Monday, December 17, 2012

School Shootings and the Psychiatric Medication Link




The recent news of yet another school shooting saddened us all. I was moved by President Obama's speech to the public that has appeared and been viewed many times on YouTube.

There's a lot of speculation surrounding Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the recent massacre in Connecticut. Stories are surfacing that he had some form of personality disorder. If true, then the likelihood is that Lanza may have been on psychiatric medication. Of course, this is just speculation. Lanza, according to his aunt, has since been described as a "quiet, nice kid," 

There is, however, a link to the majority of school shootings and psychiatric medication. The pro-pill brigade refuse to lay blame on the medications, opting instead for the 'illness' that caused these people to become hostile and murderous.

One thing is for sure, the link, however small you may think it is, has to be investigated.

SSRi Stories is a website that has collated many stories over the years. To gauge the link between psychiatric medication and school shootings one can see that there is a problem that needs some serious investigation.

SSRi Stories starts with an incident in 1988 where 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 - Nicholas Corwin - 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 was taking the antidepressant Anafranil [clomipramine] for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.





Four years later, in 1992, Stephen Leith, a school teacher shot and killed his superintendent at school. Leith, from prison, later wrote to the FDA explaining how Prozac had made him hostile. He writes, "My temper became shorter and anything could set me off. My anger burned so intensely it was scary. I had never experienced anything like it either before going on PROZAC or since I was taken off of it. I had a headache all the time and was confused much of the time. Something inside felt as if it wanted to crawl out of me, leaving a shell behind; my brain felt like it was sloshing in my skull. After nearly two years of decline, I snapped and killed the Superintendent at a grievance meeting pertaining to my bizarre behavior".

In the same year Calvin Charles Bell opened fire at the Southwest Houston School in Texas. Bell had apparently been "upset about his second-grader's progress report". Just like Leith and Dann, Bell was taking psychiatric medication.

1995 saw Toby R. Sincino, a 15 year old, shooting dead a teacher before killing himself. Toby's aunt, Carolyn McCreary, said, "he had been undergoing counseling with the Department of Mental Health and was taking medicine for emotional problems."

In 1998 Oregon teen, Kip Kinkel, murdered his parents and then went on a high school shooting rampage that left two students dead. It was found during his trial that Kinkel had, a year earlier, been taking Prozac but had stopped taking it just prior to the shootings. To stop taking a drug like Prozac abruptly can cause violence and aggression.

Of the many number of school shootings none have been more reported than Columbine where 15 died and 24 were injured. Eric Harris, one of the shooters, "was taking Zoloft before he switched to Luvox and that he reported 'feeling better' when discontinuing the Zoloft before starting the Luvox."

Jumping years to 2004 SSRi Stories reports on a student who shot a teacher in the leg whilst at school. The student, it later transpired, was taking the anti-depressant medication Paxil.

2005 saw yet another school shooting massacre, this time in Minnesota.  Jeffrey Weise first murdered his grandfather before going on a  a shooting spree where 9 people were killed and 7 were left wounded. Weise  had increased his dosage of Prozac a week prior to the shootings.

In 2007 Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide. Cho carried out the attack on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was later revealed that, "officials said prescription medications related to the treatment of psychological problems had been found among Mr. Cho’s effects."

In the same year, this time in Finland, 18-year-old student Pekka-Eric Auvinen entered Jokela school and, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, killed eight people and wounded one person before shooting himself in the head. Paragraph 11 of a newspaper report regarding this incident reveals, "Social situations made Auvinen anxious, and he would easily blush. In 2006 a doctor prescribed him an antidepressant."

One year later and Illinois became the subject of media attention when Steven Kazmierczak shot multiple people on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, United States, killing five and injuring twenty-one, before committing suicide. It was reported that Kazmierczak had been seeing a psychiatrist monthly but stopped taking Prozac a few weeks before the shooting.

In 2009, 17 year-old Tim Kretschmer went on a killing spree in Albertville, Germany resulting in 16 deaths, including the suicide of Kretschmer. The New Scotsman later reported that "Kretschmer had been suffering from depression, even attending a clinic and receiving medication for the condition."

There are many more isolated incidents to browse through on SSRi Stories. It makes harrowing reading yet it has been documented by some great work. It's creator, Rosie Meysenburg, along with the help of Sarah Bostock and Ann Blake Tracy, PhD, deserve all the plaudits for information I have attained above. I salute all three of you.

Psychiatric medication supposedly corrects a chemical imbalance - this has never in fact been proven. What psychiatric medication, however, does do is it creates some form of chemical imbalance. The stories above and the thousands of other stories on this website may just be testament to that.

I currently live with my partner Maria Bradshaw out here in New Zealand. Maria's son, Toran, killed himself after just 15 days on Prozac. The New Zealand government and Mylan, the manufacturer of the generic form of Prozac Toran was taking have both concluded that it was probable that Prozac induced his suicide.

Good friends of mine Leonie Fennell and Tony Donnolly lost their son, Shane Clancy. Shane, like many of the above, went berserk killing a young man before stabbing himself in the chest 19 times, resulting in his death. Three weeks prior Shane had been prescribed Celexa, known as Cipramil in Europe.

There have been many needless deaths that blinkered professionals refuse to accept has been a result of the medication.

Pharmaceutical companies in the US were forced to put black box warnings on SSRi type medications. These warnings highlighted the violence, homicide and suicide links.

People will blame the guns, the illness, the person before they look at the medication. Time will only tell if Adam Lanza was on psychiatric medication. Sadly, while government officials all sit around thumb twiddling and deciding what to do there will be another potential Adam Lanza walking out of a pharmacy having just been prescribed powerful, mind-altering medication.

We have to all stop and ask ourselves is this just a coincidence?