A former behavioral health specialist at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden has been permanently barred from practicing as a counselor or psychotherapist in Colorado after allegedly aiding the escape of a juvenile offender and engaging in a relationship with him in her home while he was a fugitive.
According to official documents, Kirsten Gonzalez was 26 years old at the time she signed a home pass for the 19-year-old male inmate in August 2017, allegedly knowing he was planning not to return to the correctional facility. Her supervisors at the time issued a letter of reprimand to her for providing the pass.
The escapee was finally apprehended in October 2018, when he was arrested in connection with a carjacking. He was convicted of robbery in June 2019 and sentenced to six years in prison. In July 2019 he was sentenced to three years for his escape from the youth detention center.
Gonzalez’s alleged further involvement with the fugitive was not discovered until July 2019, when she reportedly admitted in a recorded interview with Lookout Mountain staff that she had been involved in a relationship with him. She reportedly was escorted from the facility that day and resigned her position soon after.
According to official documents, a subsequent investigation by the Golden Police Department found that Gonzalez provided him with the home pass, had knowledge of the escape and provided him with shelter and comfort after his escape.
Gonzalez was arrested in August 2019 on felony charges of aiding escape and accessory to escape, and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. Her next appearance in Jefferson County Court is scheduled for May 26.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners received a complaint against her, alleging “an inappropriate relationship with a client,” which if true, would violate state law under the Mental Health Practice Act.
The Board ordered Gonzalez to undergo a “mental or physical evaluation” in September 2019, and when Gonzalez failed to comply, the Board in October 2019 suspended her license to practice until she submitted to the required evaluation.
Then, in a January 2020 agreement with the Colorado boards that regulate licensed professional counselors and registered psychotherapists, Gonzalez agreed to permanently give up her counselor’s license and psychotherapist’s registration and never to reapply for them, though she still denied the Board’s allegations.
If you believe a psychiatrist or other mental health worker has engaged in unprofessional conduct, we want to talk with you. You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.
Did that mental health treatment include psychiatric drugs, which have well-established links to violence? Is this yet another in the long list of senseless acts of violence linked to the use of mind-altering psychiatric drugs?
Psychiatric drugs were found disproportionately linked to acts of violence in a 2010 analysis of prescription drug side-effects data from the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system.
As a public health matter, the public deserves to know how many of the horrifying, senseless acts of violence that are becoming so commonplace are linked to the use of psychiatric drugs.
WARNING:Anyone wishing to discontinue or to change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening mental and physical withdrawal symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk with you. You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.
The same psychiatric drug linked to the Las Vegas shooting massacre, in which at least 58 people were killed and 489 wounded, is linked to two of the highest-profile shootings in U.S. history: the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and the 1966 University of Texas Tower shooting.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was prescribed diazepam, sold under the brand name Valium, in June and purchased the drug the same day it was prescribed, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
Diazepam was also prescribed for John Hinckley Jr. before his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Hinckley’s lawyer has said Hinckley’s mental condition deteriorated while taking the drug, and he believes the diazepam made Hinckley more dangerous.
In 1966, in the first mass shooting to rock the nation, Valium was prescribed to Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower shooter, who stabbed his wife and mother to death the night before climbing a tower on the UT campus and gunning down passers-by, killing 15 and wounding 31.
Diazepam is supposed to treat anxiety, but it can have the opposite effect. When it does, the side effects include increased anxiety, agitation, aggressiveness, delusions, nightmares, hallucinations, instability, rage, and psychosis, according to FDA-approved drug information.
Paddock’s girlfriend reportedly described behavior to investigators that indicates Paddock was suffering, possibly from such side effects. She said he would lie in bed, moaning and screaming, “Oh, my God,” according to a former FBI official who was briefed on the matter.
Diazepam belongs to the drug class benzodiazepine.
Peter Breggin, M.D., a psychiatrist who has been involved in criminal and civil cases related to a number of mass murders, writes: “For decades, it has been known that benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Klonopin can cause impulsivity, disinhibition, or loss of self-control resulting in violence.”
A link to violence was found in a 2010 analysis of side-effects data from the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system. Diazepam was identified as one of the 31 prescription drugs most linked to acts of violence reported to the FDA.
We do not know how the psychiatric drug(s) Paddock was prescribed may have caused or contributed to his monstrous killing spree and the self-violence of taking his own life.
But we do know that the Las Vegas massacre joins a long list of shootings committed by perpetrators with a history of psychiatric drug “treatment.”
Only by fully investigating mind-altering psychiatric drugs’ known links to violence and homicide can we hope to prevent such tragic bloodshed in the future.
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 and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk with you. You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.
A Denver psychiatrist has been disciplined by the state licensing board for unprofessional conduct with a patient who became sexually fixated on him during treatment.
Steve Sarche failed to terminate his doctor-patient relationship with a patient who developed erotomania during treatment that lasted from approximately November 2008 through July 2012, according to a Colorado Medical Board public document posted online.
Erotomania is defined as excessive sexual desire, or the delusional belief that one is the object of another person’s love or sexual desire.
The Medical Board also found that Sarche crossed professional boundaries by seeing the patient outside of his office, and by continuing to communicate with the patient after the professional relationship was finally terminated.
The Board found that the behavior was unprofessional conduct under state law and issued an order, effective February 27, under which Sarche agreed to a disciplinary letter from the Board, indefinite probation, and completing an ethics program and professional boundaries course.
Psychiatrists account for the largest percentage of doctors with boundary violations, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Boundary violations occur when doctors use their position of trust and authority for their own pleasure or benefit (or the benefit of others).
Similarly, a 2001 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that one in three physicians (34%) who were disciplined at least partly because of their inappropriate personal contact with patients were psychiatrists.
If a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health worker has acted improperly with you or someone you know, we want to talk with you. You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
A new report from researchers analyzing psychiatric drug use in the U.S. in 2013 has added to already existing concerns that older Americans are being overdrugged.
It also suggests that many Americans may be taking psychiatric drugs because they have become drug dependent, or are not discontinuing the drugs because of withdrawal symptoms.
One in six U.S. adults aged 18 to 85 reported taking an antidepressant, an antipsychotic, an anti-anxiety drug or sleeping pills in 2013, according to the study, published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
“I follow this area, so I knew the numbers would be high,” said Thomas J. Moore, a researcher at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the lead author of the analysis. “But in some populations, the rates are extraordinary.”
For example, among adults 60 to 85 years old, one in four was taking at least one psychiatric drug. That rate (25.1%) is more than 2½ times higher than the rate (9%) for adults 18 to 30 years old.
These 2013 statistics cover a period of time shortly after a 2011 investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which found that nursing homes were giving many elderly residents powerful antipsychotic drugs that put their lives at risk, just to sedate them and make them more manageable.
The new study also found that nearly 85% of those taking psychiatric drugs had been taking them long term, having filled three or more prescriptions in 2013 or having taken the drug since 2011. This long term use also concerned researchers.
“To discover that eight in 10 adults who have taken psychiatric drugs are using them long term raises safety concerns, given that there’s reason to believe some of this continued use is due to dependence and withdrawal symptoms,” said Moore.
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 a psychiatric drug, please report it to the FDA 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.
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.
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 1999.
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.
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.
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.