The Colorado Medical Board has suspended a Fort Collins psychiatrist’s license over allegations he used medical students to divert prescription drugs for his own use.
Timothy Jay Allen, a psychiatrist formerly practicing at Fort Collins Neurology, was suspended on March 15, pending further action by the Board.
The Board took the emergency action over concern that Allen “used his medical license, along with his position of trust and supervision over medical students, to engage in prescription drug diversion” by asking students to fill prescriptions in their names and then give the drugs to him for his use.
Based on the information the Board reviewed, and following Allen’s appearance at a pre-suspension hearing, the Board concluded it had “objective and reasonable grounds to believe and finds that [Allen] deliberately and willfully violated the Medical Practice Act and/or that the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.”
A summary of the inquiry leading to the suspension is found in the Board’s Order of Suspension, posted and open to public view on the state Department of Regulatory Agencies website.
If you or someone you know has information about wrongful behavior by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health worker, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article.
The Colorado Medical Board has suspended a Denver child psychiatrist’s license amid concerns about his interactions with a vulnerable minor.
Brent A. Wilson, who practiced child and adolescent psychiatry from a Denver office, was summarily suspended on May 25 after the licensing Board concluded it had “objective and reasonable grounds to believe and finds that [Wilson] deliberately and willfully violated the Medical Practice Act and/or that the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.”
According to the Order of Suspension posted online by the Board, Wilson performed a psychiatric evaluation in 2010 on an adolescent who was in the foster care system in Georgia, then continued to meet with the adolescent in “real life settings” over the next few years.
When Wilson moved from Georgia to Colorado in 2014, he continued to maintain a relationship with the adolescent.
On turning 18, the adolescent relocated to Colorado and moved in with Wilson.
The Medical Board found that Wilson’s conduct “constituted a series of boundary violations with the adolescent, constituting standard of care violations” and that Wilson “lacked insight into his own conduct.”
The Board expressed concerns about Wilson’s judgment because of “his interactions with a vulnerable minor” and concluded the situation required emergency action. It suspended Wilson’s license to practice, pending further resolution of the matter.
If you or someone you know has experienced inappropriate behavior from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health worker, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article.
Coloradans joined concerned citizens from around the nation on May 14 in a march organized by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to protest the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) recent push to get the FDA to approve electroshock (ECT) for children and to get electroshock devices reclassified into the same category of risk as electric wheelchairs and hearing aids.
The APA is pushing for ECT to be given to children who are “treatment resistant” to psychiatric drugs. Eight million American children are on psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs – one million of them as young as 0-5 years old. Many of them will get worse and will be labeled “treatment resistant,” instead of the treatment itself being labeled harmful and ineffective.
ECT is already a $1.2 billion a year industry. If the APA gets its way, that industry will be growing by shocking the still-developing brains of children and subjecting their young bodies to convulsions.
You would think a machine that shoots electricity into a person’s brain would have to be proven safe and effective and be approved by the FDA before it could be used. You’d be wrong.
No formal tests have ever been conducted or required by the FDA to determine the safety of the devices used to deliver electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), more commonly known as “shock treatment.”
Now the FDA is proposing a rule that would lower the classification of shock machines to a less dangerous class without any proof ever having been provided that the device, or the treatment given with the device, is either safe or effective.
ECT sends an electrical shock into a person’s brain in order to produce a seizure. No one has ever explained exactly how this “works” as a mental health treatment.
Worse still, there is no federal or state regulation of ECT protocols for using ECT machines, or for who can use ECT devices, or for which patients should or should not be “treated.”
A little history: In 1976, Congress enacted legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate medical devices. However, ECT equipment was grandfathered in, exempting it and allowing it to continue to be used without FDA testing.
In 1979, the FDA classified ECT machines as experimental Class III medical devices, a class of devices that must typically be approved by the FDA before they are marketed. According to the FDA, “Class III devices are generally the highest risk devices and are therefore subject to the highest level of regulatory control.”
But due to the grandfathering in 1976, the FDA still has never tested ECT devices to see whether they are safe or effective.
Shocking Your Brain = Wearing a Condom
The FDA is now attempting to reclassify ECT machines as less dangerous Class II devices, a class that includes wheelchairs, acupuncture needles, and condoms. Yes, condoms.
In fact, there has long been documented evidence of the damage ECT devices and shock treatment can cause, including prolonged or permanent memory loss and other physical damage.
A top ECT researcher, Harold Sackeim of Columbia University, conducted the first large-scale, prospective long-term study of cognitive function following ECT treatment. His study, reported in the January 2007 issue of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, concluded that “adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.”
Beyond the damage to memory and other mental functions, the FDA itself has determined that ECT devices and procedures are associated with a long list of health risks, including:
Physical injury to the body and dental fractures from the violent convulsions
Heart attack, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and stroke
Breathing complications from the drugs used to sedate the person or from the person inhaling his vomit
Skin burns from excessive electrical current or faulty electrodes
Worsening of psychiatric symptoms when ECT treatment is ineffective
Tell the FDA to require ECT machines to undergo stringent testing to prove whether the devices and the treatment given with the devices are both safe and effective, instead of reclassifying them with devices no more dangerous than wheelchairs and condoms.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by shock treatment, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments below.
Three psychiatrists permanently surrendered their licenses to the Colorado Medical Board in 2015 in order to avoid formal disciplinary hearings on complaints filed against them with the Board, according to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies online listing of Board actions. A fourth psychiatrist agreed to a non-permanent surrender of his license.
The psychiatrists who permanently surrendered their licenses are:
Wallace R. Arthur (Denver) – The Board alleged Arthur violated the Colorado Medical Practice Act by engaging in a sexual act with a patient within the six months immediately following the termination of his treatment of the patient, which constitutes unprofessional conduct under Colorado law.
Lawrence L. McReynolds (Ridgway) – McReynolds surrendered his license in the state of California after allegations of repeated acts of negligence and failure to keep proper records in his treatment of a patient there, then failed to notify the Colorado Medical Board of that fact, as required.
Walter C. Young, Jr. (Colorado Springs) – The Board alleged that Arthur failed to take any steps to ensure the safety of a patient who expressed suicidal thoughts, prescribed the same patient pain medications and large quantities of high-dose opiates over periods of time between prescriptions that were too short, and terminated treatment of the patient the same day he received notice of the complaint in this case without giving her proper notice or helping her find another provider.
The psychiatrist who agreed to a non-permanent surrender of his license is:
Steven P. Miller (Louisville) – The Board alleged that Miller was treating a female patient who was an exotic dancer and, on returning from an out-of-town trip, he drove to the place his patient was performing. She sat on his lap without recognizing that he was her psychiatrist, she left when she realized who he was, and Miller allegedly stayed on the premises and talked to her later. Several months later, the patient overdosed on drugs, but before passing out put her parents in contact with Miller by phone. Miller allegedly got the parents to bring their unconscious daughter to his residence, put her in his bed, allowed her to live with him for a period of 7 to 14 days, fed her, took her out to dine with him, and had an inappropriate relationship with her during that time.
Six more Colorado psychiatrists received other forms of disciplinary action from the Medical Board in 2015, based on complaints the Board received about treatment they had given their patients:
Peter U. Berndt (Denver) – Berndt provided psychiatric treatment to a patient he then included in his family life, including but not limited to dinners at Berndt’s home and Berndt’s wife helping to decorate the patient’s home. This constitutes unprofessional conduct under Colorado law. The Medical Board sent Berndt a letter admonishing him for these boundary violations, placed his license on probation indefinitely, and ordered him to take an ethics course.
Matthew J. Burke (Chandler, AZ) – Burke failed to respond to complaint letters the Colorado Medical Board sent him concerning a patient’s complaint against him. Failing to respond in an honest, materially responsive, and timely manner to a complaint sent by the Board is unprofessional conduct under Colorado law. The Board then sent him a letter, stating the Board “must assume that the allegations raised in the complaint may have merit” and cautioning him that “complaints disclosing any repetition of such practice may lead to the commencement of formal disciplinary proceedings against your license.”
William W. Dodson (Greenwood Village) – The Board sent Dodson a letter admonishing him for prescribing a patient high doses of a controlled substance that exceeded FDA-approved dosages, then failing to monitor the patient adequately, having documented only two appointments with her over a roughly five-month period. He was warned that any similar complaint in the future could lead to formal disciplinary proceedings against his license.
Natalie M. Hogan (Littleton) – In a letter admonishing Hogan, the Board found she failed to properly assess a patient and prescribed Valium to him, in spite of his documented history of drug dependence and abuse of multiple drugs. During the hospitalization of another patient for alcohol withdrawal and behavioral problems, Hogan also failed to properly assess the patient and prescribed addictive narcotic substances, despite the patient’s history of alcohol and drug abuse and dependence. The Board also expressed its concern that Hogan failed to coordinate both patients’ discharge from the facility where treatment occurred, when both were taking multiple psychiatric drugs. She was warned that any similar complaints in the future could lead to action against her license.
Frank E. Leone (Thornton) – The FDA requires that patients taking clozapine be registered with the drug’s manufacturer and monitored by both the company and the psychiatrist. When the drug company notified Leone to discontinue clozapine for one of his patients who had developed a severely low white blood cell count, he falsely claimed he had secured a waiver from the company allowing him to continue prescribing the drug to the patient. The patient was suffering side effects consistent with use of the drug and was unable to advocate for herself. The Medical Board sent Leone a letter admonishing him for unprofessional conduct and required him to take an ethics course.
Halbert B. Miller (Alpharetta, GA) – Miller failed to renew his Massachusetts license in 2013 or update his address, so he did not receive a letter from the Massachusetts Medical Board notifying him that his license had expired. He continued to practice psychiatry without a license. He also fraudulently claimed in his license renewal application that he was Board-certified in addiction psychiatry, but the certification had expired in 2008. The Massachusetts Medical Board publicly reprimanded Miller and fined him $2,500 for his misconduct. The Colorado Medical Board then sent a letter of admonition to Miller, stating that his actions were also unprofessional conduct under Colorado law and warning him that any similar conduct in the future could lead to formal disciplinary action against his Colorado license.
How do you know if the Medical Board has ever taken action against your mental health provider? Actions taken by Colorado licensing boards against psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, registered psychotherapists, professional counselors, and psychiatric technicians can be found by searching the provider’s name on the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) website. DORA encourages consumers to check for disciplinary actions so they can make more informed decisions about healthcare providers.
DORA also encourages you to file a complaint about any unprofessional conduct you experienced. If you want to make a complaint against someone who has harmed you with psychiatric drugs or mental health treatment, we want to talk to you. Contact the Colorado chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.
The Colorado Medical Board took emergency action in January to suspend the license of Lakewood psychiatrist Harry Taub after reviewing information that he deliberately and willfully violated the Medical Practice Act and/or that he has a physical or mental condition that makes him unsafe to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients.
Documents related to the case, which date back to 2003, are posted on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website. The documents detail a history of substance abuse that started with Taub’s addiction to cough syrup, which began sometime after he was issued a resident’s Training License to practice medicine in North Carolina in 2001.
In 2003, Taub was arrested in North Carolina on a felony charge of obtaining a controlled substance by forgery. Taub admitted he had written prescriptions for Percocet for himself under a fictitious name for about a year. He entered into a deferral agreement, under which the charge against him would be dismissed if he followed his treatment plan and submitted to drug testing while on supervised probation for one year.
In 2008, Taub was arrested again and charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud/forgery. He pled guilty to the charges, was given a suspended sentence of four to five months and was placed on supervised probation. He entered a substance abuse treatment program. The North Carolina Medical Board indefinitely suspended his license to practice, and records show the license subsequently became inactive in 2009.
In 2011, Taub applied for a license to practice in Colorado. An evaluation by the Colorado Physician Health Program concluded Taub was safe to practice if he was under treatment and monitoring.
In May 2012, the Colorado Medical Board granted a restricted license that required Taub to comply with numerous conditions for a period of five years, including treatment monitoring and abstinence from addictive substances, monitoring of the prescriptions he wrote, and monitoring of his psychiatric practice.
Taub treated children and adolescents. In June 2013, a monitor’s review of Taub’s practice found his treatment and medication management of three child and adolescent psychiatric patients fell below generally accepted standards and that he failed to make essential entries in the records of seven patients. This is unprofessional conduct, as defined in Colorado law.
The Medical Board found that the situation required emergency action. Instead of an immediate suspension of Taub’s license, it allowed Taub to enter into an agreement not to practice, pending further evaluation and investigation by the Board.
In July 2013, the Medical Board placed Taub’s license on probation for five years and required him to meet a lengthy list of conditions, including treatment and drug monitoring, keeping a log of prescriptions he wrote, practice monitoring, an education program, and quality reviews.
On January 8, 2016, the Colorado Medical Board received information that Taub had used alcohol and a controlled substance and that he has a physical or mental condition that renders him unsafe to practice. The Medical Board concluded the situation required emergency action and suspended Taub’s license to practice, pending further resolution of the matter.
You decide. Has the Medical Board handled this psychiatrist’s case appropriately?
CCHR has been exposing the link between psychiatric drugs and violence for decades. Today, CCHR joined ranks with the likes of CNN, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Independent, and hundreds of news outlets in reporting that “The War on Drugs” has taken on a literal twist, with ISIS fighters being fueled by a stimulant drug known as Captagon – a pharmaceutical cousin of the ADHD drug, Adderall. As The Boston Globe reports, Captagon is a “toxic fuel” that creates “super-human” fighters. The drug “quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.”
And a November 21st article, “Breaking Bad: The Stimulant Drugs That Link ISIS and the Nazis,” posted in Haaretz, the world’s leading English-language website for news and analysis of the Middle East, points out, “ISIS is far from the first murderous group to drug its fighters before battle…. The Persian Hashashin did it way back in the 11th century, as did Japanese kamikaze pilots, African militias, Chechen fighters and Nazi soldiers.”
Rising right along with the current epidemic of military suicides is the huge increase in the number of psychiatric drug prescriptions written for active military and veterans.
Fact: Between 2005-2011, military prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased nearly seven times (682%) – more than 30 times faster than the civilian rate.One in six American service members takes at least one psychiatric drug.
Fact: There are nearly 50 international drug-regulatory agency warnings that psychiatric drugs – including antidepressants – can cause suicidal thoughts and suicide.
Fact: In 2012, more active military died by suicide than from combat – nearly one a day. A total of 273 committed suicide in 2014, and 2015 is on track to post a similar number.
Fact: Military veterans are committing suicide at the staggering rate of 22 every day.
Fact: Some 80% of vets labeled with PTSD receive psychiatric drugs; 89% of them are given antidepressants. A questionnaire used to screen for depression and PTSD is copyrighted to Pfizer, the company that manufactures the antidepressant Zoloft and other psychiatric drugs.
Retired Army Colonel and psychologist Bart Billings says:
“If you take a look at people who commit suicide, most of those people – I would say as much as 80% – are on some type of psychiatric medication where there’s a black box warning…for suicidality, poor judgment and reasoning, anger and hostility, which can translate to homicide, depression, etc.”
“In my 47 years of treating people, although I had access to using psychiatric medication, I never recommended a single psychiatric drug. In all these years, I can state unequivocally, I therefore never had a person commit suicide or a homicide while in my care.”
WARNING: Anyone wanting to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
“The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda”
To view the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) documentary detailing how psychiatry uses the military as its testing ground, click here and then click on “Military Documentary.”
If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs or other mental-health treatment, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments below.
Fact: At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking orwithdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs). The most important fact about this list, is that these are only cases where the information about their psychiatric drug use was made public. (See full list below)
Tallahassee, Florida – November 20, 2014: 31-year-old Myron May, a Florida State University alum, opened fire in the school’s library, wounding three before he was shot and killed by police. ABC Action News found a half-filled prescription for the antianxiety drug Hydroxyzine in his apartment after the shooting. In addition, according to May’s friends, he had seen a psychologist and had been prescribed the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the ADHD drug Vyvanse. He also checked himself in to a mental health center called Mesilla Valley Hospital around September of 2014. Shortly after this, his friends discovered the antipsychotic Seroquel among his prescriptions.
Seattle, Washington – June 5, 2014: 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra planned to kill as many people as possible and then kill himself. In 2012, Ybarra reported that he had been prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotic Risperdal. A report from his counselor in December of 2013 said that he was taking Prozac at the time and planned to continue to meet with his psychiatrist and therapist as needed.
Milford, Connecticut – April 25, 2014: 16-year-old Chris Plaskon stabbed Maren Sanchez, also 16, to death in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School after she turned down his prom invitation. According to classmates and a former close friend, Chris was taking drugs for ADHD.
Sparks, Nevada – October 21, 2013: 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. The investigation revealed that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and had a generic version of Prozac (fluoxetine) in his system at the time of death.
St. Louis, Missouri – January 15, 2013: 34-year-old Sean Johnson walked onto the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts campus and shot the school’s financial aid director once in the chest, then shot himself in the torso. Johnson had been taking prescribed drugs for an undisclosed mental illness.
Snohomish County, Washington – October 24, 2011: A 15-year-old girl went to Snohomish High School where police alleged that she stabbed a girl as many as 25 times just before the start of school, and then stabbed another girl who tried to help her injured friend. Prior to the attack the girl had been taking “medication” and seeing a psychiatrist. Court documents said the girl was being treated for depression.
Planoise, France – December 13, 2010: A 17-year-old youth held twenty pre-school children and their teacher hostage for hours at Charles Fourier preschool. The teen was reported to be on “medication for depression”. He took a classroom hostage with two swords. Eventually, all the children and the teacher were released safely.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – September 21, 2011: 14-year-old Christian Helms had two pipe bombs in his backpack, when he shot and wounded Socastee High School’s “resource” (police) officer. However the officer was able to stop the student before he could do anything further. Helms had been taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.
Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.
Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.
Fresno, California – April 24, 2008: 17-year-old Jesus “Jesse” Carrizales attacked the Fresno high school’s officer, hitting him in the head with a baseball bat. After knocking the officer down, the officer shot Carrizales in self-defense, killing him. Carrizales had been prescribed Lexapro and Geodon, and his autopsy showed that he had a high dose of the antidepressant Lexapro in his blood that could have caused him to be paranoid, according to the coroner.
Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 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. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.
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.
Texas – November 7, 2007: 17-year-old Felicia McMillan returned to her former Robert E. Lee High School campus and stabbed a male student and wounded the principle with a knife. McMillan had been on drugs for depression, and had just taken them the night before the incident.
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.
Sudbury, Massachusetts – January 19, 2007: 16-year-old John Odgren stabbed another student with a large kitchen knife in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. In court his father testified that Odgren was prescribed the drug Ritalin.
North Vernon, Indiana – December 4, 2006: 16-year-old Travis Roberson stabbed another Jennings County High School student in the neck, nearly severing an artery. Roberson was in withdrawal from Wellbutrin, which he had stopped taking days before the attack.
Hillsborough, North Carolina – August 30, 2006: 19-year-old Alvaro Rafael Castillo shot and killed his father, then drove to Orange High School where he opened fire. Two students were injured in the shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him. His mother said he was on drugs for depression.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – April 2006: 17-year-old William Barrett Foster took a shotgun to school and took a teacher and a fellow student hostage at East Chapel Hill High School. After being talked out of shooting the hostages, Foster fired two shots through a classroom window before fleeing the school on foot. Foster’s father testified that his son had stopped taking his antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs without telling him.
Red Lake, Minnesota – March 21, 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 5 students, a security guard, 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”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.
Red Lion, Pennsylvania – February 2, 2001: 56-year-old William Michael Stankewicz entered North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School with a machete, leaving three adults and 11 children injured. Stankewicz was taking four different drugs for depression and anxiety weeks before the attacks.
Ikeda, Japan – June 8, 2001: 37-year-old Mamoru Takuma, wielding a 6-inch knife, slipped into an elementary school and stabbed eight first- and second-graders to death while wounding at least 15 other pupils and teachers. He then turned the knife on himself but suffered only superficial wounds. He later told interrogators that before the attack he had taken 10 times his normal dose of antidepressants.
Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the antidepressant Effexor.
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. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
Oxnard, California – January 2001: 17-year-old Richard Lopez went to Hueneme High School with a gun and shot twice at a car in the school’s parking lot before taking a female student hostage. Lopez was eventually killed by a SWAT officer. He had been prescribed Prozac, Paxil and “drugs that helped him go to sleep.”
Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the stimulant Ritalin 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. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
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 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 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist.
Blackville, South Carolina – October 12, 1995: 15-year-old Toby R. Sincino slipped into the Blackville-Hilda High School’s rear entrance, where he shot two Blackville-Hilda High School teachers, killing one. Then Toby killed himself moments later. His aunt, Carolyn McCreary, said he had been undergoing counseling with the Department of Mental Health and was taking Zoloft for emotional problems.
Chelsea, Michigan – December 17, 1993: 39-year-old chemistry teacher Stephen Leith, facing a disciplinary matter at Chelsea High School, shot Superintendent Joseph Piasecki to death, shot Principal Ron Mead in the leg, and slightly wounded journalism teacher Phil Jones. Leith was taking Prozac and had been seeing a psychiatrist.
Houston, Texas – September 18, 1992: 44-year-old Calvin Charles Bell, reportedly upset about his second-grader’s progress report, appeared in the principal’s office of Piney Point Elementary School. Bell fired a gun in the school, and eventually wounded two officers before surrendering. Relatives told police on Friday that Bell was an unemployed Vietnam veteran and had been taking anti-depressants.
Winnetka, Illinois – 20 May 1988: 30-year-old Laurie Wasserman Dann walked into a second grade classroom at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, Illinois carrying three pistols and began shooting children, killing an eight-year-old boy, and wounding five others before fleeing. She entered a nearby house where she shot and wounded a 20-year-old man before killing herself. Dann had been seeing a psychiatrist and subsequent blood tests revealed that at the time of the killings, she was taking the antidepressant Anafranil.
That’s what mainstream press such as the LA Times and Reuters are reporting, based on a new study published in a respected medical journal, PLOS Medicine, which found young adults between the ages of 15-24, were nearly fifty percent more likely to be convicted of a homicide, assault, robbery arson, kidnapping, sexual offense and other violent crime when taking the antidepressant than when they weren’t taking the psychiatric drug.
To have heavy-hitters like the Los Angeles Times cover the issue is precedent setting, as the link between psychiatric drugs and violence has long been ignored by mainstream press. But the fact that antidepressants cause violence isn’t a new revelation as the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has been at the forefront of exposing this connection for nearly two decades.
CCHR’s efforts to expose the link between violence and antidepressants goes back to 1991 when CCHR helped organize hearings before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where victims and experts gathered to testify that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) cause not only suicide but violence, including homicide.
The testimony by parents, about the violent self-inflicted deaths of their young children, was gut-wrenching. Yet, despite overwhelming data provided by experts, and the first-hand accounts of suicide and violence caused by antidepressants, the FDA Advisory Committee, many of which had financial conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical companies, refused to warn the public of the link between suicide and antidepressants, and did not provide any consideration of whether the antidepressants may be responsible for other violent behavior.
But, as was expected, increasing numbers of suicides and other violent acts continued to add up and, finally, more than a decade later, in 2004, the FDA was, again, forced to address the issue. This time, though, the data provided by whistleblowers within the industry could not be shrugged off and more than a decade after the federal agency first knew of the deadly consequences associated with SSRIs, a “black box” warning for suicidal ideation and behavior finally was issued on all antidepressants. Yet the connection to violence and homicide continued to be ignored. To this day, despite 22 warnings on psychiatric drugs causing violence from international drug regulatory agencies, and despite the fact that t least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed, the FDA has never issued black box warnings on antidepressant drugs causing violence.
For nearly two decades, CCHR has taken the lead on calling for toxicology reports of school shooters to be made public so psychiatric drug information may be collected and identified as a possible cause of the violent behavior. It is CCHR that has provided numerous white papers to lawmakers, both at the state and federal level and, for decades, CCHR has met with Congressional lawmakers, exposing the link between violence and school shooters and other acts of mass violence.
This latest study, linking violence and antidepressants, only serves to support decades of CCHR’s research and efforts to elicit action by those in a position to make a difference. To date, 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs and, between 2004 and 2012, there have been nearly 15,000 reports to the FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects.
This is all important information that CCHR has been providing the public, media and lawmakers for decades—psychiatric drugs are ineffective and cause violent behavior. On the upside, though, given the media’s apparent new willingness to report on the dangers associated with psychiatric drugs and pharmaceutical fraud, there’s no telling how quickly the story could turn to the real issue… the fraud of psychiatric diagnosing. CCHR already has it covered.
Kelly Patricia O’Meara is an award-winning former investigative reporter for the Washington Times’ Insight Magazine, penning dozens of articles exposing the fraud of psychiatric diagnosis and the dangers of the psychiatric drugs—including her ground-breaking 1999 cover story, “Guns & Doses,” exposing the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.