Anybody taking SSRI’s can end up in the same predicament as James Holmes, particularly if the SSRI is making you agitated, aggressive, or act ‘out of character’. The only difference between those who act out aggressive SSRI reactions, and those that don’t, is a hair’s breadth and bad luck…
I know, because I have been there…
See Dr David Healy’s compelling new post on RXisk.org
Editorial: This evening a Panorama program aired on the issue of antidepressants and violence. The driving forces behind this were Andy Bell and Shelley Jofre, prompted in the first instance by Katinka Newman. The story is to my mind compelling. There have been considerable efforts to cloud the picture – see Honey I Shrunk the Shrinks on DH.
Prescription for Murder was not scaremongering about antidepressants. It said nothing new about antidepressants. The new message is about the legal system. If something like this happens to you, you will end up in the same quandary James Holmes found himself in – stuck with a legal system which has no idea how to defend you.
A MIND POISONED AGAINST ITSELF
In July 2012 James Holmes entered a movie theater in Aurora Colorado showing a premiere of Dark Knight Rises, and opening fire killed twelve and left 70 injured. From May through to July 2015, he stood trial. His lawyers were in an invidious position. It was certain from the start he would be found guilty – of manslaughter at the very least. Their role boiled down to playing the mental illness card as mitigation to avoid a death sentence. They nearly lost.
They nearly lost for a good reason. Holmes did not have a serious mental illness. Despite defence experts torturing every little personality quirk back to his pre-teen years, nothing could change the fact that before walking into a University clinic in March 2012 with social anxiety problems, Holmes was very average with no mental health problems.
The doctor seeing Holmes in the University clinic viewed him as being socially isolated, a loner, with anxiety and a certain misanthropy. She prescribed a benzodiazepine, and a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibiting (SSRI) antidepressant, sertraline.
A week later, he complained of memory problems in class, and the benzodiazepine was swapped for a beta-blocker. His memory problems continued and the beta-blocker dose was reduced. Beta-blockers and benzodiazepines can cause memory problems – as can sertraline. Both can also act as antidotes to the anxiety and agitation sertraline can cause.
Meanwhile Holmes sertraline was increased from 50mg to 100mg to 150mg per day.
He began flirting in a way that was out of character for him.
He began spending wildly, where he had been frugal.
He began visiting dating sites, where he had never done so before.
He signed up for motorcycle classes without a reason to do so.
He terminated a friendship in a way he would never have done before.
He began talking for the first time of violence.
One friend said: “He began to “loosen up a bit” on medication and “became more talkative to random people.”
In a notebook, Holmes began keeping, he made clear he had lost his sense of fear and developed a “dysphoric mania.” This is a good description of the emotional instability that SSRIs can cause – a state in which anyone affected can rapidly swing from feeling energized and reckless, to depressed and suicidal.
SSRIs cause sexual dysfunction. Holmes had it. The higher the dose, the worse it became. Sexual numbing goes hand in hand with emotional numbing and this too was present and became more marked as the sertraline increased. His feelings were blunted.
Prior to sertraline, Holmes had thoughts that it might be no harm to “nuke” the human race. Thoughts not uncommon in introverts, and the socially anxious.
He told his doctors about these ideas, and it is clear that they didn’t regard this as mental illness.
But on sertraline, he began to think about specific homicidal acts. These new thoughts were entirely different to his former vague hostility. They were focused and specific, and “realistic.”
This is exactly what SSRIs can do to anyone – even normal volunteers. People who have been suicidal in the past, and who become suicidal on SSRIs, can distinguish the new ideas from their usual ideas. Some can hold both sets of thoughts in their mind at the same time.
SSRIs can also disrupt our motivational hierarchies (our values and priorities) leading to alcoholism, and disinhibited behaviors not usual for us.
Holmes did not just have thoughts that differed from those he had before, he had a different motivational link to his thoughts. There was now a possibility he might act on these thoughts in a way he would never have done before.
He tried to tell his doctors what was going on.
Their response was that he was responsible for his own thoughts and actions.
I face people threatening to kill themselves and others and react in exactly this way every week of the year – nine times out of ten this is the correct reaction and reduces the risk of violence to others. It is not the correct reaction when treatment with an SSRI goes wrong.
Holmes attempted to communicate the changes he was experiencing in messages to classmates but no-one knew him well enough to pick up.
There are difficulties in conveying alien thoughts of the kind that can be triggered by an SSRI.
Few of us think a drug could do something like this making it difficult to make a link.
At first when thoughts like these happen no-one knows how to manage them.
With problems like this we often communicate obliquely. We think we have hinted enough for others to understand what is going on, only to find they don’t.
There are recognized difficulties in communicating the adverse effects of a drug to the doctor who has put you on the drug hoping to help you. When things go wrong, the doctor can seem like the only way out of the problem and no-one wants to antagonize their doctor for this reason. Push too hard and the doctor gets nasty.
Holmes dropped out of College at the end of June 2012. After 3 months on sertraline, he stopped abruptly from a dose of 150mg unaware of the risks of dependence and withdrawal.
Over the next three weeks, he became confused and emotionally labile. The emotional blunting and depersonalization that started on sertraline continued as it can do for months after stopping treatment.
On Friday July 20 2012, he entered the movie theater, and opened fire.
He was arrested and hospitalized. Four months later, he became disturbed in hospital and was prescribed a variety of tranquilizers.
At the end of December, he was put on another SSRI for the first time since the end of June and 5 days afterwards attempted to kill himself.
Every expert who later interviewed him, interviewed a man on a cocktail of meds. He spoke reasonably but was blunted. There was no evidence of psychosis when I saw him.
This suicidal response on re-exposure to an SSRI makes Holmes’ case for a not guilty verdict very strong. In fact he had a prior bad response to a serotonin reuptake inhibiting antihistamine and unaware of her son’s treatment his mother had a very disturbing reaction to an SSRI after the event. But his attorneys felt the uncertainties were too great to risk playing the medication card even for mitigation.
Going with a mental illness defense, he escaped execution only because of the last minute qualms of one juror and ended up with 12 life sentences and 3300 years.
Why would his lawyers have found it impossible to grasp the treatment nettle? After all we banned some closely related drugs during the 1960s on the basis that they unquestionably caused violence, and criminality.
In part, this 1960s ban has meant the courts have not had to grapple with the issue of when we should agree that a person under the influence of a prescription drug is guilty and when not. Simply being on a proscribed drug is a crime.
Staking the amphetamines and LSD through the heart, we effectively declared that drugs available on prescription only cannot cause problems – if there are problems these can only stem from the mental illness for which the drug has been used.
Another problem arose 170 years ago when Daniel M’Naghten killed Edward Drummond, believing him to be the Prime Minister Robert Peel. This homicide triggered one of the most celebrated legal cases ever. M’Naghten was mad. The Court struggled with the question of his guilt. As a result the insanity defence to this day is discussed in terms of the M’Naghten Rules. We decided that individuals who are insane are almost always responsible for their actions. This seems right and tallies with the experience of those of us with mental disorders, even serious mental illness, who know we remain largely responsible for our actions.
But the drama in the M’Naghten case did not lie in the Courts agonising over whether to acquit someone who was mad. It lay the Court deciding to convict a madman. For over a century before that, faced with people who were delirious – raving mad – Courts had no trouble finding them Not Guilty.
Among the causes of delirium, or frenzy as it was called then, were high fevers and poisoning. So as Lord Chief Justice Matthew Hale put it in 1676 if you were slipped a drug by your enemies or poisoned by the incompetence of your physician and, under the influence of treatment, committed a crime you were Not Guilty.
The novelty in M’Naghten’s case was that he was mad but not frenzied. The Courts had never had to tackle this kind of problem before.
Every treatment with a drug or combination of drugs risks producing a frenzy. When the confusion is gross both medical and legal systems feel able to blame the drug, such as when a person goes berserk within 48 hours of having the drug as Don Schell did on Paxil in Wyoming in 1998, killing his wife, daughter and grand-daughter. The Wyoming jury in a civil case blamed the drug, not Schell. It might have been a different matter though if Schell was there in Court and it was a matter of letting him go free.
The problems arise if the delirium is masked and there is an extended period of time during which the person appears to function. Drugs from Zoloft to LSD can introduce thoughts of violence or suicide that the individual would never in the ordinary course of events have. Some of us can distinguish between drug induced thoughts and those linked to an illness but most of us at least first time round fail to make the distinction.
In some cases, believing these thoughts to be part of our illness we will increase the dose of treatment – or our doctors will do it for us as Holmes’ doctor did. Exactly the wrong thing to do if the treatment is causing the problem.
Some drugs simply produce a delirium but SSRI antidepressants also produce a partial chemical lobotomy. If the drug suits us and our doctor gets the dose right, there is just the right amount of disconnection from our feelings, especially our anxiety, so as to enable us to get on with life. Too great a disconnection and we are left able to contemplate thoughts of violence with an equanimity that others don’t possess. Over time some of us accommodate even to this – we know what’s wrong, make a rational adjustment and cognitively rather than emotionally inhibit behaviors harmful to others.
On an SSRI, some of us skirt the edges of delirium as shown in the fact these are the drugs most commonly linked to reports to regulators of horrific nightmares and sleepwalking. Sleep-walking is an absolute defence against murder.
Walking a Legal Tightrope
Because we banned all our problem drugs in the 1960s, neither medical experts nor the Courts have had to work out what the right outcomes are in scenarios of treatment induced dysphoric mania, emotional lobotomy and delirium.
There have been some cases where even the prosecution agrees the drug caused it and people have walked free but these cases don’t assist lawyers or experts in getting to grips with the underlying issues in the way a case like Holmes might have done.
But a lawyer brave enough to think about taking a case has to find an expert but most doctors figure it’s the kiss of death for a career to get involved in this way. Most doctors also come from a background of applying the law as it relates to mental illness to the situation and a mental illness defense doesn’t apply in cases of drug induced delirium. Few medical experts realise it requires a different expertise to marshal a drug related argument.
If she does find an expert, a lawyer can find herself with a set of pharmaceutical company new best friends keen to explain how treatment cannot be part of the picture. We don’t know if this played a role in the Holmes case.
If she finds an expert, the lawyer then needs to shepherd a jury along a narrow ledge. Questioning a prescription drug in a case like this questions the entire regulatory system on which most of us believe our safety depends. For many, better a James Holmes gets executed than we lose confidence in those responsible for looking after us.
After a horror like Aurora, families and the jury need someone to blame. Holmes was put on Zoloft by a doctor, to whom he clearly hinted on several occasions things were getting worse. Informing him about a possible link might have left him able to adjust. Should the doctor be in the dock? In 2013, French psychiatrist Danièle Canarelli was found guilty of manslaughter, when a patient of hers killed a third party. She had failed to recognize the risks.
In 1980 Dr Erling Oksenholt in Seattle put a patient on an antibiotic, Myambutol. She went blind and sued him for negligence. He settled. But then sued the drug company on the basis that it had withheld information that Myambutol could cause blindness from him which meant that he could not treat his patient safely. He won.
There is no doubt that Pfizer and Lilly and GSK are withholding more information about the risks of violence on SSRIs than was ever withheld from Dr Oksenholt about Myambutol.
There was compelling data from the Zoloft trials in adolescents that it could cause violence. These and other SSRI trials led to a Black Box warning on antidepressants, aimed particularly for those up to the age of 25 – Holmes was 24. The evidence shows that while these drugs trigger suicidality in some, they increase the risk of violence in others who like Holmes are more anxious and introverted than depressed.
But none of the experts who might be called upon to argue a drug or a mental illness defense have ever had access to the data underpinning company claims that the drugs work well and are safe. What does anyone do about the fact that in the Holmes case, every statement made by experts about sertraline or other SSRIs can only be based on ghost-written articles? Not even FDA has accessed the data.
Whose Mind was it?
The key thing for the Courts in deciding whether a James Holmes was guilty or not and what should be done about him hinges on what can be said about his intentions. Whether ill or not, on a drug or not, did his mind command his actions?
But if the question of whose mind commanded the action is key, then the first call has to be made by a James Holmes or you. Faced with the horror of what happened, especially if faced with evidence of some control, the person who has to make the call might, like Holmes, prefer death. It is all too easy to imagine being torn apart if he walked out of Court a free man.
It’s only if the jury in James Holmes’ head or your head gets to a point of wondering whose mind it was when these events happened that a proper case can be mounted.
The people best placed to shed light on the question of guilt are those of us who have experienced just what can happen when treatment goes wrong and can speak to what these drugs can do to our thinking and to the emotional ties in which our thoughts are bound.
The person in the dock has to be brave enough to take the risk of playing a card that has for all these reasons never been successfully played before.
They have to make a case to the jury that will require a jury to return a verdict of guilty against all of us. We are guilty for letting the bulk of the academic literature be ghost-written, for letting companies commandeer the data that would be needed to show their drugs can cause this problem and guilty for letting an immune-deficiency disorder like Sense about Science and related bodies colonize the public space with close to fascist denunciations of anyone who might raise questions.
This all matters because if it can happen to James Holmes it can happen to you or someone you love.
Friday 26 May 2017 14.00 BST Last modified on Saturday 27 May 2017 00.10 BST
My daughter Renske met her boyfriend Samarie on the train. She was heading from the Netherlands to Switzerland; he was an asylum seeker from Benin. They got chatting and exchanged phone numbers. That was how it started. They had a good relationship. He was attentive and they were very respectful towards each other. They spent holidays with me and my wife Lieuwkje.
Just before midnight on 13 April 2011, I saw on the news that a girl had been killed in Baflo, where Renske lived. About an hour later, they showed a picture of the scene, and I recognised her flat. I called the police and said, “I think my daughter is the victim of the incident in Baflo.” At 5am, two officers came to the house and we learned what had happened.
Samarie had picked up a fire extinguisher in the hall and beaten Renske to death. When an officer tried to arrest him, he grabbed his pistol and shot him dead. Samarie was then shot by police five times and taken to hospital. I couldn’t believe it; in the two years that we’d known Samarie, I had never seen him lose his temper. It was so far removed from the man we knew that we couldn’t make sense of it. It was immediately clear to my wife and I that he needed help, and we wanted to try to be there for him; to understand what had happened.
Initially, I thought it was connected to Samarie’s asylum claim. The day before the killing, his final appeal had been rejected and he was told he was being deported. Five weeks later I went to his flat and found a strip of pills. I knew Samarie was taking antidepressants, but I didn’t know what sort. The label said paroxetine, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and as a psychologist I knew there are risks associated with it. From talking to Samarie’s psychiatrist, I discovered that he was reducing his dose. I read that in a small number of cases there have been severe side-effects to SSRIs, including outbursts of extreme violence, usually when the dose is being changed.
After a month or two, we contacted his lawyer, but we couldn’t see Samarie because he was still in the prison hospital. We wrote him a letter and he replied saying how sorry he was. In September we visited him for the first time. We wanted to see for ourselves that he was genuinely remorseful. Samarie came into the room in tears, and he and my wife Lieuwkje hugged each other. I shook his hand. We didn’t talk a lot. He was still limping from his injuries.
From then on, we visited once a month. At first, we talked about what had happened with Renske. He said he’d been in a state of anxiety all day and had tried to get help. They had an argument and she tried to stop him walking out; that was when he hit her. When I asked if he had an explanation, he said: “No, you know how much I love her.” The visits allowed us to bear the grief together; it was our way of coping.
The idea of writing a book together came to me in 2014 after Samarie’s trial. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for double murder. I thought, the circumstances of my daughter’s death are so extraordinary that I need to find a way to put it in words. Renske was a caring, modest young woman. She and Samarie had dreamed of living together one day. As well as losing her, we had lost them as a couple.
Samarie’s sentence was reduced on appeal to five and a half years. Instead of premeditated murder, he was found to have diminished responsibility for the killing of Renske and partial responsibility for the death of the police officer; the appeal court ruled that he had been in a psychotic state. He has now completed his sentence, and been transferred to psychiatric care.
We continue to visit and support Samarie. It’s not about whether we forgive him. What happened can never be erased, for him or for us. I can understand people thinking it’s unbelievable that we can even look each other in the eye, but this is our way of dealing with it. I’ve never thought it was the wrong decision.
What a brave and courageous man he is for writing this.
My heart goes out to him, and his family.
Anyone on Seroxat/Paxil (or other SSRI’s) can commit violent acts.
It’s Russian Roulette when you take an SSRI, you can become hostile, de-personalized, can suffer drastic personality changes, and even be driven to self harm, suicide, and violence.
I know because I’ve been there.
Seroxat/Paxil is an extremely dangerous drug. Some of the side effects I experienced on Seroxat included very vivid violent dreams which were extremely disturbing. I became hostile, and aggressive too, and often dreams could merge with reality.
Kudos to David for speaking out about this extremely difficult subject.
Editorial Note: The post is by David Carmichael, who has coined the terms “Prescripticide” for a death that is caused by an adverse reaction to a prescription drug.
In October and November 2015, Julie Wood published a 5-part RxISK.org series of blog posts about SSRI antidepressants and violence. It was based on the biomedical model developed to explain how someone can experience antidepressant-induced akathisia, emotional blunting and delirium-psychosis that can lead to violence, including suicide and homicide – explained in Part 3 of Julie Wood’s series.
What I experienced in 2004 is well aligned with this biomedical model, and I believe it may be very important for people to know my story. So I am writing this blog post, in detail, for the first time, about my own Paxil-induced homicide.
In late November, I talked about Ms. Wood’s posts with American filmmaker and news correspondent Charles Tudor in Virginia Beach. I was meeting with Charles and Anelia Sutton, the mother of a young woman named Lorita Aiken who attempted to take the life of her 2 children and herself in November 2013 in a state of delirium-psychosis 15 days after starting the SSRI Celexa while she was already on Wellbutrin, Ativan and Ambien. In June 2015, Lorita was found not guilty of the attempted murders by reason of insanity and sent to Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia.
When I was meeting with Charles and Anelia, I told Charles that adverse reactions to SSRIs are causing people to commit suicide and homicide, and, in fact, adverse reactions to prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in Canada after cancer, heart disease and stroke. He asked me to come up with a word, just a single word, to explain what is happening. The word I came up with was “prescripticide.”
On July 31, 2004, in Canada, my 11-year-old son Ian died from prescripticide. Over a 3-week period, I changed completely from being a loving, caring and nurturing father of 2 beautiful children to taking the life of my beloved son Ian, in a calm, organized state of delirium-psychosis. I was charged with first degree murder. It all started with what I now describe as my nervous breakdown in early July.
At the beginning of July 2004, I was sleep deprived and exhausted from contract work, particularly from my job as director of a Toronto summer day camp. With no real warning, I started shaking in the shower. Soon after, I broke down in a nervous system collapse. I had little energy, couldn’t eat and was having serious difficulty concentrating. I had a full prescription of Paxil from a similar experience a year before, diagnosed by my family doctor as depression, which I had stopped taking a few months earlier.
So on July 8, I put myself back on 40mg a day. That was the beginning of the end of Ian’s life, and to the end of our family as we knew it.
Almost immediately after starting to take Paxil again, I became agitated and irritated. I remember having to get up and walk because I couldn’t sit still without my legs trembling. I started feeling anxious and incredibly negative thoughts began to race through my mind – which I didn’t have before I started Paxil. I didn’t realize I was experiencing akathisia, a side-effect of Paxil. I thought my depression was getting worse.
I put a mattress on the floor of my home office in the basement. I could hardly get out of bed to shower in the morning and was pacing the floor in the middle of the night because of the anxiety. The pacing did nothing to calm me down. In fact, my anxiety, agitation and level of irritation grew worse.
Although I was able to stay away from the summer camp for a few days, I decided to go to work again the next week. By the middle of the week, I was thinking seriously about committing suicide while I was watching children play in the gym.
The suicidal thoughts became intense. I went from thinking about it to looking for a place where I could commit suicide. There were climbing ropes behind the curtains in the gym. I thought it might be possible for me to hang myself from a rope without anyone knowing.
I knew there was something wrong with my thinking, but I assumed that it was because my depression was getting worse. On July 16, my 46th birthday, I increased my daily dosage of Paxil from 40 to 60mg to try and help myself. I knew my family doctor had prescribed that dose to other patients, and the 60 mg dose was listed as the maximum recommended dosage in the Guide to Drugs in Canada, published by the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
I believed that taking the maximum dosage would help me recover more quickly, just like taking 2 aspirin instead of 1 to get rid of a headache.
My akathisia got worse over the July 17-18 weekend, but by Monday things seemed to be settling down. I was feeling a little less shaky and more energetic, but tragically, my suicidal thoughts, which got more intense after increasing the dosage of Paxil to 60mg, now seemed perfectly logical to me.
When I got out of bed on Monday morning, I decided that this was going to be the day that I would end my life. I put my plan together in the shower. I was going to leave home, drive to a family friend’s house where I thought the garage would be empty, drive my car into the garage, attach a garden hose to the exhaust pipe of my car with duct tape, put the other end of the hose through my car window and seal it with duct tape, and then sit inside my running car until it was over.
I wasn’t anxious while I was planning my suicide. I was looking forward to the outcome as relief. My distorted mind was thinking that my family would be better off without me. I knew that it would surprise my wife Elizabeth, daughter Gillian and Ian but, unbelievably, I was not worried about them or their future – something completely and incredibly uncharacteristic of me.
I put a hose and duct tape inside my car, drove to the house and waited on the road, but our family friend’s vehicle didn’t leave the garage. My plan was ruined and I couldn’t think of another place where I could discreetly run a hose into my car because if I was going to commit suicide, I didn’t want to fail. So I went home, put the hose and duct tape away and went back into my basement office, which had become my bedroom.
For the next few days, I was able to get into a routine. I would get up, shower, get dressed and go to the day camp I was directing for part of the day. My behavior was probably seen by the camp staff as returning to normal. I was able to function again, physically. But my mind was getting even more distorted and I stopped caring and worrying about things in my life. I became unemotional.
By the end of the week, my mind was filled with distorted thoughts that made sense to me. I hardly needed to sleep so my mind kept racing. I had talked with Ian a few times during the week and decided that instead of just me committing suicide, I should take Ian’s life as well because of the incredibly difficult time which I perceived he was going through.
Of course, this wasn’t true. Several months earlier, Ian was diagnosed with mild epilepsy and he had a minor learning disability. Both of these things were of little concern to me until I started becoming delirious and psychotic on Paxil. Ian was a late developing child but was very successful at things that he enjoyed, particularly riding his BMX bike. But in my delusional mind, I believed Ian was in living hell because he used to get teased every so often by other children and I thought he had permanent brain damage because of his epilepsy. So I planned my own death and my son’s.
My plan was that at our family cottage on the weekend of July 24-25, I was going to take Ian out in our small boat, tie a rope around both of us with the anchor attached and throw it overboard, drowning us. Gillian was at a residential summer camp so all I had to do was wait for Elizabeth to go for a run. On Sunday morning, while Elizabeth was running, I asked Ian to put on his bathing suit so we could go for a boat ride and I went to get my bathing suit on. It was not in my bag. I had forgotten to pack it. Instead of putting on a pair of shorts, my mind darkened and I began to think that my missing bathing suit was a message to me from God that I was not supposed to die, that only Ian was supposed to die.
My delusions became even more intense over the next few days and at the same time my outward behavior was returning to normal. I was calm and began to be able to communicate effectively with people again. But in my mind I was now on a mission from God to put Ian in a better place, heaven.
When I returned to camp on Monday, I could hardly think about anything other than Ian. He was a camper this week so I watched his behavior closely. I saw him playing rough with a few other boys in the gym that morning so I removed him from the camp and we spent Monday afternoon together.
We talked for almost 2 hours in our van in a mall parking lot, mostly about how he was feeling about himself. Even though I now look back at several of his comments as those of a normal fun loving child, I became obsessed with a few sad things that he shared with me. By Monday evening, I was even more convinced in my delusional mind that Ian would be better off in heaven because he was in living hell, that he had permanent brain damage, he was going to kill Gillian, he was going to cause Elizabeth to have a nervous breakdown, and he was going to hurt other children. I started building my plan to end Ian’s life.
I decided that the best way for me to take Ian’s life was to poison him, so I calmly started planning a trip to a popular indoor BMX park close to London, Ontario for Saturday. I thought that I could poison him and he would die in his sleep. So on July 27, I purchased a box of over-the-counter sleeping medication from a local drug store, went home and poured the liquid from each capsule into a vial.
On July 28, I dropped into camp but spent most of the day at home. I researched, again calmly, how much time I would be spending in prison for first degree murder and what prison life was going to be like. I wasn’t worried. I knew, in my wildly distorted thinking, that taking Ian’s life was the right thing to do and that God didn’t want me to die with him.
When Ian got home from camp on July 30, I told him about our trip to the indoor BMX park on Saturday and asked him to pack his bag. He was very excited. We were going to the same hotel in London that we had stayed at before. When our bags were packed and in the van, Elizabeth said goodbye. I told Ian to tell his mom that he loved her. He did, and Elizabeth said it back. And then I calmly drove off.
My behavior had returned to normal. I was calm and Elizabeth would have had no reason to be concerned without knowing what I was thinking and planning, which I didn’t share with her. In my delusional state, I was convinced that I was saving Ian from living hell, saving Gillian and Elizabeth and saving other children. I thought I was protecting them and as a loving father who did the right thing, I would sacrifice my life by spending the next 25 years in prison.
We checked into the hotel around 8pm. After we settled in, we ordered room service. Since I thought of this as Ian’s Last Supper, in a biblical sense, we had his favorite foods. After dinner, I ordered a movie that he really liked. Just after 10pm, I poured the vial of sleeping medication into a glass of orange juice, along with Ian’s epilepsy medication, and he drank it.
The sleeping medication didn’t put Ian to sleep. He started to visually hallucinate. After the movie was over, we watched television and Ian kept talking about seeing things. We were both wide awake and bouncing from bed to bed, laughing and talking about his hallucinations until close to 3am when, in a calm, psychotic state, I strangled my only son.
I moved Ian’s lifeless body to the center of the bed, put his hands across his chest, kissed him on the lips and told him that “I love you, I’m really going to miss you, but you’re in a better place now.”
I turned on the television in the sitting area and watched it with no emotion for almost 6 hours. After showering, packing up our bags and putting them into the van, I calmly called 911 at 9am and told the dispatcher I was reporting a homicide. I was arrested and charged with first degree murder.
It wasn’t until 2 weeks later, when I was on suicide watch in jail and had been off Paxil since my arrest that I began to clearly understand what had happened – the reality of my son’s loss of life. As I became less psychotic and no longer emotionally blunted, I cried uncontrollably, unable to stop for three days, knowing that Ian was gone forever and our family was destroyed. The tears and pain are still with me, and will be forever.
I don’t know a lot about this trial, but I do know that Seroxat (Paxil) can make people aggressive, impulsive, violent etc because I experienced these side effects myself. SSRI drugs like Paxil have long been linked to murder, suicides and murder/suicides for good reason. The side effects can cause these reactions.
Luerkens, 33, is charged with first-degree murder. According to testimony Tuesday, Luerkens attacked Donald, 29, as she was leaving the Marion Hy-Vee with her 7-year-old son. Luerkens stabbed her multiple times, numerous witnesses testified Tuesday. According to the autopsy, she was stabbed 32 times in the neck, chest, stomach and back. After killing her, he stabbed and injured himself.
The defense rested and closing arguments will be 11 a.m. Friday in Linn County District Court. The jury will start deliberations in the afternoon. Follow Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey’s live coverage from the courtroom.
Rossell said the disorder is usually treated with anti-depressants and drinking alcohol, and abusing illegal drugs like marijuana and methamphetamine isn’t recommended. Luerkens had been prescribed Paxil and was self-medicating with the alcohol and drugs, which had been reported by his family to Rossell.
There can be side effects with some anti-depressants such as agitation and suicidal ideation, Rossell said. Research has shown Paxil causes adverse side effects in some. Discontinuing Paxil has caused violent behavior in some individuals, according to the research.
Dave Grinde painted a different picture of Luerkens as a broken man, who suffers from a severe illness. A psychologist, Luis Rossell, said Luerkens had a major depressive disorder and even the state’s psychologist, which the prosecutor didn’t have testify, agreed with Rossell. Luerkens’ family also testified about how they saw him change and his “mental state declined.”
The family said he was abusing Paxil, an anti-depressant, he was taking before April 21, along with drugs and alcohol, which contributed to his behavior. His mother testified that she saw a drastic change in his behavior when he was living with them. He was depressed and withdrawn.
Despite engagement with the mental health services and an improvement in his health in the weeks before last September’s tragic murder-suicide, Jonathan stopped taking his medication just days before he stabbed his twin brothers to death, and took his own life.
It sounds to me that Jonathan O’ Driscoll was in a severe withdrawal from either the anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, or both?
What psychiatric meds was he prescribed? What dose(s) was he on, and for how long? and furthermore what was the last (apparently new/experimental) drug which the psychiatrist (Robert Burns) prescribed? and why did he think it was a good idea to keep increasing the dose?
Jonathan’s story is very typical of how vulnerable young people become ensnared in the psychiatric system. It’s a clear illustration of how the psychiatric meds (the psychiatrists and GPs prescribe), produce worsening side effects; which leads to an increase in anxiety and other mental health symptoms. The person’s condition deteriorates, another drug is then prescribed, more (mis)diagnoses follow- irrational behavior and out of character events start happening etc. Eventually- the individual tries to stop the meds suddenly and goes into severe withdrawal psychosis: mania, akathisia and de-personalization soon follows. Basically the drugs turn the individual into a toxic timebomb.
Then they lose their grip on reality, become aggressive, hostile etc. In some tragic cases-like Jonathans- they commit murder, suicide, or murder and suicide together, and often they murder those closest to them- wives, daughters, brothers, parents etc. These cases all have the hallmark of psychiatric drug induced crimes. They are well documented now, and there are many many examples.
Most of these psychiatric meds can induce homicidal and suicidal reactions and- in withdrawal- the side effects can become particularly intense- so why do psychiatrists not warn people? (the drug companies even admit these homicidal/suicidal side effects in their PIL’s yet psychiatry continually blames the person suffering from side effects -this implicates their ‘illness- and not the drug!).
Jonathan was a victim of the Irish psychiatric system, that much is abundantly clear. He also was a psychiatric drug casualty. Broken and failed by the system which is supposed to heal and help people like him.
Depression doesn’t cause murder-suicides, but prescribing vulnerable people lethal psychiatric drugs and not warning them of the side effects and withdrawals certainly does!
Withdrawal from anti-psychotics and anti-depressants can push people over the edge..
They make you edgy and aggressive when you first go on them, even worse after a few months/years, and then the withdrawal literally snaps your sanity into smithereens..
I know because I’ve been there…
It’s interesting that the coroner decided to err on the side of caution, and record an ‘open verdict’ in this case, I wonder was this because of the involvement of psychiatric drugs (and the frightening and dangerous withdrawal syndromes which they produce?).
“Like many young men he stopped taking the medication and became unwell again prior to his death,” consultant psychologist Dr Robert Burns said.
I also find it interesting that the last psychiatrist (Dr Robert Burns) seemed to think it was a good idea to try a new drug on Jonathan, and also to increase the dose, what was this new drug? why did he try it on Jonathan? Jonathan was prescribed many medications, it seems, prior to his death for a few years, so Robert Burns saying that ‘like many young men, he stopped taking the medication and became unwell again prior to his death’- is a simplistic way of saying it was nothing to do with the meds.
Many psychiatrists get away with human experimentation because the mentally ill are the most vulnerable demographic in society, and the psychiatrist’s view is perceived as the logical, rational side of the equation, however it’s quite often the psychiatric ‘treatment’ (or mistreatment) which is the most dangerous factor in these cases. The late Irish doctor- Dr Michael Corry- was a leading figure who challenged the psychiatric establishment regularly, and Dr Terry Lynch and Dr David Healy continue to do so, however most psychiatrists refuse to engage with the notion that these drugs can- and do- cause a multitude of problems. It’s much easier, and much more convenient, to just blame the ‘mental’ patient and exonerate the drug- that way psychiatry takes no blame, and the tools of their trade- the psychiatric drugs- remain blameless also.
The website antidepaware has been documenting medication induced violence, murder and suicides, in England for some years now, it’s well worth checking out, as is SSRI stories (an American website collecting similar SSRI antidepressant related events in the media).
SSRI Stories is a collection of over 6,000 stories that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including violence.
Leone Fennell has been campaigning on these issues on her blog for years now, check it out here:
Jonathan O’Driscoll (21) typed the words ‘murder in Charleville’ into an online search prior to stabbing his nine-year-old twin brothers to death.
Examinations of his computer and mobile phone gave gardaí an indication of his “state of mind”, Det Supt Sean Healy told an inquest into the three deaths in Mallow.
He also conducted another online search with the words ‘Irish Law, stabbing with a knife’, the inquest heard.
A third search of the ‘science of suicide by hanging’ was found on his laptop, Det Supt Healy said.
The inquest heard how Jonathan O’Driscoll, who was fostered by Helen and Thomas O’Driscoll when he was three days old, doted on his younger brothers.
He grew up in a “loving and caring home”, was officially adopted at 15 and was healthy and happy until he was involved in a road traffic incident in 2012.
After this incident, his behaviour changed and he grew quiet and depressed. He was badly affected by the break-up of a relationship and his mother described him as heartbroken.
“He was quiet in himself, he was heartbroken after her,” Mrs O’Driscoll told the inquest.
Jonathon O’Driscoll grew curious over his birth family and began to believe his adopted mother Helen had information she was not sharing with him.
“He pushed me against the wall. It was out of character but I wasn’t going to take it,” she said.
She said she obtained a barring order against her son, but it was lifted after 10 days because he was “crying and ringing to apologise every day”.
The inquest heard how doctors became concerned for Jonathan O’Driscoll’s mental health and he was prescribed anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication.
However, a postmortem revealed no evidence of medication in his system.
Consultant psychologist Dr Robert Burns said the medication had helped. “But like many young men he stopped taking the medication and became unwell again prior to his death,” Dr Burns said.
Dr Molloy, who had prescribed anti-depressants, referred Jonathan in April 2013 to the North Cork Mental Health Services, but he failed to engage with its home-based crisis team, failed to attend a July appointment, and continued intermittent visits to his GP’s practice.
However, a locum GP was so concerned about Jonathan’s mental health during a visit in February 2014 that he referred him for an urgent psychiatric assessment.
Jonathan complained of paranoia, he claimed his home was bugged, and he said he was avoiding certain chippers in case his food was poisoned.
During a series of visits to the mental health services, it was decided that Jonathan did not require admission and he was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs in April 2014, and was referred by a GP again in May for another urgent psychiatric assessment.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Bobby Burns met Jonathan in July 2014 and said he felt his patient was displaying signs of early onset schizophrenia or psychosis. He prescribed a new drug, with the dose due to increase incrementally over several months, and Jonathan’s mental health improved over the coming months.
But at yesterday’s inquest, it was confirmed that Jonathan had stopped taking his medication in the days before the murder-suicide.
What the hell were these idiot psychiatrists thinking?
“…A man with a history of mental illness killed his landlord and consumed part of his body two days after he came off his medication under the direction of a psychiatrist in Dublin..”
The Central Criminal Court has been told the medical professionals treating Saverio Bellante (36) in his native Italy believed he should remain on the medication for life.
After the dose of his anti-psychotic medication Olanzapine had been gradually lowered when he came to live in Ireland, the medication was stopped on the advice of a consultant psychiatrist on January 9th, 2014.
“…I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.”
-Peter Gøtzsche (Internationally respected Danish Professor of the renowned Cochrane research group in Denmark).
Is it no wonder that this guy had a complete psychotic break-down? Did the psychiatrist not realize that Zyprexa (Olanzapine) is one of THE most horrific psychiatric medications out there? I’d go as far as to say it’s just as bad as Seroxat.
In fact, it might even be worse.
I worked with a woman who was prescribed it and I witnessed her literally change into a shell of herself before my very eyes over a period of a few months. She turned into a zombie, her tongue would dart out of her mouth like a lizard, she looked like she was startled all the time, her face would contort, and spasm when she tried to do facial expressions, and her eyes were like pins, she was hallucinating half the time, half asleep the other half of the time and basically out of her head all the time on that disgusting drug. Long term psychiatric patients get worse from this type of psychiatric treatment because the drugs turn them into zombies, I saw it with my own eyes, and I was on Seroxat too, so I understand these drugs. I know the damage they cause. They are lethal! Absolutely lethal!
Robert Whitaker has written extensively about psychiatric meds literally killing patients every goddam day, when is the mainstream media going to wake up to this fact!
“The jury were told that two days before the murder he had attended an out-patient appointment at a Dublin clinic where the anti-psychotic medication Olanzapine he had been on was stopped. The psychiatrist for the prosecution Dr Stephen Monks said Mr Ballante had told him he had attended the clinic since arriving in Ireland in 2011. He attended every two months. Mr Bellante said he had been told that he would have to remain on medication for the rest of his life by doctors in Italy. However, medical records show that between January 2012 and January 2014 Mr Ballante’s anti-psychotic medication was gradually reduced in 2.5 milogramme steps up until 9 January 2014 when it was reduced to zero. Mr Ballante was also on a second medication: a mood stabiliser, sodium valproate. Following blood tests after the murder this was found to be lower than the therapeutic measure generally given. However, Dr Conor O’Neill, psychiatrist for the defence, told the court that one or more doses had perhaps been missed and this medication isn’t the one that keeps psychotic symptoms in check.
Secondly, what the hell was he being prescribed an Epilepsy drug for on top of his Zyprexa withdrawal? Sodium Valporate doesn’t stabilize moods (like it says in the article). The brand name is Epilim, the chemical name is Sodium Valporate- I know this because my younger brother was prescribed it when he was a child. My mother had the good sense to get him off it because he was having fits of rage on it, and mood swings. He was like a demon, and we were all actually terrified of him even though he was just a small child! He would go nuts on EpliIm and it made his fits worse! Now he’s ultra healthy, eats only a very specific healthy diet of whole foods and he goes to the gym most days, and guess what? he doesn’t need meds anymore and has no Epileptic fits anymore.
It seems to me that psychiatry is hell bent on using people for their sick agenda of human experimentation. We’re all just lab rats to them, and the result is- murders, suicides, murder-suicides, and life long psychiatric patients on drug merry go rounds, who never ever get better. Why? Because these drugs are toxic poisons that’s why!
The cure for all ‘psychiatric illnesses’ is not psychiatry, psychiatry compounds the traumas through psychotropic drugs and creates customers for life, and in many cases those customers have a short life, because these meds are killers.
All so called ‘psychiatric disorders’ come from trauma, and you cannot medicate trauma away with mind bending, health damaging, psychotropics! If you could then we’d all be on them and we would be getting better wouldn’t we? but guess what? Nobody ever gets better on long term psychiatric drug treatment. In what other medical specialty would you find that people actually get worse the longer their treatment goes on!
Only in psychiatry do you find that, because psychiatry is a fraud.
Some notes on the horrific Zyprexa drug…
Like Seroxat- Zyprexa causes similar symptoms- and like Seroxat- the withdrawal syndrome is horrendous, cruel and inhuman…
Zyprexa Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities
Below is a list of symtpoms that you may experience when coming off of Zyprexa. Keep in mind that not everyone will experience every single symptom listed below. You may experience a few of the symptoms or many and the severity of withdrawal will be influenced by individual factors.
Anxiety: Many people report very extreme anxiety when they quit Zyprexa. This is a drug that many people find calming and when taken away, a person can feel extremely anxious. Do your best to practice relaxation exercises and recognize that the anxiety is part of withdrawal.
Appetite changes: While on Zyprexa, many people experience significant increases in appetite. A person may feel as if they are never full and/or are transforming into Hulk as a result of the food that they eat. When coming off of Zyprexa, most people experience decreased appetite.
Bipolar symptoms: Some people may experience a reemergence of Bipolar symptoms (e.g. mania) when they quit taking this drug. If you have Bipolar disorder and are on this medication, proceed slowly and with caution when withdrawing.
Concentration problems: If you find it very difficult to concentrate on tasks such as reading, writing, and/or work, you are not alone. Many people have major difficulties with focusing when they are going through withdrawal. This symptom tends to improve over time as your brain adapts to functioning without the drug.
Confusion: When you experience a bunch of uncomfortable physical symptoms accompanied by foggy thinking, concentration problems, and emotional disturbances, this can result in a state of confusion. If you feel confused often, just know that this will improve over time.
Crying spells: The depression that people experience when quitting an antipsychotic like Zyprexa can be very tough to deal with. This may result in a person crying excessively because they feel so down in the dumps.
Depersonalization: Do you feel unlike your old “normal” self? This is because your neurotransmitters are out of balance and have changed since you took the medication. It will likely take your brain some time to reset its homeostatic functioning.
Depression: Many people report extreme depression when they stop taking this drug. The depression is thought to be a result of lowered levels of dopamine and serotonin. You should eventually experience some lift in mood after some time off of the medication.
Diarrhea: Some people experience diarrhea when they discontinue this medication. This isn’t an extremely common symptom, but one that has been reported. If this is the case, you may want to consider some over the counter Imodium.
Dizziness: Among the most common withdrawal symptoms from any psychiatric medication is that of dizziness. It is common for people to feel very dizzy, especially if the tapering was done too quickly. Dizziness will eventually lessen over time as the brain functioning readjusts.
Fatigue: Most people report excessive tiredness and general fatigue when they come off of Zyprexa. You may have a difficult time performing everyday tasks because your energy level is so low. Just know that your energy level will eventually return as time passes.
Hallucinations: There is evidence pointing to the fact that some people experience psychotic symptoms as a result of withdrawal. This is thought to be a result of changes in dopamine receptor functioning and dopamine levels.
Headaches: Some people experience splitting severe headaches when they come off of this medication. Having headaches accompanied by dizziness can be a very difficult one-two punch. Just know that these should subside after your body restores proper functioning.
Insomnia: This drug tends to calm people down and in many cases makes them sleepy. When coming off of it, the opposite can be true. Some people report such intense anxiety and an inability to fall asleep. Insomnia may persist for quite some time after your last dose. It should improve as you make some lifestyle changes and your neurotransmitter levels change.
Irritability: Do you notice yourself becoming increasingly irritable? If you feel more irritable than normal and little things set you off, it may be a result of withdrawal. Neurotransmitter levels are in fluctuation, which is thought to lead to people feeling irritable.
Memory problems: It is very common to experience poor memory functioning upon drug discontinuation. It isn’t well known as to why these drugs can lead to memory problems. With that said, most people do experience improvements in memory with time off of the drug.
Mood swings: Some people experience pretty severe mood swings upon discontinuation. One minute you may feel as though the withdrawal is over, the next you may feel swamped in a state of deep depression. For this I’m not referring to “bipolar” mood swings, rather just unexpected changes in mood.
Muscle cramps: Those who have taken this medication over the long term may experience muscle cramps and/or weakness during the withdrawal process.
Nausea: Many people report intense nausea during the time in which they discontinue their medication. The nausea can be severe to the point that a person also vomits. In general, the nausea after the last dose shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks.
Panic attacks: Some individuals report experiencing heightened anxiety to the point of panic attacks. In other words, a person experiences such high arousal that everyday activities lead to intense feelings of panic.
Psychosis: It has been documented that withdrawal from antipsychotics can cause psychosis. It is not very common to experience this upon withdrawal, but it does happen. Obviously this may signify the reemergence of schizophrenia, but in those without schizophrenia, it can be part of withdrawal.
Restlessness: If you feel especially restless for no apparent reason, it is likely due to the withdrawal that you are experiencing. The changes in neurotransmitters, elevated level of arousal, and anxious thinking can make a person restless.
Suicidal thinking: It is extremely common to feel suicidal during your withdrawal. You may experience suicidal thoughts that seem as if they will never subside. Over time, these should gradually subside. If you feel suicidal and cannot cope with these thoughts, please seek professional help.
Sweating: Many people sweat intensely when they withdraw from psychiatric drugs – this antipsychotic is no exception. If you notice that you are sweating profusely throughout the day and wake up sweating in the middle of the night, just know it’s part of the process.
Vomiting: Feel flu-like to the point that you are nauseous and keep vomiting? Some people have reported intense vomiting spells during the first week or two when they initially quit this medication. To reduce this symptom, be sure to wean off of Zyprexa as gradually as possible
Weight loss: Taking this drug is known to increase appetite and slow metabolism, which leads to many people gaining weight. Zyprexa is one of the worst drugs for trying to keep weight off – most people eat way too much food on this drug in particular. When you stop taking it and stay off of it for awhile, you should also lose the weight that you gained.
More than half a million people age 65 years or older die every year in the West from psychiatric drug use, and the worst part is that these death pills aren’t even effective at treating either mental illness or depression. Researchers from Denmark’s Nordic Cochrane Centre found that the benefits of psych drugs are minimal at best, and that most people who currently use them would be better off just ditching them entirely.
Published in The BMJ (British Medical Journal), an eye-opening paper by Professor Peter Gotzsche reveals that most antidepressants and dementia drugs are generally useless when it comes to providing tangible relief. The drugs are also vastly overprescribed, he says, and they come with such a high risk of adverse effects that it isn’t even worth it for the average person to try them.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year from the normal and prescribed use of psych meds like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are linked to causing extreme depression and provoking users towards suicide or even homicide. Add to this the fact that most psych meds have never been shown effective, matching or not even reaching placebo in terms of their efficacy, and there’s no legitimate reason for their continued use.
The other thing I wanted to blog about before I take a rest is GSK’s latest corruption scandal in Romania which is just hitting the headlines.
Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which was fined a record 3 billion yuan ($483 million) for corruption in China last year and is examining possible staff misconduct elsewhere, faces new allegations of bribery in Romania.
GSK confirmed it was looking into the latest claims of improper payments set out in a whistleblower’s email sent to its top management on Monday. A copy of the email was seen by Reuters.
The company is already probing alleged bribery in Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
The latest allegations say GSK paid Romanian doctors hundreds, and in one cases thousands, of euros between 2009 and 2012 for prescribing its medicines, including prostate treatments Avodart and Duodart and Parkinson’s disease drug Requip.
According to the email, the doctors were notionally paid for speaking engagements, but in three out of six cases, including the most highly paid one, they did not give any speech. The other three medics gave only one speech each, despite receiving multiple payments.
GSK also provided doctors with many international trips and made payments to them under the guise of participation in advisory boards, the email said.
The company said it would look “very thoroughly” into the claims, which cover a period before its pledge in December 2013 to stop paying doctors to speak on its behalf or to attend international conferences.
“We do receive letters of this sort from time to time. We welcome and support the opportunity for people to speak up if they have any concerns,” GSK said in a statement. “Sometimes we do find things and we act on it; sometimes our findings do not substantiate the matters being raised.”
The China scandal, which involved alleged bribes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, hit GSK’s sales in the country, although Chief Executive Andrew Witty, reporting quarterly results on Wednesday, said its Chinese business was stabilizing.
The sender of the Romania email said its contents would be passed on to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are investigating GSK for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
An SEC program provides cash incentives for whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice.
Now why is the media not mentioning the fact that GSK are operating under a so called corporate integrity agreement since 2012; a pact which was originally initiated by the US department of Justice because of GSK’s record breaking 3 Billion dollar fine for fraud (you can read the hundreds of pages of fraud and corruption in the Dept of Justice complaint here).
And you can read through the 122 page corporate integrity agreement here.
I haven’t read though all of it, but I’d be pretty damn sure than the gist of the agreement was that GSK would agree that they would stop being a corrupt, sociopathic, fraudulent company, and start to behave themselves. I reckon that’s reasonable considering they just don’t seem to be able to police themselves, and they also have a knack of destroying patient’s lives with dodgy drugs. It’s only right that they should be forced to comply isn’t it?
So did they behave? No of course not, because GSK are systemically corrupt as all these multiple corruption scandals over several years clearly illustrate.
Corruption IS their business model!
They’ve been doing it for decades, and these fines are just the cost of doing business!
They don’t give a rats ass about patient health, fines, corporate integrity, ethics, or anything else..
They care only for profit!
I expect more GSK scandals over the coming months (they are never ending), but I am taking a break for while. I just wish that more people would speak out, and maybe some journalists would grow some balls and take this rat infested corrupt cartel to task and not leave it to us bloggers to do all the hard work all the time!
So, did GSK break its corporate integrity agreement?
The following articles are worth reading in regards to a possible answer to that question:
Can business strategy in itself be a red-flag of corporate corruption?
In one word, yes, and I discuss how in a recent guest blog (May 19, 2014) in Ethic Intelligence’s “Experts Corner.”
I ask, if strategy is pulled back at the C-Suite, does it expose an executive message of strict anti-bribery compliance, while the economics of the sales forecast and corresponding personal incentive packages speak to a “win over everything else” mentality?
A gap in the debateAs I shared in the Q and A, I am concerned about the lack of discussion with respect to the corruption risk that front line international sales and marketing personnel face. Specifically, I draw attention to how corporate business strategy can directly contradict, through sales growth plans and incentive compensation packages, the messages of anti-bribery compliance. Such a situation leaves the sales force to decide “what does management really want, compliance or sales?” While in past writings I have discussed “compliance as bonus prevention” in the context of incentive compensation, in the Q and A with Ethic Intelligence, I discuss the role of business strategy as a stand alone red-flag, of which compensation is a sub-set.
I am not aloneWhile I might have thought I was alone in expressing this concern, I recently came across an article by Professor Mak Yuen Teen, published in the Singapore Business Times on May 21, 2014, but also on his blog Governance for Stakeholders, titled “Plausible deniability and graft by MNCs.” By way of background, Professor Mak is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the NUS Business School, Singapore. For his full (and impressive) CV, see here.
In his article, Professor Mak first calls attention to the recent reports of GSK bribery in China, and GSK’s public reaction as calling the conduct “outside of our processes and controls…” (The Guardian, July 22, 2013). However, Professor Mak goes onto demonstrate the reporting relationship between Mark Reilly, former head of GSK China (and subsequently charged by Chinese officials), and his supervisor, Abbas Hussain, President of Europe, Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific, who is part of the “corporate executive team of GSK.”
As Professor Mak states, with this relationship “direct involvement in the scandal has moved up the chain of command of GSK.” However, notwithstanding the discussion and relevancy of the “rouge employee” GSK script, there is a far more interesting element to Professor Mak’s writing as relating to corporate strategy.
“Did you wake up from a 10-year nap?”Professor Mak references an on-line comment to the GSK allegations as above, and asks “whether he (GSK CEO Andrew Witty) and the board ought to have at least asked some probing questions when GSK China was reporting strong sales growth over the years proceeding the scandal.”And that is where compliance gets separated from the reality of international sales growth. Clearly, GSK executives were aware of two basic facts:
There was a robust anti-bribery program in place at GSK, as referenced in public statements. Professor Mak makes reference to a 29 page anti-corruption document, and Tom Fox discusses the GSK Corporate Integrity Agreement (here).
There was high sales growth in China.
Therefore, was it in fact what I have called a “zero-sum” game of compliance and sales? Could those two factors have co-existed? In other words, and I don’t think is unique at all to GSK, “was it a case of don’t ask, don’t tell,” at the C-Suite, as Professor Mak remarks. When the regional sales numbers were reported into management was it all “high fives,” or did someone ask “hey, how did you get there?” I would ask the same of those who read this, who have been in those rooms, when the sales figures are shared. What is the message?
Professor Mak focuses on complex multinational corporations (MNCs), where corporate executives are separated from the front line of sales by a deep and wide organizational chart. He asks, “should only executives such as Reilly take the fall while senior management and the board escape accountability…” and “can they really claim that they did not know what was going on…?” I completely agree with Professor Mak, in that it is a long way from the C-Suite, where compliance programs commence, to the front line of international sales and marketing; however, does that distance justify the escape from accountability in not challenging the “reporting of strong growth in markets well known for corruption.”
Professor Mak thinks not, and makes a compelling case, which is reflective of my own view. I repeat his conclusion in its entirety and in bold (just to make sure you get the message):
“It is time for senior management and boards of MNCs to stop hiding behind business conduct codes and anti-corruption and compliance programs, and a “plausible deniability” defense, and address more fundamental questions about the benefits and costs of doing business in highly corrupt countries, their business practices, and how they reward, retain and promote their employees.” From my perspective, it would appear that the “default” for compliance and sales growth in low integrity countries, remains “zero-sum.” Maybe it is time that GSK listen to its own Chief Medical Officer James Shannon whom I referenced in a prior post, when he stated (in an interview with Reuters) that “sometimes you have to step backwards to move forward..” and that it is time for “an entire rethink about our business practice.”
GlaxoSmithKline, a drug company based in the E.U., agreed in 2011 to pay $3 billion to settle the U.S. Government’s civil and criminal investigations into the company’s Medicaid pricing practices and sales practices, including illegal marketing of Avandia, the diabetes drug linked to coronary problems. The settlement amount surpassed the previous record of $2.3 billion paid by Pfizer in 2009. Even so, it is doubtful that $3 billion proffered enough of a punch to motivate either Glaxo’s board or CEO to do what would be necessary to extirpate a corporate culture perhaps too comfortable with cutting corners.
Although $3 billion is a lot of money, the settlement removed “legal uncertainty”—something particularly important to investors. Les Funtleyder, a health-care strategist at a brokerage firm, explains. “I know $3 billion sounds like an astronomical number, but when you live in the world of worst-case scenarios, like investors do, $3 billion is a welcome relief. At least you have certainty.” Accordingly, the drug company’s stock rose 2.96% on the day of the announcement (November 3, 2011) to $44.55 (near its 52-week high) amid a broader market advance of about 2 percent, according to the New York Times.
The market’s verdict may give one pause in believing the statement of the company’s CEO, Andrew Witty. He said that the matters that had been under investigation no longer “reflect the company that we are today.” He went on to say, “In recent years, we have fundamentally changed our procedures for compliance, marketing and selling in the U.S. to ensure that we operate with high standards of integrity and that we conduct our business openly and transparently.” So why did a spokeswoman for the company say on the very same day that negotiations were continuing with the government over whether to include a corporate integrity agreement in a separate case regarding complaints about manufacturing quality at a plant in Cidra, P.R. that had since closed? To be sure, the agreement could provide further penalties for other violations in manufacturing, but prime facie, why should a company’s management that had come to see the light on the importance of business ethics not also see the importance (from at the very least a PR standpoint!) of embracing an integrity agreement?
Just one year before that of the $3 billion settlement announcement, the U.S. Justice Department had accused Lauren Stevens, vice president and associate general counsel of the company, of obstruction of justice and making false statements. To be sure, Stevens was subsequently acquitted of all six charges, but the charges alone point to the possibility of a corporate culture existing that disvalues business ethics. It is very unlikely that such a noxious culture can be eviscerated and replaced wholesale in a year without an extensive replacement of executives on down.
Suggesting that the company’s management would not have had sufficient incentive to radically challenge the operative values at the company, Patrick Burns, the spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, asked, “Who at Glaxo is going to jail as a part of this settlement? Who in management is being excluded from doing future business with the U.S. Government?” For a company with a market value of more than $110 billion and sales of $43 billion in the year ending September 30, 2011, $3 billion with “legal certainty” does not proffer the sort of disincentive that is necessary to get major stockholders on the backs of a board to clean house in terms of a new management. To expect an existing staff (including upper echelons) to suddenly value integrity contradicts the nature of the human personality; replacing the managers wholesale would be necessary. So rather than settling for “legal certainty” on one of the legal matters then facing the company (questions of whether Glaxo violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act were still at issue), investors should have taken note of whether Glaxo’s board had demanded a corporate cleaning of management or simply taken the CEO’s words of least resistance at face value, as if adding procedures and announcing a newly discovered interest in integrity were sufficient.
How often do corporate boards prioritize, much less even mention the need to do what is necessary to radically change a sordid corporate culture? Given that the financial benefits of an ethical climate can be fuzzy while the costs of unethical practices can be discounted mentally due to their apparent low probability (which hides the high risk, which includes bankruptcy), a real kick is typically needed to commence real change sufficient to shift a corporate culture to a new ethical equilibrium. Typically, this requires a transfusion of new blood in and old blood out. Merely adding new blood while retaining even just some of the old can enable the stygian infection to spread to the new. Given what is required to expunge a squalid culture, it is indeed much easier to simply accept at face value the PR-ready asseverations of a seemingly-contrite “born-again” CEO and be done with the matter.
What do former US Attorney General Eric Holder, GSK, and the firm- Covington & Burling- have in common?
One big huge stinking- revolving-door- syndrome, that’s what!
More on this when I return..
He was one of President Obama’s longest-serving cabinet members.Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will return as a partner at the law firm he had left to become the nation’s top law enforcement official, his new employer said in a statement.
Holder, who led the Justice Department from 2009 to 2015 and was one of President Barack Obama’s longest-serving cabinet members, will return to Covington & Burling, where he was previously a partner from 2001 to 2009, the law firm said.
At Covington & Burling’s Washington, D.C., office, Holder will focus on complex cases “including matters that are international in scope and raise significant regulatory enforcement issues,” the law firm said.
Justice Department scores victory for health consumers
By Lori StahlJuly 3, 2012
British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline didn’t have much to cheer about this week with its guilty plea to criminal charges of illegally marketing drugs and withholding safety data from U.S. regulators.
Attoney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in New Orleans, June 28, 2012. (Bill Haber/Associated Press)
But Glaxo didn’t have to endure a lot of gloating from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department extracted the record settlement. Just as his staff was settling the record-breaking fraud case, Holder became the first Attorney General in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. Holder was taken to task by a congressional committee for withholding documents relating to a botched gun trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious.’’ On Monday, Holder said the contempt charge was a sham, claiming Republicans have made him a “proxy” for President Obama as the election year heats up.
As The Washington Post reported, Holder said the congressional panel was seeking “retribution against the Justice Department for its policies on a host of issues, including immigration, voting rights and gay marriage. He said the chairman of the committee leading the inquiry, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), is engaging in political theater as the Justice Department tries to focus on public safety.’’
Whatever the views on those hot-button issues, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Holder’s Justice Department has been consistently aggressive in pursuing cases against Big Pharma.
“In 2009, Pfizer Inc. agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle a federal investigation into whether it promoted the painkiller Bextra off-label,’’ the Wall Street Journal reported. Eli Lilly & Co. agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle similar charges involving its antipsychotic medicine Zyprexa.’’ And this week’s Glaxo settlement, which still needs judicial approval, was the company’s fourth settlement in the past few years.
Glaxo officials said “we have learned from the mistakes that were made.”
The settlement amounts to another victory for health-care consumers after last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Obama administration’s landmark health-care reform act.
Covington Advises GlaxoSmithKline on $750 Million FCA Settlement
Posted by Brian Baxter
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints accusing the company of selling tainted drugs from a shuttered Puerto Rican factory, The New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon. The settlement, which is the fourth-largest ever paid by a pharmaceutical company in U.S. history, calls for GSK to pay $600 million in civil penalties and $150 million in criminal fines as a result of quality control problems at the plant between 2001 and 2005.
Covington & Burling litigation partners Geoffrey Hobart and Matthew O’Connor and special counsel Mona Patel represented GSK in the matter. The firm is longtime outside counsel to the company, having advised GSK on its $253 million acquisition of Laboratorios Phoenix this past June.
The federal government began its own investigation of GSK in 2004 after Cheryl Eckard, a former global quality assurance manager at GSK, filed a qui tam (whistle-blower) suit under the False Claims Act against her employer in U.S. district court in Boston.
“She came to our law firm after having heard about our success in other qui tam lawsuits,” says Neil Getnick, Eckard’s lawyer and a managing partner of New York’s Getnick & Getnick. One of those suits was the $257 million Medicaid settlement Getnick helped extract from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2003.
Getnick, who advised Eckard along with partner Lesley Skillen, says that Eckard’s case against GSK stands on its own. While previous whistle-blower settlements against large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Novartis focused on the pricing and marketing of drugs, Eckard’s suit involved claims of how those drugs were made. (Scott Tucker of Boston’s Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman served as local counsel to Eckard.)
“This is the first whistle-blower recovery for pharmaceutical manufacturing violations,” Getnick says. “This case is far more serious because it focuses on the quality of the drugs that were being produced, and specifically says that what was once the largest plant in the world for GSK was producing and releasing adulterated product. So this is not only a case of financial concern, but also one of patient safety, and that’s what separates it from every one up until now.”
Eckard stands to receive $96 million from the settlement paid by GSK, according to a Justice Department statement. Skillen notes that that GSK’s factory in Cidra, Puerto Rico, produced about $5.5 billion in pharmaceutical products annually for the London-based drug giant.
The GSK subsidiary pleading guilty to the charges, SB Pharmco Puerto Rico, entered a guilty plea on Tuesday. Getnick says that the state governments and the District of Columbia covered under the settlement will now execute their own 51 agreements, which could add to the whistle-blower windfall Eckard stands to receive.
The Justice Department filed its notice of intervention in the case on Tuesday, adopting the complaint filed by Eckard’s lawyers.
“This is one of the rare, if not unique, situations in a case of this size and dimension that the government did not feel the need or desire to substitute their complaint on top of the one that the relator and relator’s counsel filed,” Getnick says. Covington’s Hobart did not respond to a request for comment.
GSK outside Counsel Eric Holder- now Attorney General ?
OK, GSK– thought you were wise asses, getting Daniel Troy formerly Cheif Counsel for the FDA, who pissed on patients rights on the governments dime. Now you rold attorney, Eric Holder comes from defending you to go to the AG office. Sources close to Holder say that even though he may have prostituted himself for big Pharma, including also Merck and Pfizer…that he now knows the ins and outs of how you do business. It does not look good for you hopefully under Holder as AG. He has seen the corruption, knows what you do and how you do it. If you are being investigated as alleged by the Department of Justice, he will be watched by all groups interested in cleaning up the industry.The fraud and corruption….and yes murder for big bucks and market share will come to a halt. If it does not and he goes easy on the crooks like GSK…it will be a rough road for him. Many Senators know what he did in private practice and all are pushing for criminal as well as civil punishments that finally fit the crimes. WE will see if the small multimillion dollar fines continue and then companies go about business as usual, making money and showing that crime does pay. Hopefully some Senior Executives responsible for gross unethical, illegal and immoral conduct will be jailed and the “death sentence” given to companies who have defrauded Medicare and other Federal programs for billions of dollars.Only time will tell what Eric Holder will do, but look out, he seems to be honest and follows the letter of the law. If he does that, patients and payors alike will be well served… and you, GSK should be up the proverbial creek. There is not a single drug that you sell that this country cannot do without, period.
Former General Counsel of GlaxoSmithKline Joins Covington & Burling as Senior Of Counsel
March 6, 2002 – LONDON, U.K.- International law firm Covington & Burling is pleased to announce that James Beery, who recently retired as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and the UK’s second largest company, will join the firm as Senior Of Counsel from 18 March.
Mr. Beery practiced law in London, New York and Tokyo for more than twenty years before joining SmithKline Beecham plc (SB) as General Counsel in 1994. Following SB’s £114bn merger with Glaxo Wellcome in 2000, he served as General Counsel of the combined company, with more than 500 legal staff and global responsibility. GSK operates in more than 100 countries.
Mr. Beery, a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former US Marine, says “Covington attracted me as a firm with a strong academic tradition and an unmatched life sciences practice.” During his break following retirement from GSK, Mr. Beery helped teach a course at Stanford Law School, and he intends to continue his relationship with Stanford while at Covington.“As a general counsel, one gains a different perspective regarding both business and the practice of law. I hope that my industry experience will bring value to Covington and its clients.”
“Jim’s arrival is wonderful news for our clients and the firm. He would have been a great asset at any international firm, particularly one like ours which focuses on Life Sciences” says Stuart Stock, managing partner, “ We are delighted Jim chose Covington.” “Jim is joining our London office as it enters a new stage of growth and development. Our expanding corporate and regulatory Life Sciences lawyers will enjoy calling on his industry expertise”. says Kurt Wimmer, Managing Partner of the London office.
It’s difficult to figure out the full story using google translate from Dutch into English, however this recent article seems to suggest that Seroxat (Paroxetine/Paxil) has yet again been implicated for causing violence, and perhaps also- murder.
These cases are nothing new in regards to SSRI’s as those who have taken them often complain of scary side effects such as homicidal impulses, violence, aggression etc but when will the mainstream medical profession, particularly psychiatry, stop denying these dangerous side effects exist?..
Here’s the article anyhow..
If anyone can speak Dutch and do a better job at translating it than google, please do..
The suspect in the murder of prostitute Mariyana Lenarova (43) in Groningen will undergo behalf of justice experiments with the antidepressant paroxetine. It writes the AD. Fokko F. (46) swallowed the drug (also called Seroxat) in the period when the woman he stabbed to life brought.
Seroxat is controversial because according to researchers, can lead to violent aggression. On the initiative of the attorney Fokko F., and with his consent, researchers doing experiments in a clinical setting and closed. He is reduced to the dose at the time he swallowed, and then changes in dosage are made to determine whether he becomes disordered.
In January 2013 was Mariyana Lenarova, mother of two children, were killed in the city of Groningen. In her room she tendon received multiple stab wounds. Near two large meat knives were found. Five days after the murder suspect was arrested Fokko F.. He said to remember nothing of his visit to the prostitute.
The lawyer hopes the experiment will show that F can indeed be aggressive from scratch fluctuations in dosage. There is, according to him no other explanation for the sudden outbreak of violence. If the link is proved, the court would be able F. decide not to impose punishment but a forced treatment. The experiment starts in July. The lawsuit follows after the summer.
Seroxat plays a role in several criminal cases. Also Ids I would have acted under the influence of the drug, that case is at the Supreme Court. In the double murder case in Baflo the perpetrator was under the influence of the drug. Research shows that some people are genetically susceptible to the drug than others.
“A psychiatrist’s report said it would be safe to allow him back to the family home, subject to his being on whatever medication and receiving any psychiatric attention he needed.”
Which psychiatric medication was Micheal Greaney prescribed? What dose? And why was he, or his family, not warned of the dangers?
“They expressed fears that the glass of wine may have reacted with his medication to drastically alter his mood.” (Evening Herald 30/12/2014)
It looks like there had been another murder-suicide in Ireland, and this case, like the many others, in Ireland and world-wide, it seems likely that it’s linked to psychiatric medication. It has been well established that psychiatric medication can cause hostility, aggression, suicidal thoughts and homicidal impulses. These effects are now listed in patient information leaflets, however many people are still in the dark about these dangerous side effects and withdrawal symptoms. I felt these side effects on GSK’s Seroxat drug, an SSRI which is notorious for causing suicide, violence, and sometimes murder/suicides. I wonder was Michael Greaney’s family warned of these side effects, and particularly the dangers of mixing psychiatric meds with alcohol. Irish psychiatrist, Dr David Healy, has been warning of these lethal dangers of psych-drugs for decades, and Irish state pathologist, Declan Gilsenan has also spoken out on what he said were “too many suicides linked to these drugs.” Many other psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, researchers, and in particular (ex) psych service users, have also been calling for wider warnings on psychiatric drugs for years now…
“Dr Gilsenan, who retired last year, says he has seen “too many suicides” among people who had started taking the drugs. In his considered view the evidence was “more than anecdotal” and he now hopes to raise the matter with Kathleen Lynch, minister of
Gardaí have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with an incident in which a man was found dead, his wife stabbed to death and their 21-year-old daughter left critically injured.
The bodies of Michael Greaney (53) and his wife, Valerie (49), were discovered in their house at O’Neill Place in Cobh, Co Cork, and their eldest daughter, Michelle, was lying in the road after fleeing the house.
Mr Greaney had returned to the family home in recent weeks after being discharged from the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin in November.
“He seemed to be in quite good form coming up to Christmas. I think his friend just wanted to wish him well for Christmas over a quick drink,” a former Irish Navy colleague of Mr Greaney’s told the Herald.
They expressed fears that the glass of wine may have reacted with his medication to drastically alter his mood.
Mass Murderers and Psychiatric Drugs
by PHIL on SEPTEMBER 22, 2014323
There’s an interesting article in the current issue of the National Psychologist written by David Kirschner, PhD, a New York psychologist. The National Psychologist is a newspaper-type magazine that publishes articles of general interest to psychologists and others working in this field. Most issues contain a mix of opinion pieces, news, changes in government regulations, etc…
Dr. Kirschner’s article is titled Mass shooters received only limited treatment.
Here are some quotes:
“As a forensic psychologist, I have tested/evaluated 30 teenage and young adult murderers, and almost all of them had been in some kind of ‘treatment,’ usually short term and psychoactive drug-oriented, before they killed.”
“After each episode of school killings or other mass shootings, such as the Aurora, Colo., Batman movie murders and Tucson, Ariz., killing of six and wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, there is a renewed public outcry for early identification and treatment of youths at risk for violence.
Sadly however, most of the young people who kill had been in ‘treatment,’ prior to the violence, albeit with less than successful results.”
“Most of the young murderers I have personally examined had…been in ‘treatment’ and were using prescribed stimulant/amphetamine type drugs before and during the killing events. These medications did not prevent but instead contributed to the violence by disinhibiting normal, frontal cortex control mechanisms.”
“Prior to the violent event, for which he is currently serving a life without parole sentence, Jeremy [Strolmeyer], an honor student with no history of violence, was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and ‘treated’ with nothing more than a bottle of Dexedrine following a brief 20-minute ‘cost-effective’ psychiatric consultation.”
“And so, despite ongoing congressional debates regarding stricter gun control laws vs. improved access to mental health treatment, our concern should be about the quality of mental health care, not just a societal safety net insuring treatment for all children and young adults. Almost all of them are covered by some type of managed care or insurance company, and the issue is not access to preventive treatment. The real problem, in my opinion, is the quality and competence of therapy for potential violent offenders when insurance companies are the gatekeepers.”
Obviously it’s a compelling article, particularly Dr. Kirschner’s assertion that “almost all” 30 young murderers he has worked with had been in some kind of treatment and had been taking psychiatric drugs. Dr. Kirschner’s call for more competent and more intensive therapy makes sense, but as long as the mental health system is dominated by psychiatrists and psychiatric dogma, it is likely that psychiatric drugs will continue to be the essential ingredient of these interventions. And as long as this is the case, all that we can reasonably expect is more of the same.
Dr. Kirschner’s comments are, of course, anecdotal. But there is an ever-growing body of anecdotal information implicating psychiatric drugs in mass killings and suicides. There is a desperate need for a formal study of this matter, but calls for such studies have been routinely ignored and resisted.
In December 2012, a petition on the White House “We the People” website calling for the government to initiate such an investigation was removed without explanation, even though it was well on the way to receiving the requisite number of signatures.
And let us not forget what Patrick B. Kwanashie, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, said on this matter on August 22, 2013 when he was pressed in a freedom of information meeting to release Adam Lanza’s history of psychiatric drug use.
“…you have to advance reasons that you actually do have a real interest in the…medical records. The plaintiff, the complainant have not shown any such interest. The complainant is proposing that they can make generalizations, generalized from one single incident, no matter how the outcome of the use of antidepressants, or the causal link between the use of antidepressants and the kind of violence that took place in Newtown. You just can’t, that’s not a legitimate use of that information. You can’t generalize just from one case. Even if you can conclusively establish that Adam Lanza’s murderous actions were caused by antidepressants, you can’t logically from that conclude that others would commit the same actions as a result of taking antidepressants. So it’s simply not legitimate, and not only is it not the use to which they are proposing to put the information not legitimate, it is harmful, because you can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications, stop cooperating with their treating physicians, just because of the heinousness of what Adam Lanza did. As the material, the FDA material that they submitted show, it would take a lot of studies over a long period of time and among, and within various demographic groups to even begin to establish causal links between antidepressants and aggressive actions or suicidal behavior. And the informed opinion has not quite reached the point to say definitively that there’s a causal link between the use of antidepressants and violent behavior. Having correlations, there are correlations, but to say there are correlations doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is causal. And this is an issue the FDA is still grappling with, and so far it’s been willing to do is ask the drug makers to put warnings on their products and to advise physicians, treating physicians, to follow monitor their patients closely at the beginning of the taking of antidepressants. So it’s a complex issue, and to pretend that you can just, based on this one case, make recommendations as to how people should make judgment choices is a disservice to the public and illustrates why these types of reports should not be made available, because in the wrong hands they can be the source of mischief.” [Emphasis added]
In other words, psychiatric drugs are safe until proven dangerous. And, apparently, the only acceptable evidence is a large scale, randomized, controlled trial. But the only group who has the data and the resources to conduct such a trial is psychiatry-pharma! And meanwhile we should cover up any anecdotal information that might cast the drugs in a bad light – because that might induce people to stop taking them!
Psychiatric drugs are not medications in any meaningful sense of the term. Whatever temporary lift they may give people in the short term, is offset by their adverse effects – particularly their contribution to suicides and murder.
Information on this issue is being spun and suppressed by psychiatrists, and by their moneyed collaborators in pharma. How much longer must this destructive charade continue?
Last updated by Phil at September 21, 2014.
The Link Between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence
Psychiatric Drugs and Suicide
Mass Murders and Mental Health
Another Mass Shooting: Link to SSRIs?
Opposition to Psychiatric Drugs is Fuelled by Puritanism!
Was it an SSRI? What dose? How long was this unfortunate young man prescribed drugs for his mental health problems? Was he monitored for emerging aggression, self harm, akathisia, suicidal thoughts, and homicidal side effects? (all well established side effects of SSRI drugs).
This tragedy has all the hallmarks of an SSRI (Psych Medication) Induced Murder-Suicide.
Somebody failed this family, and it seems that it was Irish psychiatric services.
These websites have thousands of documented similar cases of violence, murder and suicide from SSRI meds.
These are very real side effects, which I have personally experienced. Mainstream psychiatry will not warn people about these effects because they protect the drugs, and they defend the drug companies who they are in cahoots with.
Check out thousands of similar psych med horror stories here:
The parents had arranged for Jonathan (22), their eldest child, to pick up the twins from Banogue National School in nearby Croom. The twins had just gone into third class.
Jonathan, a troubled youth on medication for his mental health, didn’t have a job and was about to start a FAS course. So he was free to ferry the children around.
As the O’Driscolls prepared to return home from their shopping trip, Jonathan collected the children from school at around 3.15pm. The two younger children, aged three and five, were with him.
But in his teenage years, he seemed troubled and withdrawn. He didn’t have a job and lived in his own “apartment” in the family home. According to one source, in recent months, various life events seemed to combine to push him over the edge.
He had split up with his girlfriend. He was “on a lot of medication” and he had various health issues.
This is a very tragic case where it seems that an older brother, Shane Skeffington, (20) stabbed his younger brother, Brandon, (9) to death. Apparently this was completely out of character and there were no previous signs that he would commit such a violent act particularly towards his brother. Shane, then went on to kill himself. According to reports he was under psychiatric care and (like most young people) had dabbled in drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but what I would be more worried about was the so called psychiatric ‘care’ he received. It’s often the psychiatric drug treatments which are the compounding factor in these cases. This website’antidepaware‘ has correlated thousands of similar cases of psychiatric drug related deaths.
Were meds involved? What kind of psychiatric ‘treatment’ did Shane Skeffington receive? and for how long? did he express suicidal or violent thoughts under this ‘care’ and to whom? Was he prescribed SSRI’s? (or an anti-psychotic or other drug) If so, why was he not monitored for emerging aggression, akathisia (an extreme nervous system condition which drives people psychotic), or suicidal/homicidal ideation (all known SSRI side effects which are even included now in warning leaflets).
Regardless of whether he received drugs from a psychiatrist or not, it is clear to me that psychiatry has failed this young man and his younger brother. If psychiatry was successful then why do so many of its patients either never get better or get worse and go on to kill themselves or others? Psychiatry is a wealthy institution but they always complain of a lack of funding- but what we need to ask is why are consultant psychiatrists paid astronomical salaries? Surely some of that money could be used to provide funding for intensive psycho-therapeutic interventions such as in emergency cases like this one? Why are these obviously very vulnerable, disturbed and frightened young people just drugged and thrown back out on the street without proper care and proper warnings? why does psychiatry get away with lying to the public about the dangers of medication?
Something is wrong here, terribly wrong. I don’t care what anyone says- psychiatric consultant and high level psychiatrists salaries are obscene- particularly when you consider their absolutely dismal track record. Nobody gets cured! And once people enter the psychiatric system they either get worse or they die-what does that tell you? We need complete transparency, which doctors and psychiatrists in Ireland are in the pocket of drug companies? Which ones receive honoria and payment for research etc, and how is this pharmaceutical/psychiatric alliance funded in Universities and hospitals?
The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.
I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives) garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears) or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?
The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.
Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!
Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.
This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.
The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!