The Aurora, Colorado Tragedy—Another Senseless Shooting, Another Psychotropic Drug?

As the world’s leading mental health watchdog, CCHR has for decades investigated hundreds of acts of senseless violence in coordination with the press and law enforcement as well as in legislative hearings, such as those held following the 1999 Columbine massacre (ringleader Eric Harris was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox, Dylan Klebold’s autopsy reports were never unsealed). And while there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such unspeakable acts, all too often one common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases—prescribed psychotropic drugs which are documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases, homicidal ideation.

 Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence. These include 300 cases of homicide, nearly 3,000 cases of mania and over 7,000 cases of aggression. (Note: By the FDA’s own admission, only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.)

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions. These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

In determining what would prompt James Holmes, identified as the 24-year-old gunman in the Aurora, Colorado shooting, to commit such a brutal and senseless crime, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs Holmes may have been on (or in withdrawal from).

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COLORADO HEAT WAVE SPIKES RISK OF DANGEROUS OVERHEATING FOR THOSE TAKING PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS

 

By Petr Kratochvil
Image by Petr Kratochvil

Colorado’s current heat wave increases the risk of heat-related illness and death for those taking psychiatric drugs, most especially antipsychotic and “ADHD” drugs.

Psychiatric drugs cause people taking them to be less sensitive to signals from their body.  Many of the drugs also directly interfere with the body’s ability to respond to heat.  As a result, individuals taking psychiatric drugs can overheat when temperatures soar and not realize it, running a greater risk of heat exhaustion or life-threatening heat stroke.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, psychiatric drugs that interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself down include antipsychotics, tranquilizers, and tricyclic antidepressants.   These drugs make individuals more susceptible to dangerous overheating.

Antipsychotic drugs, in particular, are known to increase the risk of heat stroke, as evidenced by a medical alert issued in April by the New York Office of Mental Health.  Children and the elderly – the most physically vulnerable – who are taking antipsychotic drugs face a still higher risk.

The risk of heat-related illness and death is also increased by stimulants, including the stimulant drugs prescribed for so-called ADHD.

Stimulant drugs raise body temperature, as well as interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself down, so that high summer temperatures cause body temperatures already elevated by these drugs to go higher still.

Those taking psychiatric drugs should limit their exposure to summer heat and strenuous activity and drink plenty of water.  Seek medical attention for someone who becomes disoriented, whose skin is dry and hot, or who has difficulty waking up, with particular attention paid to children and the elderly.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced adverse effects from psychiatric drugs, 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 below.

From A Colorado R.N.: Why I Left Psychiatric Nursing

“It is a mistake to pathologize life [to represent it as a disease].  All of us get angry, sad, depressed, overjoyed, and excited at times.  There are times that any of us might lose control of any of these emotions with the challenges that life presents.

“Unfortunately, losing one’s temper in public might earn a person a stay in a psychiatric hospital.  Anger, especially, is not tolerated inside the psychiatric department of a hospital.  It can be diagnosed as “dysphoria” [unpleasant emotion, agitated, depressed], “hypomania” [speeded up, agitated behavior], or a “personality disorder.” The patient — adolescent and adult alike — can be disciplined with restraints, isolation, and involuntary medications.

“Isolation and restraints are legally allowed ONLY when the patient is threatening others or viewed as a danger to himself.  However, as a former psychiatric nurse, I have witnessed these methods used for reasons other than safety.  I have seen them used to discipline a patient for his temper or simply to gain control over him, even when there was no threat to anyone’s safety.  They were used to break down the individual’s will so that he will comply with the system inside the psychiatric unit, which imposes a milieu structure [a structured environment] with medications prescribed for questionable diagnoses.

“Anger is in itself not a disease.  It is a symptom that something is not right.  Anger can escalate when it is not listened to.

“While working one evening a few years ago in a small Colorado psychiatric inpatient unit, I was asked by our staff psychiatrist if I thought a 16-year-old boy there had “bipolar disorder.”  The adolescent had expressed anger toward his mother, who was continuing to date a man who had literally beaten the boy up.

“Recognizing that this young patient had a lot reason to be angry, I asked the doctor why he thought the boy had “bipolar disorder.”  The doctor explained that the patient’s mother had reported an increase in the boy’s appetite the week before, when he had an extra chili dog for dinner.  The boy then went outdoors to play basketball with his friends.  The doctor surmised that these two occurrences of normal behavior must be interpreted as “mania” because they were not typical for this boy.

“As the doctor was writing out prescriptions for three psychiatric medications, including an antipsychotic drug, I voiced my opinion that perhaps this boy’s behavior might be normal or just a sign of getting well.  The doctor instructed me to observe him over the weekend for unusual behaviors and symptoms.

“Later that night, as I was passing out bedtime medications, I found myself with an antipsychotic medication in my hand with a physician’s order to give it to this boy — a child who was not mentally ill.

“My license said I had to give it.  I left the psychiatric setting a few months later.  Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in psychiatric facilities.

“What is needed is empathic [with empathy] listening, understanding, validation and acceptance to feel what we need to.  In my experience, I found that acceptance and caring about how my patient felt was always calming.  A therapeutic conversation could then take place.  Empathic listening and validation are key to healing.”

–Colorado R.N., a former psychiatric nurse

Columbine: A Permanent Reminder That Psychiatric Drugs Can Turn Kids Into Killers

The 13th anniversary of the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, is a time to remember the real lesson of Columbine: psychiatric drugs can turn kids into killers.

 Shooter Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox at the time he and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.

There is at least one public report that Klebold had also been taking antidepressants.  A friend of Klebold claims she witnessed him taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft and urged him to come off them.  Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

Luvox, Paxil and Zoloft are in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  The FDA is among the international regulatory agencies issuing warnings on SSRIs.  Its Public Health Advisory issued in 2004 warned:

“Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement, mild mania] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur and overproduction of ideas] have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants.”

International studies and warnings about antidepressants can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

Psych Dugs Dominate List of 10 Most Violence-Inducing Drugs

Luvox, Paxil and other antidepressants are ranked among the top 10 most violence-inducing prescription drugs in a list compiled by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.  The list is based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and author of Prozac: Panacea of Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare, is an expert consultant in cases like Columbine in which antidepressants are involved.  Dr. Tracy say the Columbine killers’ brains were awash in serotonin, the chemical which causes violence and aggression and triggers a sleep-walking disorder in which a person literally acts out their worst nightmare.

Harris became obsessed with homicidal and suicidal thoughts “within weeks” after he began taking Zoloft, according to Dr. Tracy.  Due to his obsession with killing, Harris was switched to Luvox, which was in his system at the time of the shooting, according to his autopsy.

But the change from Zoloft to Luvox is no more of a change than switching from Pepsi to Coke, Dr. Tracy said.  The change did not avert the Columbine tragedy, and antidepressants are directly and forever linked to it.

WARNING:  Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of the risk of dangerous, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced the harmful effects of psychiatric drugs (including violence), 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 below.

 

 

 

Expert Finds Antidepressants No Better Than Sugar Pills

In an explosive report just aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes, an expert who has studied the effects of placebos (dummy pills) for 36 years stated that antidepressants are no more effective than sugar pills for the vast

Image by George Hodan
Image by George Hodan

majority of depressed individuals.

Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School, says his research shows that the difference between the effects of antidepressants and sugar pills is clinically insignificant for most people.

He reports that it is not the chemical ingredients of antidepressants that make people feel better, but rather their expectation that taking a pill will make them feel better, such that taking a dummy pill with no drugs in it alleviates their symptoms.  This is known as the placebo effect.

In addition to its reported effectiveness in handling depression, a placebo has none of the dangerous side effects of antidepressants.  (Information on the harmful side effects of antidepressants and other psych drugs can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.)

View a video clip about the 60 Minutes report.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an antidepressant, 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 below.

Parker Man Who Killed Ex-Wife, Then Committed Suicide Had Taken Psych Drug

Part of the ongoing series: Killers On Psych Drugs –
Psych-Drugged Accused Or Convicted Killers

 

Image by Raki Halder
Image by Raki Halder

A man who shot and killed his ex-wife outside a McDonald’s in Parker last December and then took his own life had taken the antidepressant nortriptyline, according to an autopsy report.

Royer reportedly was having emotional and financial problems at the time of the double killing.  So how does a depressed individual turn violent?

Antidepressants have long been linked to violence.  Nortriptyline is known to cause hostility, aggression, agitation, confusion, hallucinations and delusions.

It also can cause worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and suicide.

Research studies, warnings from international regulatory authorities, and reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the harmful side effects of antidepressants and other psych drugs can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an antidepressant drug, 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 below.

Denver Psychiatrist Disciplined For Exploiting Intimate Details of Patient’s Life

Denver psychiatrist Roy S. Lowenstein has been disciplined by the Colorado Medical Board for taking the intimate details of a traumatic event a patient had experienced as a child and turning it into a short story that was published without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

Lowenstein treated “patient S.P.” for approximately five years.  According to the Board’s letter of admonition to Lowenstein, recently posted on the Colorado Division of Registrations website:

“Throughout the course of treatment, S.P. related to you details of a traumatic event that she experienced as a child.  In 2009, you published a short story based on the traumatic event in S.P.’s life in a literary publication, without S.P.’s permission.  You then told S.P. about the publication.”

The Board concluded that Lowenstein’s “exploitation of S.P.’s confidential information without her prior consent” and his “failure to deal with sensitive therapeutic issues with respect for the dignity of S.P.” constituted unprofessional conduct under the Colorado Medical Practice Act.

The Board’s letter of admonition can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a psychiatrist 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 below.

Why Was Death Of Ft. Carson Soldier On Psych Drugs Changed From Sudden Cardiac Death To Suicide?

 

By Gary Daniel (United States Army) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Gary Daniel (United States Army) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Pfc. Ryan Alderman was on a cocktail of psych drugs when found unresponsive, then dying in his barracks at Ft. Carson in 2008.  An ECG done by emergency medical technicians at the scene confirmed sudden cardiac arrest.  Inexplicably, military officials changed the cause of death to suicide.

Neurologist Fred A. Baughman Jr., M.D., wants to know why.  He challenges the military to produce the evidence to support the change.

In the bigger picture, Baughman continues to hammer away at the military to compile a database of medication use and reactions by soldiers and veterans, which would allow investigations into injuries and deaths due to the psychiatric drugs they were on.

Baughman’s own investigation into the “unexplained” deaths in 2008 of four West Virginia vets, all in their 20s, who died in their sleep, found that all were on the same drug cocktail for PTSD: Seroquel (antipsychotic), Paxil (antidepressant) and Klonopin (benzodiazepine).  All appeared normal when they went to sleep.  There were no signs of suicide.

Baughman concluded the vets did not commit suicide or overdose leading to coma, as claimed by the military, but were sudden cardiac deaths due to the prescription antipsychotics and antidepressants they were on.

 “I call on the DoD, VA, House and Senate Armed Services, and House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees to tell concerned Americans and the families of fallen heroes what psychiatric drugs each of the deceased, both combat and non-combat, soldiers and veterans were on,” said Baughman. “It is time for the military and government to come clean.”

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs prescribed by military doctors, 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 below.

 

Shocking Video Released Of Man Suffocating in Prone Restraint

Man Struggles In Vain To Breathe While Strapped Down at Pueblo Psych Hospital.

RestraintsCall7 Investigators in Denver obtained the surveillance video of a man, strapped face down in restraints and left alone in an isolation room, struggling for air and slowly suffocating at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

CMHIP staff are seen forcibly putting the man in prone restraint, then leaving the room.  They fail to monitor him adequately during his fatal asphyxiation.

Troy Geske, 41, was obese and suffering from a respiratory infection when he was forced face down on a table, then held down by four CMHIP staff while being strapped so tightly that he is unable to move, his own weight pressing down on his lungs.  During the take-down, one employee is seen pressing Geske’s face onto the table, and another has his elbow in Geske’s back, further impairing the man’s attempts to breathe at a time he was clearly panicked and in need of oxygen.

The reason for the restraint that ultimately led to this cruel and inhumane death?  Geske was refusing to take the psychiatric drug(s) staff were trying to administer to him.

The state had gone to court to try to block release of this shocking video.

Just as shocking is the fact that a Pueblo grand jury failed to return any criminal indictments against any of the staff involved.  (See our article, “You Be The Judge: Pueblo Grand Jury Returns Findings In Death of State Hospital Patient.”)

The Call7 Investigators report and video can be seen by clicking here.  WARNING:  This an extremely disturbing video.

If you or someone you know has been put in restraints at a psychiatric facility or has any experience with CMHIP, 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 below.

Killer in 2006 Bailey School Shooting Probably On Psych Drug

The five-year anniversary of the school shooting in Bailey, Colorado, that resulted in the tragic death of a student is a good time to reflect on the role psychiatric drugging may have played in that terrifying ordeal.  It’s also a good time to call again for routine testing for different types of psychiatric drugs in the systems of perpetrators of “unexplained” violent crimes.

An armed Duane Morrison went into Platte Canyon High School on September 27, 2006, to commit violence and then to commit suicide.  He took six schoolgirls hostage, ultimately killing 16-year-old Emily Keyes before taking his own life.

An antidepressant was found in Morrison’s parked Jeep following the lethal incident, according to a report in the Rocky Mountain News.

A spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported that the autopsy done on Morrison found no drugs in his system.  However, while a toxicology test was done to look for benzodiazepines and older class, tricyclic antidepressants, there were apparently no tests done to check for the more commonly prescribed, newer class antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs).

Studies Link Antidepressants To Violence

A growing number of studies show a link between newer class antidepressants and mania, psychosis, violence, and even homicide.  (Research studies, warnings from international regulatory authorities, and reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the harmful side effects of antidepressants and other psych drugs can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.)

The Bailey shooting occurred less than an hour’s drive from Columbine High School, where seven years earlier, shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire and killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before taking their own lives.  Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox at the time, and at least one public report exists that a friend of Klebold saw him taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft and urged him to come off them.  Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

With psych drugs linked to so many school shootings and other acts of violence, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights has long urged toxicology testing for different types of psychiatric drugs in the systems of perpetrators of these “inexplicable” violent crimes.  The public deserves the truth about why “unexplained” violence so often occurs.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor.

If you or someone you know has experienced violent impulses or other harmful side effects from taking an antidepressant or other psychiatric drug, 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 below.