technicalities.  Instead, he launched gratuitously into these controversial waters, and provided, in my view, a glimpse of what seems to be going on behind the scenes.

It is of note that when he had finished these remarks, the hearing chairperson drew him back to the legal issues and asked him some clarificatory questions on those matters.

2.  Mr. Kwanashie has unquestionably conveyed the impression that there is some information that is being suppressed, and that it is being suppressed for the reasons that he outlined; i.e. so that people would not stop taking their pills.

3.  Mr. Kwanashie was not speaking as a private individual, but rather as the representative of the State of Connecticut.  He had almost certainly been authorized by his superiors to make the statement in question, and presumably the statement reflects the state’s stance on this issue generally, i.e. not just in the Adam Lanza case.

It’s possible, of course, that Mr. Kwanashie was confused or inadequately prepared for the hearing.  But that seems unlikely.  He is 59 years old, has been licensed to practice law in Connecticut since 1988, and draws a salary of $142,000.  Denying a freedom of information request is not a trivial matter, and the notion that he would go to such a hearing unprepared is hard to credit.  This is especially the case in that the Lanza shooting is probably the highest profile case that the State of Connecticut has encountered in decades.

So what we have is a credible indication that Adam Lanza was taking psychoactive “medication” around the time of the murders.  But the State of Connecticut will not release this information because such a release might induce large numbers of people to stop taking antidepressants.

A MINNESOTA TOWN HALL MEETING

A December 13, 2013, article called Newtown One Year Later, The Missing Link on the AbleChild site contained a link to a video.  The video is of a town hall meeting that Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum held with some of her constituents in Oakdale, Minnesota eleven months earlier, on January 26, 2013.  At about 39 minutes and 30 seconds into the video, a member of the audience made the following comments:

“…I agree with Congresswoman McCollum that we need to have a dialogue with what’s going on with these gun issues.  I’m, we’re blindly running into gun control and a violation of the second amendment – but we’re not even sure if we have a  gun control problem.  I’ve been reading things where a lot of these kids – the Sandy Hook kid and the kid up in Red Lake Minnesota and Aurora – they’re all on Prozac and Ritalin and is this a psychopharmaceutical issue that’s causing these kids to do. – I mean – I think we need to have a,  I think we need to bring not only with both sides of the aisle but both sides of the issue together and examine exactly what’s going on here.  Is this a gun problem or is it a – you know – it could be anything.  But I think before we jump into legislating one portion of this we need to examine the entire issue and find out what’s going on.  Thank you very much.”

Here’s Congresswoman McCollum’s verbatim response:

“To that, let me tell you something: that, to quote my grandmother (so I use nice words here), frosted my cookies.  We can’t study, federally – we’re prohibited from studying the effects of some of the drugs that you were just talking about as it relates to people who go out and commit violent acts with guns.  We’re prohibited from studying that.  It’s an NRA square bolt.  That’s why I’d never be at 100%.  I think we have an obligation to study those kinds of issues.  So that’s why we need a dialogue.  It is prohibited from the CDC – the Centers of Disease Control – to study this.  It’s wrong!  And that’s why we need to get the lobbying efforts out of the discussion, just saying here’s your scorecard and they only highlight certain issues.  And they don’t give you everything else that they’re involved in. And that’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m glad you’re here.  So that we can talk and listen to one another.  And so I really am feeling very good that you’re here today.”

In the December 13 article, AbleChild describe their unsuccessful attempts to obtain additional information from Congresswoman McCollum concerning the CDC “rule.”

My interpretation of the Congresswoman’s words in the town hall meeting is that there is some kind of prohibition within the government on researching this topic, and that this prohibition is connected to lobbying – presumably by the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Wikipedia, Congresswoman Betty Louise McCollum is 59 years old, and is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district, serving since 2001. She is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).  She currently serves on the United States House Appropriations Committee and the following subcommittees:  Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.   She also previously served on the House Committee Education and the Workforce; House Committee on Government Reform; House Committee on Resources; and House Committee on the Budget.  So she is mature and not, I imagine, given to flights of fancy.  She appears credible; she seems to have some personal knowledge of the “rule”; and there is nothing to suggest that she is making this stuff up.

Why is the media not all over this?  The town hall meeting was held almost a year ago.  To date the video has had only 307 hits.

WHITE HOUSE PETITION

And let’s not forget that a petition to formally investigate the link between psychopharmaceutical products and violence was removed from the White House petition website in December of 2012 without explanation, even though it was well on the way to obtaining the requisite number of signatures.

Is the US government, or any branch, or agency, of the US government deliberately suppressing research into the widely-suspected link between psychopharmaceutical products and mass shootings?  And if so, is this suppression the result of pharmaceutical lobbying?

If in fact, as many of us suspect, there is a causal link between the mass shootings and psychopharma products, shouldn’t this be a matter of urgent national importance?  Whose interests would be served by the suppression of this information?  Has the constitutional supremacy of We The People been usurped by They The Drug Companies?  By what distorted “logic” can a government collude with the notion of keeping people in the dark concerning a devastating drug effect in order to ensure that individuals keep taking these drugs?  I encourage my readers to check out both videos, and perhaps recommend that your friends and contacts do the same.  Perhaps there’s an innocent interpretation to all this.  If so, I’d be very grateful if someone could explain it to me.

FINALLY

In 2000, Joseph Glenmullen, MD, a psychiatrist, published Prozac Backlash – a critical look at the adverse effects of Prozac and other serotonin boosters.  Here’s a quote from the final chapter:

“We do know, from documented clinical experience and research, that these drugs have led to suicidal and violent urges in some patients.  We desperately need warnings for patients and doctors, together with information on prevention and coping with suicidal and violent impulses when they occur.  Additional research to help us understand the phenomenon is desirable but should not be merely a ploy to delay such warnings and preventive steps.” (p 336)

And that was more than 13 years ago!

Another Mass Shooting: Link to SSRIs?

A mass murder occurred yesterday, September 16, at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington D.C.  There are reports of at least 12 dead, and several wounded.  Early news stories describe the perpetrator as having “mental issues,” and it is reported that he “…had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”  It is likely that this “treatment” involved the prescription of psychiatric drugs.

And still no government inquiry into the link between psycho-pharmaceutical products, especially SSRI’s, and acts of violence/suicide.

Why does the government not take this simple step to uncover the facts?  Could it be because the pharmaceutical industry is one of the top contributors nationwide to politicians’ re-election campaigns?

According to OpenSecrets.org:

“Pharmaceutical companies, which develop both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, have been among the biggest political spenders for years.”

In an article titled Big Pharma’s Influence Machine, Farron Cousins, of Ring of Fire Radio states:

“But when it comes to affecting policy in Washington, D.C., no organization or industry has gamed the system better than the pharmaceutical industry.”

[Ring of Fire Radio is a nationally syndicated talk show program.  The presenters, according to Wikipedia, see their goal as “exposing people whom they consider to be ‘corporate fat cats, polluters and media spinmeisters.'”]

What’s needed is an impartial government inquiry.  Who could argue with that?