Colorado Congressmen Sponsor Bill To Review Suicides By Veterans On Psychiatric Drugs and Opioids

In an attempt to combat the epidemic of suicides by veterans on psychiatric drugs and opioids, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th district) has introduced legislation in Congress to review the link between prescription drugs and veterans’ suicides.  Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO 2nd district) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

An average of 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, the latest year for which data is available, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  Veterans, who made up less than 9 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18+) in 2014, accounted for 18 percent of the adult suicides.

The Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of 2017 (H.B. 2652), introduced May 25, calls for a thorough and independent review of all suicides, violent deaths, and accidental deaths during a five-year period among veterans who received treatment at a VA facility during the five years leading up to their deaths.  The review would be done by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine under an agreement with the VA.

The bill calls for a review of all drugs identified in the toxicology testing of the decedents, with a separate listing of those drugs that also carried a black-box warning (required by the FDA to emphasize the serious or life-threatening risk of the drug), were prescribed for an off-label use, were psychotropic (mind-altering), and/or carried warnings of the risk of suicidal thoughts.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has long advocated the investigation of the link between veterans’ suicides and psychiatric drugs.

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.

(To view “The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda,” the Citizens Commission on Human Rights documentary detailing how psychiatry uses the military as its testing ground, click here and then click on “Military Documentary.”)

This is despite the nearly 50 international drug-regulatory agency warnings that psychiatric drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.

Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army psychologist who has treated thousands of veterans suffering from what is commonly called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has said  that the surge of prescriptions since 2005 “coincides with the gradual increase, to this day, of suicides in the military.  I feel there’s a direct relationship.”

House Bill 2562 is the counterpart to a bill of the same name introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 992) on May 1 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and a companion bill to the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.B. 4640) introduced in the House by Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) in 2016.

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.

If you or a veteran or other member of the military 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.

Psychiatrist: Columbine and Aurora Theater Shooters Were Driven By Psychiatric Drugs

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A psychiatrist involved in the legal actions related to the shootings at Columbine High School and the Aurora Century theater has concluded that psychiatric drugs were the main contributing factor in both mass murders.

Peter Breggin, M.D., a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, has been involved in criminal and civil cases related to a number of mass murders.  He recently reported his conclusions concerning the role of psychiatric drugs in five mass murders, including the two worst in Colorado history.

We previously reported that Aurora theater shooter James Holmes experienced his first episode of mania after taking the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) prescribed by his psychiatrist, at which time he wrote in his journal that his hatred was unleashed.  Weeks later, Holmes went on the shooting rampage in which he killed 12 moviegoers and injured 70 others in July 2012.

We also previously reported that Eric Harris became obsessed with homicidal and suicidal thoughts within weeks of starting on the antidepressant Zoloft.  He was then switched to another violence-linked antidepressant, Luvox, which he was taking 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 in April 1998.

Zoloft and Luvox are in the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  To date, 26 warnings by international drug regulatory authorities and 34 studies have warned that the adverse effects of SSRIs include mania, aggression, suicide and violence.  Both Zoloft and Luvox are on a list of prescription drugs with the most incidents of violence reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study published by the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS One).

Without the SSRI antidepressant, Holmes “probably would not have committed mass murder”

In his recent report, Breggin makes this observation about the psychiatric treatment James Holmes received: “Given the [psychiatrist’s] concerns about [James Holmes’] psychotic thinking and his obviously violent tendencies, exposing Holmes to Zoloft was like pouring gasoline on a fire.”

Breggin says Holmes was on Zoloft for about 94 days before abruptly stopping around June 30, just 20 days before his deadly rampage.  But it was not the sudden withdrawal that brought on the violence, according to Breggin.

“An abrupt withdrawal might have worsened his condition, but the main contributing factor to the violence was his lengthy exposure to a drug that worsened his condition and drove him into psychosis,” he writes.  “He had a manic-like psychosis while taking the Zoloft and this would not have abated for some time after stopping the medication.”

Breggin’s conclusion: “I have no doubt that Zoloft contributed to Holmes’ escalating violence and that without it he probably would not have committed mass murder.”

Lengthy exposure to SSRI antidepressants brought on Eric Harris’ violence

Concerning Eric Harris, Breggin noted in his recent report that the Columbine shooter did not begin planning his violent assault until he had been on antidepressants for months.

Harris was switched to the SSRI antidepressant Luvox in April 1998, a year before the attack on Columbine High School, and the autopsy toxicology report confirmed it was still in his system at the time of the shooting.

Again, it was the lengthy exposure to Luvox that brought on Harris’ violence, according to Breggin, who noted that the writings in Harris’ journal “grew increasingly bizarre and violent over the period in which he continued to take increasing amounts of Luvox.”

Breggin states that psychiatrists not only failed to detect or prevent the violence perpetrated by Holmes and Harris, but “gave drugs that caused violence or amplified any pre-existing violent tendencies.”

Why are these drugs on the market?

Breggin points out that “careful scrutiny of the FDA testing for drug approval shows that antidepressants do not work any better than placebo, but that they do make many people very mentally disturbed and increase the rate of suicide and violence.”

“Why are these drugs on the market?” he asks.

Breggin concludes: “Curtailing or stopping the use of SSRIs and other antidepressants would vastly diminish an infinite number of aggressive and violent acts committed by individuals taking these drugs….”

If you or someone you know has experienced violent outcomes from taking SSRI antidepressants or any other psychiatric drug, please report it to the FDA by clicking here.  And we want to talk to you about your experience.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.