From Columbine to Virginia Tech, every time another headline-making mass murderer is discovered to have taken antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs, rumors and speculation abound regarding the possible connection between the medications and the violence.
Now, reports the July 2007 edition of WND’s elite monthly Whistleblower magazine, the time for speculation and guessing is over. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable, says Whistleblower’s groundbreaking investigative report: Mood-altering psychiatric drugs – taken every day by tens of millions of Americans, including millions of children – actually can push some users over the edge into mania, suicide and horrific violence.
To begin with, many of the most notorious mass killers in recent memory have been on, or just coming off, prescription mood-altering drugs. Remember these headline names?
- Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartbreaking crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in a bathtub. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her kids, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years.
Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.” But “rare” is defined by the FDA as occurring in less than one in 1,000 people. And since, according to an Associated Press report, about 19.2 million prescriptions for Effexor were filled in the U.S. alone in 2005, that means statistically almost 20,000 Americans could experience “homicidal ideation” – that is, murderous thoughts – as a result of taking just this one antidepressant drug.
- Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking the widely prescribed antidepressant Luvox when he and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 24 others before turning their guns on themselves.
Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox developed “mania” – a serious mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion – during short-term controlled clinical trials.
- Authorities investigating Cho Seung-Hui, who murdered 32 at Virginia Tech in April, reportedly found “prescription drugs” for the treatment of psychological problems among his possessions. Joseph Aust, Cho’s roommate, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Cho’s routine each morning had included taking prescription drugs.
So what kind of meds had Cho been taking? Strangely, his medical records have yet to be released to the public – authorities claiming it’s because an investigation is still ongoing, although critics suggest the purpose may be to protect the drug companies from liability claims.
Meanwhile, the list of killers who happened to be taking psychiatric medications is long and chilling. Remember these headline names?
- Patrick Purdy’s 1989 schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, Calif., was the catalyst for the legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
- Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.
- In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.
- In Paducah, Ky., in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
- In 2005, 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.
- In another famous case, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine. Eli Lilly, which makes Prozac, later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.
All very interesting, you may be thinking, but what do the drug companies say in their defense?
One of the most widely prescribed antidepressants today is Paxil, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
Paxil’s known “adverse drug reactions” – according to the drug’s own 2001 FDA-approved label – include “mania,” “insomnia,” “anxiety,” “agitation,” “confusion,” “amnesia,” “depression,” “paranoid reaction,” “psychosis,” “hostility,” “delirium,” “hallucinations,” “abnormal thinking,” “depersonalization” and “lack of emotion,” among others.
With a rap sheet like that, no wonder pharmaceutical companies are nervous about liability lawsuits over the “rare adverse effects” of their medications. In 1998, for example, GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay $6.4 million to Donald Schnell’s surviving family members after the 60-year-old man, just two days after taking Paxil, murdered his wife, daughter and granddaughter in a fit of rage.
But reporting the truth about the relationship between psychiatric medications and mass murderers is just the beginning. “MANIA” also reveals clear and compelling evidence that psychiatric drugs hurt children physically – causing shrinkage of their brains, damage to their hearts and other significant effects.
Perhaps even more disconcerting, “MANIA” exposes the federal government’s bizarre preoccupation with screening all American school kids to see if they’re mentally ill – a process that often leads directly to a prescription for mood-altering drugs for the child who didn’t answer the questions properly.
“The problem,” said David Kupelian, managing editor of WND and Whistleblower, “is that many Americans don’t exactly trust the federal government to determine what constitutes ‘mental health.’” Incredibly, as this issue reveals, there is even a government effort to proclaim an infant-and-toddler mental health crisis!
With the numbers of people taking prescription psychiatric medications in the tens of millions and growing every day, this issue will touch virtually every reader in a profound way.
“I think this is one of the most important and frankly mind-boggling editions of Whistleblower we’ve ever produced,” said Kupelian. “The information in it could very well be life-changing – or even life-saving.”
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