Saturday, 22 Nov 2014
(Written in 2007)
Killer Schoolchildren on Drugs
By Eamonn Gosney
Once-upon-a-time ill health was attributed to evil spirits, and incantations to the gods by witchdoctors were deemed necessary for their alleviation. By the Middle Ages, a material approach by alchemists, saw substances like antimony, arsenic and silver being used in an attempt to resolve disease. The philosophers' stone — a legendary elixir believed to have the power to change base metals into gold, considered able to prolong life indefinitely and capable of curing all maladies — was highly sought after.
Along the bumpy road of history we traveled, meeting a wild-wild-west snake oil salesman here, a smooth-talking charlatan there, and receiving a short-back-and-sides from barbershop medicine. And here we have arrived in the 21st century, where the ancient alchemists have metamorphosed into huge wealthy pharmaceutical conglomerates, whose sole aim in life is to produce evermore powerful and profitable potions. Meanwhile, we have a problem — the ever-increasing number of people (many of them adolescents) committing horrendous crimes while on these prescribed psychotropic concoctions:
Canton, Massachusetts, November 1986. 14-year-old, Rod Matthews, who is taking the drug Ritalin, lures classmate Shaun Ouillette into the woods, whereupon he bludgeons him to death with a baseball bat.
Winnetka, Illinois, 20 May 1988. 30-year-old Laurie Dann, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment (and had no prior record of violence before commencing psychiatric treatment), enters a classroom with three handguns blazing; kills one second-grader and wounds five others. After fleeing from the school, shoots a man at a nearby house. Then kills herself.
Greenwood, South Carolina, 26 September 1988. 19-year-old James Wilson, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment (and had no prior record of violence before commencing psychiatric treatment), enters a school cafeteria with a gun. Wounds three students and a teacher. Walks into a girls' toilet, shoots another teacher; before going to a third-grade classroom, where he shoots several more children. Two 8-year-old students were killed.
Stockton, California, 17 January 1989. 26-year-old Patrick Purdy, who has an extensive psychiatric drug history, kills five children, wounds 29 other children and a teacher in a schoolyard, then takes his own life.
Illinois, 1995. 16-year-old Brian Pruitt, who has a psychiatric drug treatment history, stabs and kills his grandmother in her bedroom; and when he returns home, murders his grandfather, as well.
25 May 1997. 18-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, who is taking the drug Dexedrine, rapes and murders a girl of 7 in a casino toilet.
New Jersey, 27 September 1997. 15-year-old Sam Manzie, who is taking the drug Paxil, attacks, rapes and strangles to death Eddie Werner 11, who had been visiting homes in the area (selling products for the Parents and Teachers Association).
Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas, 24 March 1998. 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson, who is receiving psychiatric counseling (information about psychotropic drug use was withheld from public), along with 11-year-old Andrew Golden, opens fire on classmates.
Springfield, Oregon, 21 May 1998. 14-year-old Kip Kinkel, who is taking the drugs Ritalin and Prozac, kills his parents. Then proceeds to Thurston High School where he shoots two more people and injures 22 others.
Notus High School, Idaho, 16 April 1999. 15-year-old Shawn Cooper, who is taking the drug Ritalin, fires two rounds from a shotgun at students and school staff.
Heritage High School, Conyers, Georgia, 20 May 1999. 15-year-old T.J. Solomon, who is taking the drug Ritalin, shoots and wounds six students.
Columbine High School, Colorado, 20 April 1999. 18-year-old Eric Harris, who is taking the drug Luvox, leads the killing spree which ended with 12 students, a teacher, and Harris and his partner Dylan Klebold dead.
Houston, 2001. 36-year-old Andrea Yates, who is taking the drugs Effexor and Remeron, drowns her five children. One after the other, this mother methodically holds each of her kids, aged 6 months to 7 years, underwater in a bathtub, letting them go only after each of the struggling bodies falls limp.
Virginia Tech, 2007. A student with a psychiatric history shoots 30-plus fellow students dead.
These are just a sample, there are others. Like the situation which confronted Lakeland Florida police on 19 February 1996. 10-year-old Timmy Becton didn't like school. Subsequently, he was put on Prozac. Brandishing a 12-gauge shotgun, and using his 3-year-old niece as a human shield, he yelled at police and a truant officer when they visited his parents' home: "I'd sooner shoot you than go to school."
How bad is the problem? In the US there are 6 million children between the ages of 6 and 18 on mind-altering prescribed drugs (O'Meara, 1999).
The International Coalition for Drug Awareness (ICDA) is a private, non-profit group of physicians, researchers, journalists and concerned citizens. As part of its Mission Statement, its primary focus is to address the world's most pervasive and subtle drug problem - prescription drugs. It is dedicated to educating the people of the world regarding the potential harmful and life threatening short and long term effects of these substances. Dr. Ann Blake Tracy is a Ph.D. in Health Sciences with the emphasis on Psychology. She is the director of the ICDA and specializes in adverse reactions to medications like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc. On the ICDA website it states that in the US approximately 200,000 people die from prescription drug reactions every year, another 80,000 die from medical malpractice and 20,000 die as a result of illegal drug use. Yet, '[b]illions of dollars go into illegal drug issues in this country every year even though far more are dying from legal drugs. Everyone is asking, "Where is the FDA [Federal Drug Administration]?" Busy approving another new drug? And how many more will die from that one?..' (Tracey, 2000).
And then there is the matter of suicides. Like the 28 July 1997 case of Missouri teenager Matthew Miller, who was taking the drug Zoloft. He was found hanged in his bedroom cupboard. A lawyer representing the Miller family, Richard Ewing, says that between 1988 and 1997, the FDA had recorded about 2,000 suicides that may have been related to antidepressants, but they believe that this is only a tiny fraction of the true amount. The figure for suicides worldwide has been estimated by the British researcher Healy at 50,000.
And what do the drug makers have to say? A spokesman from Eli Lilly headquarters in the US says that it is acceptable for some Prozac users to commit suicide. "You have to take a look at the patient population. In people with depression there is probably a 15% suicide rate. There is no evidence that Prozac causes suicide." (Boseley, 1999). Similarly, the manufacturer of Zoloft — Pfizer, say there is no credible scientific evidence that Zoloft and related drugs precipitate suicide (Knox, 2000).
According to Kelly O'Meara, of InsightMag.com, it is only recently (2001) that pharmaceutical companies are beginning to be held responsible for the violent behavior associated with their mind-altering drugs. Kelly uses the example of retired oil-rig worker Donald Schell, who fatally shot his wife, daughter and granddaughter, before shooting himself. Schell had been taking Paxil. A Cheyenne, Wyoming jury found that the antidepressant Paxil can cause some individuals to commit suicide and/or homicide. Surviving family members were awarded $8 million in damages.
And what about the psychiatrists? When a child psychiatrist was asked if he was going to do anything else other than prescribe drugs for a five-year-old child, he replied: "Nope. I see a kid every 15 minutes. It's the only way I can make an income." (Diller, 2000). And on an Australian psychiatrist's website, in response to the question of whether taking Prozac can cause people to commit suicide or become homicidal; he states that this is Church of Scientology misinformation based only on one case. 
In the New Jersey case mentioned, Sam Manzie strangled Eddie Werner with a length of electrical cable. He then photographed the body with the cable still around the neck, before dumping young Werner's clothes in a garbage bin at the psychiatric facility where he (Manzie) had been receiving regular psychiatric treatment. "I wasn't killing that little boy. I was killing [my psychiatrist] because he didn't listen to me," Manzie later told his mother. (Whittle/Stout, 1999).
And here in Australia? Ian White, WA director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (an organization which investigates psychiatric violations) in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, writes that Ritalin prescriptions in Australia have risen from 523 prescriptions per month in August 2005 to 7,558 prescriptions for the month of August 2006. After the drug was put on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (White, 2007).
It has been reported in the news that 2,000 Australians are committing suicide yearly. This equates to 6 Aussies every day (more than the road toll). A proportion of these can, in all likelihood, have been carried out by people on psychotropic drugs. Although we had Port Arthur , we haven't had the same spate of school massacres like has happened in the US. Whether the firearm buyback  has been a factor in this is debatable, as there still appears to be many armed citizenry around — nearly every other month one hears of another mugging or a murder where a firearm is involved. But now that Ritalin prescriptions have skyrocketed, who knows how many massacres are in store for us. Australian youths seem to have a penchant for burning schools down. There have been quite a few of these reported over the years; it would be nice to know how many of these acts were carried out by Ritalin kids. And there appears to be an increasing number of home evasions, and beating up the frail and elderly. On the television news just last night there was even a report of a home invasion where the occupant was attacked with an axe.
And I will leave the last word to Mr White of CCHR: "Children with real problems need real help. Instead of pouring millions of dollars of taxpayers money into subsidising these drugs on the PBS, surely the money would be better spent on clinics or programs that conduct proper and exhaustive medical tests as needed to find out what is really wrong with the child. Lead poisoning, allergies, diet and food intolerances are just a few of the areas to examine. Making a child a psychiatric drug customer for life should not be the solution."
"Based on documents recently obtained by [Freedom Magazine] under the Freedom of Information Act, as of September 16, 1993, 28,623 reports of adverse reactions to Prozac had been received by the FDA. These included such effects as delirium, hallucinations, convulsions, violent hostility, aggression, psychosis, 1,885 suicide attempts and 1,734 deaths - 1,089 by suicide."
The Story Behind Prozac... the Killer Drug - By Thomas Whittle & Richard Wieland
Copy can be read on Campaign Against Fraudulent Medical Research website:
 Port Arthur
Port Arthur refers to the Port Arthur massacre (1996) where a gunman killed 35 people, and wounded 23 others at an historic tourist site in Tasmania, Australia.
 Firearm Buyback
Following the Port Arthur massacre, Australia had a 'National Firearms Buyback Scheme', where over 0.5 million rifles (mainly semi-automatic), shotguns and some higher-powered military-style weapons were purchased with taxpayer funds. Further information can be found at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_buyback_program
Boseley, S; Revealed: the danger of taking Prozac, The Guardian/Observer, 4 September 1999
Diller LH; Psych meds for kids: Too much, too soon?, salon.com,10 March 2000
Knox, RA; Doctor lashes out in Prozac battle, Globe, 15 May 2000
O'Meara, KP; Doping Kids, insightmag.com, 28 June 1999
Tracy, AB, drugawareness.org
White, I; Letter to the Editor, Golden Mail, 13 April 2007
Whittle, TC and Stout, M; The Hidden Hand of Violence, Freedom vol 31, issue 2, 1999.
Image credit: inmagine.com