Mother Who Killed Her Kids Before Committing Suicide Was On Antidepressants

The Highlands Ranch mother who recently shot and killed her two young sons before turning the gun on herself was on antidepressants, making the incident yet another stunningly tragic act of violence linked to psychiatric drugs.

Jennifer Laber had two antidepressants, desmethylvenlafaxine and bupropion, in her system when she took the lives of her sons, ages 3 and 5, and then ended her own life on November 29, according to the autopsy report released by the Douglas County Coroner’s Office.

Desmethylvenlafaxine, marketed as Pristiq among other trade names, has known side effects that include depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.  Pristiq was ranked #10 on the list of the top 10 prescription drugs most linked to violence compiled by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in 2010, after analyzing reports of drug side effects filed with the FDA.

The other antidepressant Laber was taking, bupropion, is marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban among other trade names, and its known side effects include suicidal thoughts and attempts and thoughts of hurting or killing others.

Laber also was taking the anti-convulsant drug lamotrigine, marketed under the trade name Lamictal, which is sometimes prescribed for depression.  Known side effects of Lamictal include changes in mood, aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

The 38-year-old mother was prescribed all three of these drugs despite her long history of depression, which included suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, according to the autopsy report.

Laber is not the first Colorado mother on antidepressants who killed her children.

Stephanie Rochester, a 34-year old mother in Superior, was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft the week before she smothered her infant son in his crib in 2011.

A 38-year-old Lamar mother, Rebekah Amaya, was on antidepressants when she drowned her 6-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter in their bathtub in 2003.

To date, 160 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and 225 research studies from 31 countries have warned about antidepressants’ dangerous side effects, which include:

  • suicide, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal attempts
  • hostility, violence or aggression
  • self-harm
  • mania or psychosis
  • hallucinations or delusions
  • depression
  • homicide and homicidal thoughts

Half of the top 10 prescription drugs most linked to violence are antidepressants, according to the 2010 study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Research Showing Antidepressants Are Neither Safe Nor Effective

Numerous research studies point to antidepressants being harmful, ineffective, and an obstacle to recovery from depression.  Among the more recent studies:

  • Researchers in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that antidepressants can cause chronic and deepening depression in adults and suggest that discontinuing the drugs is the solution. (See important “Warning” below on discontinuing antidepressants.)
  • A 2012 report from the Associate Director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School, an expert who has studied the effects of placebos (pills with no drug in them, or “sugar pills”) for 36 years, has concluded that antidepressants are no more effective than sugar pills for most people – and the placebo has none of antidepressants’ dangerous side effects.
  • In a 2012 research paper published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, a team of researchers reviewing previous studies of the effects of antidepressants concluded that, by disrupting many different processes in the body that are regulated by serotonin, antidepressants are actually doing patients more harm than good.
  • In a 2015 study posted by the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, researchers who reviewed prior research on antidepressants concluded the unproven theory that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin cause depression appears to be wrong, and that the best available evidence appears to show there is more serotonin in depressed individuals, not less – which actually makes antidepressants an obstacle to recovery from depression.

An epidemic of mothers killing their children – and doing so by more and more violent methods – began in the early 1990’s, according to Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness.  “These [mothers] were often described as the very best and most caring mothers,” she notes.

What was driving these mothers to such violence?  “The most common denominator was the use of an antidepressant by the mother who had killed her children,” Tracy said.

Antidepressants Are The Most Common Denominator in Mass Murders

Beyond the tragic instances of mothers taking the lives their children, antidepressants are the most frequent common denominator in other “inexplicable” acts of violence and mass murder.

At least 35 school-related acts of violence in the U.S., including at least 14 school shootings, have been committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants.  (In other school shootings, information about the shooters’ psychiatric drug use was not released.)

In Colorado, shooters in the mass murders at Columbine High School and at an Aurora movie theater were driven by antidepressants.

Tracy points out that the same common denominator of antidepressants is found in other mass murders, such as the mass murders committed by the truck driver who plowed into a crowd and killed 84 people this past summer in France, the German Wings co-pilot who deliberately crashed his jet into the French Alps and killed 150 people in 2015, and the bus driver who crashed into the wall of a Swiss tunnel and killed 28 people in 2012.

Tracy, an expert who frequently testifies on the adverse effects of antidepressants, points out that antidepressant drugs are most similar in action to the hallucinogens LSD and PCP.

“Neither homicide nor suicide is an acceptable ‘side effect’ to what we are calling safe and effective ‘medications,’” she said.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue an antidepressant or any other 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 experienced violence or suicidal thoughts or actions from taking an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drugs, please report it to the FDA by clicking here.  And we want to talk to you about your experience.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Centennial Man With A History of Psych Drugs Allegedly Poisoned His Mother

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


In yet another bizarre act of violence with a link to psychiatric drugs, a man with a long history of mental-health treatment allegedly murdered his own mother.

Ari Liggett, 24, appearing in Arapahoe County District Court Friday, was arrested last October and accused of poisoning his mother, dismembering her body, and driving around the state with her remains in the backseat of his car.

Liggett’s father said Ari had been prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs in many combinations over a long period of time.

While it is not known what psychiatric drugs Ari Liggett was on or in withdrawal from, if any, at the time of the alleged murder, it is well-known that the adverse effects of psych drugs include aggression, mania, violence, homicidal thoughts, and suicide.  Psychiatric drugs are a prescription for violence.

Psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs are the common denominator of the growing number of shootings and other acts of violence, which are soaring right along with the soaring prescribing of psych drugs. 

CCHR International is asking the public to sign its petition calling on U.S. lawmakers to immediately open an investigation into the role of psychiatric drugs in school shootings and similar acts of violence, given that data supporting this link has to date been ignored by the U.S. government and mental health agencies.

Research studies and warnings from international regulatory authorities on the links between psych drugs and violence can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

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 experienced violence or other harmful side effects from a 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.

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.

 

 

 

The Real Lesson of Columbine: Psychiatric Drugs Induce Violence

Filmmaker Michael Moore Weighs In On Why Columbine Happened

On this 12-year anniversary of the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, let us not forget the real lesson of Columbine:  psychiatric drugs induce violence.

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.  At least one public report exists of a friend of Klebold who witnessed Klebold 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).  Among the international regulatory agencies issuing warnings on these antidepressants, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in 2004 warning that “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement] 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.”  (For further information on international studies and warnings about antidepressants, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.)

Luvox, Paxil and other antidepressants also made the top 10 list of violence-inducing prescription drugs in a report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which was based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (see “Study Reveals Top Ten Violence-Inducing Prescription Drugs [– Eight Are Psychiatric Drugs]”).

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare, is an expert consultant in cases like Columbine in which antidepressants are involved.

Dr. Tracy says 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. However, the change from Zoloft to Luvox is like switching from Pepsi to Coke, Dr. Tracy said.

A growing number of school shootings and other shooting rampages were committed by individuals under the influence of, or in withdrawal from, psychiatric drugs known to cause mania, psychosis, violence and even homicide. Consider this list of 13 massacres over the past decade or so, resulting in 54 dead and 105 wounded – and these are just the ones where the psychiatric drugs are known. In other 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 this is 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.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who directed the documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” has said this, following his extensive look at the Columbine tragedy:

“In Bowling for Columbine,” we never really came up with the answer in terms of why this happened. I think we did a good job of exposing [that] all the reasons that were given were a bunch of B.S. ….And none of it really made any sense. That’s why I believe there should be an investigation in terms of what…prescribed pharmaceuticals these kids were on….

“It just would be shocking…to the millions of parents who prescribe this for their kids if it was finally explained to them, if this is the case, that this perhaps occurred for no other reason other than because of these prescriptions. “Imagine what that would do, imagine how people would totally re-think things – grasping for every little straw they can to explain why something like Columbine happens, when in fact it may be nothing more than this. How else do you explain two otherwise decent kids, very smart, no history of violence to other kids in the school – why them, why did this happen? It’s an extremely legitimate question to pose, and it demands an investigation.” (See the video clip of Michael Moore here.)

Given the growing list of shooters who 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, and given the fact that a major study was just released confirming these drugs put people at greater risk of becoming violent, CCHR International asserts:  “Any recommendation for more mental health ‘treatment,’ which [inevitably] means putting more people and more kids on these [psychiatric] drugs, is not only negligent, but considering the possible repercussions, criminal.”

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, 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.

Another Death at Troubled State Psychiatric Institution in Pueblo

Facility received 1,100 patient complaints in 2008-09, reported 11 patient deaths in 2009

Another person has died while in the custody of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP), according to the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_15822489. The cause of death of 41-year-old Troy Allen Geske, who died several days ago, will not be known until an autopsy is complete.

His death is being closely followed because of recent revelations of other deaths at the psychiatric facility, including the suicide of Sergio Taylor.  An autopsy report indicated 23-year-old Taylor died of asphyxiation in September 2009 after complaining about conditions at the CMHIP.  He was found by law enforcement officers under blankets with a plastic bag over his head in a supposedly high-security area of the psychiatric facility.  About a month earlier, Taylor and 19 other patients had signed a petition that said, “The sense of hopelessness has set in….  History has shown here…that when patients are feeling bored, hopeless and warehoused, …assault and suicide attempts transpire.”

As a direct result of Taylor’s death and citing concerns that other patients could die, the Colorado Department of Health conducted an immediate investigation of CMHIP in October 2009, according to The Denver Channel (KMGH): http://www.thedenverchannel.com/print/24085289/detail.html. In its report, the health department found patients at the state hospital in Pueblo to be in “immediate jeopardy” and detailed serious errors by the institution’s staff.  The department conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility again this past May.

CALL7 investigators from The Denver Channel, who have been reporting on deaths at the state hospital for months, also uncovered the death of another patient of the CMHIP, whose death was never reported to the state health department by CMHIP.  Josh Garcia died after being overdrugged and neglected by staff at the psychiatric institution.  According to his family, Garcia was given a number of powerful psychiatric drugs and suffered serious adverse effects, including severe abdominal pain.  He complained to the staff but was ignored, according to his family.  By the time Garcia was taken to a hospital, it was too late.  His bowels burst, severe infection set in, and he was brain dead within hours.  His family sued and recently received a settlement from the state over his death.

The Colorado Legislative Audit Committee has also called for repeated investigations of the CMHIP in recent years, due to complaints it receives.  In a report released in December 2009, the Office of the State Auditor found numerous deficiencies in the operations of the CMHIP that compromised safety and proved costly to the state.  Among these deficiencies, the institution did not adequately record, investigate or resolve patient complaints.  For 25 percent of the 1,100 patient complaints relating to staff behavior and quality of treatment issues the facility recorded in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the database did not even contain the names of the 270 staff members who were the subject of the complaints.  The report also revealed that there were 11 patient deaths at the facility last year, the highest number in the three years covered in the report.  How many of those were suicides, besides the suicide of Sergio Taylor, is unknown.  Another audit is underway currently, again at the request of state legislators, to determine if there are other patients who have died of neglect at the state psychiatric hospital.

The CMHIP also has a history of failing to keep the public safe from the mentally ill housed there who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with serious crimes.  Nine such patients escaped in 2009, with patient escapes at a three-year high.