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Neighbor says Lanza was on meds, links between SSRIs and violence

By Ralph Lopez     Dec 19, 2012 in Crime
As the world continues to search for answers to the senseless violence and police say they are leaving no stone unturned, reports surface on the links between certain psychiatric medications and homicidal violence.
The Washington Post has reported that a neighbor of Adam Lanza, the suspected shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, said that Lanza was on some form of medication. Police have issued search warrants to determine if Lanza was being treated with any drugs prescribed for mental illness.
Police have said that so far a search of the Lanza home has turned up no such medications. The shootings take place as warnings grow louder within the medical profession of dangerous and possibly violent side effects of a class of psychiatric drugs known as SSRIs, "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors." One study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with violent behavior.
Lanza is reported to have been diagnosed with Aspergers, a form of autism. One of the drugs prescribed for autism is Prozac. Time Magazine reported in January of 2011 in an article entitled "Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence":
Prozac is 10.9 times more likely to be linked with violence in comparison with other medications.
Citing the Physicians Desk Reference, Dr. Gary G. Kohls, MD, wrote recently in Evergreene Digest, in an article entitled "Batman Shooter and His Psyche Drugs":
The Physicians' Desk Reference lists the following common adverse reactions (side effects) to SSRI antidepressants (among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects). None of these adverse reactions is listed as Rare: Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania, Pyromania, Dipsomania, Nymphomania,) Hypomania (e.g., poor judgment, over spending, impulsivity, etc.,) Abnormal Thinking, Personality Disorder, Hallucinations...
Other "adverse reactions" to SSRIs listed by Dr. Kohls are Agitation, Amnesia, and Psychosis.
Dr. Kohls is referring in the title of the article to James Holmes, the "Batman Shooter" of the infamous day of July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Kohls points the reader to the website, where he says readers will:
...find a collection of 4,800+ damning, mostly criminal news stories about the behavioral and psychic toxicity of antidepressants. These are documented examples of psychotropic drug-induced violence that have made it into the media...or were part of (only three!) FDA hearings (1991, 2004 or 2006) where public testimony about the lethality of FDA-approved psych drugs was allowed (and essentially ignored by the FDA panel). The thousands of examples reported on that website represent just the tip of what surely is an enormous iceberg, since even the FDA estimates that as many as 99% of adverse events from any given drug is never reported to that agency.
Dr. Kohls is the author of an April 2012 article "Many Psychoactive Drugs are Strongly Associated with Violence (including aggression, suicidal violence and homicidal violence.)" In the article he summarizes the findings of the study by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, co-authored by Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen, MD, author of the seminal “Prozac Backlash and The Antidepressant Solution.”
Dr. Kohls goes on to give a list of 40 cases of violent crimes or suicides committed by mostly young people whose psychiatric history revealed the presence of psychiatric drugs. The list which Dr. Kohls presents includes:
Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
Jarred Viktor, age 15, stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.
Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded.
Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) - school shooting in El Cajon, California
Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said ".... the damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)
Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.
Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, 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 amounts of Xanax in his system.
Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School - then he committed suicide.
Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.
Dr. Kohls writes in "Batman Shooter and His Psyche Drugs":
It needs to be emphasized that most of the developed world’s drug regulatory agencies, including the FDA, have not tested psychotropic drugs for safety or efficacy on human brains under the age of 18 (either short term or long term), and therefore those agencies have not approved their use for that group (with rare exceptions). It also needs to be mentioned that no combination of two or more drugs of any class (again with rare exceptions) have even been tested for safety of efficacy in the rat labs. Therefore, we physicians, if we prescribe these untested drugs, (especially in combination with other drugs) to that underage group (that is at a stage of immature brain development) we are doing so “off label”, thus exposing ourselves to medico-legal risks.
Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen, MD, writes in “Prozac Backlash” and The Antidepressant Solution":
Doctors and scientists are just beginning to understand the connections between the serotonin and dopamine systems in the brain that are thought to be responsible for the drugs' severe effects. But with earlier classes of drugs, the brain damage that can result is slowly progressive and often silent, and only manifests itself once it is severe.
Dr. Kohls condemns the financial incentives and structure of the "Big Pharma" industry, which pays doctors what some refer to as "kickbacks" for prescribing their drugs, criticized as a clear conflict of interest. Additionally Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus and former chairman of the department of psychiatry at Duke University, has criticized the psychiatric profession for recklessly expanding the number and scope of psychiatric diagnoses to the point where the "net was cast too wide and captured many "patients" who might have been far better off never entering the mental health system."
In a 2010 Los Angeles Times opinion piece "It's not too late to save 'normal': Psychiatry's latest DSM goes too far in creating new mental disorders," Dr. Frances says:
As chairman of the task force that created the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which came out in 1994, I learned from painful experience how small changes in the definition of mental disorders can create huge, unintended consequences.
Our panel tried hard to be conservative and careful but inadvertently contributed to three false "epidemics" -- attention deficit disorder, autism and childhood bipolar disorder.
The op-ed by the chairman of the DSM task force was followed by a study by Medco's Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center which found a general increase in the use of psychiatric medications among children and adults and in the U.S. since 2000. As reported by Shirley Wang of the Wall Street Journal:
The medicating of Americans for mental illnesses continued to grow over the past decade, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychiatric drug such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications...
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is considered the "Bible" of mental illnesses, used by the profession as a the central reference for the diagnosis, treatment, and prescription.
[Author's update: 60 Minutes has interviewed friends of Adam Lanza's mother, Mark and Louise Tambascio. Ms. Tambascio also suggested that Adam Lanza was on psychiatric medication. She told CBS reporter Scott Pelley “I know [Adam Lanza] was on medication and everything, but she homeschooled him at home cause he couldn’t deal with the school classes sometimes,” The comment came after Mark Tambascio told Pelley that “friends told us that [Asperger's syndrome] did dominate the Lanzas’ lives.”]
"Psychiatry goes insane: Every human emotion now classified as a mental disorder in new psychiatric manual DSM-5," by Mike Adams, Editor,
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