It's always difficult writing about murder, particularly as it may upset the family of the victim. Many families who seek justice through the courts would no doubt feel that there is simply no excuse for anyone who takes the life of another - self-defence may be a decent argument, pleading insanity may also be a first line of defence... but what about murder induced by prescription medication?
Well, a Manitoba judge has ruled that a Winnipeg teen was driven to commit an unprovoked murder because of the adverse affects of taking Prozac. The Judge, Robert Heinrich, came to this conclusion after listening to the testimony of Psychiatrist Peter Breggin MD.
This was the first criminal case in North America where a judge has specifically found that an antidepressant was the cause of a murder.
The case involved a teenage high school student with no prior history of violence who, while chatting in his home with two friends, abruptly stabbed one of them to death with a single wound to the chest. The boy had been taking Prozac for three months, during which time his behavior deteriorated. He became impulsive and unpredictable, and suicidal. He also began to talk at times as if fantasizing about violence. He seemed to become a different person to his distraught parents. Dr. Breggin testified that his primary care physician and his parents alerted the prescribing psychiatric clinic to the boy’s deteriorating condition, but the clinic continued the Prozac and then doubled it. Seventeen days after the increase in dosage, the teen committed the violence.
The news first broke in the Winnipeg Press on 17 September and can be viewed HERE
As a parent I would find it difficult to accept that a prescription drug had caused someone to murder my child but knowing what I know about this class of drugs [SSRi's] and having experienced homicidal thoughts myself whilst taking and withdrawing from Seroxat [Paxil] I am in no doubt that SSRi medication can cause feelings such as homicidal thoughts. It's well documented that antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts yet kind of sniffed at when homicide is mentioned as an adverse side effect.
A life is a life, whether it be your own or someone else.
Pharmaceutical companies and medicine regulators all over the world have been told of the link time and time again. They have chose to ignore, blaming the "illness" instead of the medication.
They will no doubt refute the findings of the Judge in this particular case, the same as they do with other claims of antidepressant related homicidal crimes.
I fully expect the bog-standard reply from an Eli Lilly spokesperson, it will no doubt be along the lines of, "Prozac has benefited millions of people worldwide."
They fail to tell you about those it has not benefited or those that have taken their own lives or the life of another whilst on it.
Recommended reading: - The Power to Harm: Mind, Medicine, and Murder on Trial
ORDER THE PAPERBACK 'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman US and CANADA HERE
OR UK FROM CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING
AUSTRALIAN ORDERS HERE