Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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August 26, 2004

Paxil, Zoloft, Xantax - Drug Induced Violence

23 August 2004 - The New York Times reports on the Murder case of Christopher Pittman coming up for trial. The 12-year-old has shot his grandparents and put their house on fire, but he says it was the effect of the drug he was on at the time - the antidepressant Zoloft.

The case comes amid widespread allegations that antidepressant drugs cause many to commit suicide, a charge hotly denied by the pharma companies producing them.

But what's more, a recent "mental health initiative" that includes widespread testing for mental illness in American schools is expected to lead to the prescription of just these kinds of drugs to hundreds of thousands more children like Chris Pittman.

Ann Tracy, an activist who investigates cases of unexplained violence and suicide, argues that antidepressants are dangerous and should be banned. Tracy argues that the perpetrators of some of Utah's famous violent crimes — Margaret Kastanis, who stabbed herself and her three children in 1991; Sergei Babarin, who shot five people at the LDS Family History Library in 1999; Lenny Gall, who killed his mother with an axe in 2001 — were violent because they were either on antidepressants or had gone off them too abruptly.

Tryptophan is an aminoacid that in the body transforms into niacin, also known as vitamin B 3 and into serotonin, both helping to maintain a positive outlook and mood. Dr. Andrew Saul calls tryptophan a prozac alternative. Vitamin D has been found to ease depression if given in supplement form.

With plenty of nutritional alternatives, why do we insist on using drugs as the first line treatment?

Update 15 September: According to an article in the New York Times, "Top officials of the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged for the first time on Monday that antidepressants appeared to lead some children and teenagers to become suicidal."

Boy's Murder Case Entangled in Fight Over Antidepressants


Published: August 23, 2004
(go to original)

Christopher Pittman said he remembered everything about that night in late 2001 when he killed his grandparents: the blood, the shotgun blasts, the voices urging him on, even the smoke detectors that screamed as he drove away from their rural South Carolina home after setting it on fire.

"Something kept telling me to do it," he later told a forensic psychiatrist.

Now, Christopher, who was 12 years old at the time of the killings, faces charges of first-degree murder. The decision by a local prosecutor to try him as an adult could send him to prison for life. While prosecutors portray him as a troubled killer, his defenders say the killings occurred for a reason beyond the boy's control - a reaction to the antidepressant Zoloft, a drug he had started taking for depression not long before the slayings.

Such defenses, which have been used before, have rarely succeeded. And most medical experts do not believe there is a link between antidepressants and acts of extreme violence.

But the Pittman case has attracted special attention because it is among the first to arise amid a national debate over the safety of antidepressant use in children and teenagers. Depression is a complex condition, and antidepressants like Zoloft have helped countless children and adults.

In recent months, however, the federal Food and Drug Administration has been examining data from clinical trials indicating that some depressed children and adolescents taking antidepressants think more about suicide and attempt it more often than patients given placebos. The findings varied between drugs. The F.D.A. is scheduled to hold an advisory committee meeting on the issue next month.

Against that backdrop, the case of Christopher Pittman - an otherwise obscure small-town murder case that may go to trial this fall - has become a battleground, where the scientific threads of the F.D.A. debate have become entangled with courtroom arguments and a family's tragedy.

Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, has helped the county solicitor who is prosecuting Christopher Pittman. Plaintiffs' lawyers from Houston and Los Angeles, who between them have brought numerous civil lawsuits against Pfizer and other antidepressant makers, have signed onto the defense team. Groups opposed to pediatric antidepressant use have also championed the boy's case, which is being played out in Chester, S.C., a small town near the North Carolina border.

Locally, some people involved in the Pittman case said they have been stunned by the rush of outsiders. Even a forensic psychiatrist, who testified at a hearing that she believed that Christopher committed the murders while in a psychotic state induced by Zoloft, said she worried that the publicity may frighten parents whose children could benefit from Zoloft and similar drugs.

"I wished it could be staying in Chester, S.C., with this one kid," said the psychiatrist, Dr. Lanette Atkins of nearby Columbia, S.C., who has been retained by Christopher's public defender.

While the pediatric antidepressant debate has focused on potential suicide risks, aggressive behavior can be a side effect of antidepressants. There have also been case reports of adults and children on antidepressants acting violently. But only a handful of psychiatrists have ever argued that such medications can unleash rages so uncontrollable as to overwhelm a person's ability to distinguish between right and wrong and commit murder.

With the Pittman case pending, Pfizer, based in New York, declined to make company executives or lawyers available to be interviewed for this article. The company has previously said that no regulatory agency has ever found a connection between Zoloft and suicidal or homicidal behavior.

Zoloft belongs to a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or S.S.R.I.'s, which also includes other popular drugs like Paxil and Prozac. In the last year, federal drug regulators have issued cautionary statements about most S.S.R.I.'s and similar medications prescribed for the treatment of pediatric depression. The one exception has been Prozac, the only S.S.R.I. formally approved for pediatric use after it was shown to be effective in tests with children and adolescents.

Regulators issued their advisories after a re-examination of drug makers' test data, much of which had not been publicly released. The disclosure of the test results has spurred demands by doctors' groups and others that drug companies be required to list all drug tests publicly, and a few producers have announced plans to do so.

If for some doctors such controversies seemed to have sprung up suddenly, the issues behind them were already stirring about three years ago - right around the time that Christopher Pittman fired four shotgun blasts into his grandparents as they slept.

A Last Chance Goes Wrong

When Christopher Pittman arrived in Chester in October 2001 to live with his paternal grandparents, Joe and Joy Pittman, the move seemed like his last, best chance to find stability.

He felt abandoned by his mother, according to medical reports. And his relationship with his father, who raised him in Florida, was troubled. "I haven't had that good a life; my real mom left when I was 2," Christopher Pittman told a forensic psychiatrist with the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

Psychiatric reports suggest that Christopher's tailspin began when his parents revived their relationship in 2001, only to end it yet again. After his mother left this time, he threatened to kill himself and was hospitalized. His diagnosis, records show, was mild chronic depression accompanied by defiant and negative behavior. He was put on Paxil.

But after about a week, his father, also named Joe, decided to remove him from the hospital and send him to live with his grandparents. There, a doctor put Christopher on Zoloft, the most widely prescribed S.S.R.I. antidepressant for pediatric patients and adults alike.

Initially, Christopher Pittman appeared to thrive. After a few weeks in Chester, though, he got into a dispute on a school bus and his grandparents threatened to send him back to his father. By the next morning, they were dead.

Dr. Pamela M. Crawford, a forensic psychiatrist who was asked by the case's prosecutor to examine the boy, concluded in her report that Christopher knew what he was doing when he took his grandparents' lives.

He provided "nonpsychotic reasons" for killing his grandparents, setting fire to the house, taking money from his grandparents and then stealing their car, Dr. Crawford's report states. "Following his detention by police, Christopher made self-protective statements to avoid arrest prior to admitting his actions."

Citing the continuing case, both Dr. Crawford and Dr. Atkins, the other forensic psychiatrist, declined to answer questions about their reports or court testimony.

At the time of the murders, questions about the safety of antidepressants were focused on adults, not youngsters. Just a few months earlier, a plaintiff's lawyer, Arnold Vickery, who is known as Andy, had convinced a federal jury hearing a lawsuit in Cheyenne, Wyo., that Paxil had caused a man to go on a murderous rampage.

In June 2001, that jury ordered  GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, to pay $6.5 million to the relatives of Donald Schell, who, two days after starting on the drug, murdered his wife, his daughter and his granddaughter before killing himself. The company appealed, before settling the case, for undisclosed terms.

It is hard to draw comparisons between civil lawsuits and criminal cases like the one involving Christopher Pittman. Still, the Wyoming verdict was significant because it was the first time, after more than a decade of litigation, that a jury had concluded that an S.S.R.I.-type antidepressant could make users so agitated and unbalanced that they could kill others or themselves.

The Wyoming award has not led to similar verdicts, and drug makers like Pfizer take the position that antidepressants do not cause suicide or homicide.

Contradictory Reports

Little is known about Christopher Pittman's response to Paxil, because he took the drug for only a few days. And reports about his reactions to Zoloft vary sharply.

He later told a psychiatrist that his mood changed on the medication, to the extent that he "didn't have any feelings."

The notes of the local doctor who prescribed the medication for Christopher paint a different picture, according to court records.

That physician, who saw Christopher just a few days before the killings, described him this way: "Lots of energy. No plans to harm self. Not flying off the handle.

Psychiatrists have long known that adult patients might experience increased suicidal thinking or agitation during the first weeks of treatment with S.S.R.I.-type antidepressants. But in May 2003 GlaxoSmithKline made a disclosure related to pediatric use of the drug, which would set off a cascade of events that are still in motion.

That month, the drug maker told the federal Food and Drug Administration and its British counterpart agency that its re-examination of published and unpublished test data showed that adolescents who took Paxil during clinical trials had more suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide more often than those who received a placebo. About six months earlier, a curious F.D.A. analyst had contacted the company seeking more safety information.

Within weeks, British drug regulators told doctors not to prescribe Paxil to new patients younger than 18. In June 2003, the F.D.A followed suit, and a month later the agency asked all antidepressant makers for more safety data about their pediatric tests. In the weeks leading up to an emotionally charged F.D.A. hearing this past February on antidepressant safety, doctors learned that the drug industry had not published all the data gathered during pediatric trials of the medications.

Dr. David G. Fassler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt., who attended the meeting, recalled being struck by the number of pediatric studies he had never known about although he followed medical journals.

"This was a lot more data than I knew existed," said Dr. Fassler, who is an official of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a professional group. That hearing also served as a public forum for grieving parents to testify about children who had committed suicide soon after they had started on antidepressants. Joe Pittman, Christopher's father, was there, reading a letter written by his son in prison, in which he blamed Zoloft for his grandparents' deaths.

"Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show," wrote Christopher, who is now 15. "You know what is going to happen but you can't do anything to stop it."

A Gathering of Lawyers

By then, his case had become the center of a pitched legal struggle. Mr. Vickery, the plaintiffs' lawyer who had won the Wyoming trial, was contacted about the Pittman case by the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, a group based in Utah opposed to antidepressant use.

Over the past decade, the group's director, Ann Blake Tracy, has become involved in several murder cases in which a defendant has been on antidepressants or other drugs. Ms. Tracy maintains that antidepressants "overstimulate the brain stem and cause you to go into a sleep-walk state where you can act out the nightmares you have." Mr. Vickery, who has been suing antidepressant makers since the mid-1990's, soon joined the defense team, offering his services for free. So did another plaintiffs' lawyer who has filed similar lawsuits, Karen Barth Menzies of Los Angeles.

Lawyers for Pfizer have also gotten involved. The case's prosecutor, Chester County Solicitor John R. Justice, was recently hospitalized with a serious illness and has not been available to comment. But he stated at a court hearing that Pfizer had provided information to him last year to help him prepare for the trial, according to a published report in The Herald, a newspaper in Rock Hill, S.C.

Christopher Taylor, an assistant country solicitor, said he thought that Pfizer had contacted Mr. Justice. The material provided by Pfizer, the article reported, included F.D.A. reports about Zoloft and previous court testimony by a psychiatrist, Dr. Peter R. Breggin, who is scheduled to testify on Christopher Pittman's behalf. Dr. Breggin, who has campaigned against the use of psychotropic drugs in children, has testified in numerous lawsuits and criminal trials that a link exists between S.S.R.I.-type antidepressants and both suicide and violence - positions rejected by drug makers like Pfizer and by many other experts.

"I have been given advice on how to cross Breggin," Mr. Justice was quoted as saying, adding that he had "been schooled on how these drugs are supposed to work."

See also related articles:

Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline Help Send Kids To Prison
May 29, 2006 - By Evelyn Pringle
In 2003, the pharmaceutical industry passed out $16.4 billion worth of free drug samples to doctors. These so-called free samples are literally killing people. Two young lads who were lucky enough to get free samples of Zoloft are now sitting in prison. After visits to their family doctors, Christopher Pittman and Zachary Schmidkunz were both sent home with a bag of Zoloft samples with no warnings about the drug's side effects. They both went on to commit murder, were sent to prison, and are now waiting for hearings on their appeals.

March 24, 2005
Teen shooter was taking Prozac
By Ceci Connolly and Dana Hedgpeth - Washington Post
RED LAKE, Minn. Two days after a shooting rampage on the Indian reservation in Red Lake left 10 dead, friends, relatives and neighbors of the teenage assailant began to sketch a portrait of a deeply disturbed youth who had been treated for depression in a psychiatric ward, lost several close family members, sketched gruesome scenes of armed warriors and had been removed from the school where he gunned down most of his victims Monday.

Sales reps told not to divulge Paxil data
In a memo last September, GlaxoSmithKline provided an update on concerns over its Paxil medicine, including study results showing a high incidence of suicide and hostility, but instructed its sales representatives in bold letters not to "discuss the contents" with doctors.


Psychiatric Treatment Causing Violence


Glaxo settles New York drug suit
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to publish results of clinical tests on its drugs, to settle a US lawsuit. The firm was sued by New York attorney-general Eliot Spitzer over allegations that it withheld negative information about its antidepressant pill, Paxil.

FDA Covers Up Report - Mosholder: 'Antidepressants Double Suicides in Children'

Pfizer Sued in California: Covering up Zoloft Side Effects

Tryptophan, Niacin Protect Against Alzheimer's

Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime

Links resource: Antipsychiatry on the Web

Doctors' body accuses drug firms of 'disease mongering'

Report decried giving drugs to kids


Are Antidepressants Addictive? - In Psychology Today by Tiffany Kary -- Publication Date: Jul/Aug 2003

Risks of Prozac revisited - Drug's link to violence not studied by FDA, data show
By Anne C. Mulkern - Denver Post Staff Writer

Washington Post, September 13
Experts had previously said that studies of Prozac found no increase in suicidal tendencies, but its unique status came into question yesterday. Hammad testified that a recent government-sponsored study, which researchers had described as convincing evidence of Prozac's effectiveness, found that it carried the same risk of triggering suicidal behavior as other drugs.

Washington Post, September 9
The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly urged antidepressant manufacturers not to disclose to physicians and the public that some clinical trials of the medications in children found the drugs were no better than sugar pills, according to documents and testimony released at a congressional hearing yesterday.

FDA urges stronger warning on antidepressants
An advisory panel recommended the use of a "black box" warning on antidepressant drug labels Tuesday, citing the increased risk of suicidal behavior in children taking such medications.

Doctors Say They Will Cut Antidepressant Use
By GARDINER HARRIS - September 16, 2004
Psychiatrists, pediatricians and family practice doctors said in interviews that they would restrict their use of antidepressants in the wake of a federal advisory committee's decision that the medicines should contain severe warnings about the risks of suicide.

Antidepressant aggression concern
Antidepressant drugs, such as Seroxat, could make people aggressive, or even homicidal, a leading specialist has warned

Drugs licensing flaws exposed - Special report: Pfizer advised on how to get antidepressant approved by member of body deciding on application - By Sarah Boseley Monday October 4, 2004 - The Guardian

Pharmaceutical companies and the FDA continue to suppress negative information about antidepressant drugs and violent behavior

US drug company knew that 'Prozac could lead to violence'

Psychiatrist: Company hid Prozac, suicide link

Zoloft Defense For Teen Killer
Feb. 1, 2005 - (CBS) A South Carolina jury will decide whether a slightly built 15-year-old is a vicious killer or was turned into one by a prescription drug. Christopher Pittman is charged with the November 2001 shooting of his grandparents and burning down their home in Chester, South Carolina. His attorneys blame the antidepressant Zoloft, reports CBS' Erin Moriarty.

Do SSRI antidepressants lead to an increase in violent behaviour?
They are the kind of killings that would chill even a crime writer's blood. Not motivated by money or social gain, not spurred by revenge, jealousy, or long-repressed rage, these bizarre and brutal slayings are committed by seemingly average people against strangers, intimates, and themselves. Almost all are unprovoked. Many appear to come out of nowhere. They range from school shootings such as Columbine to incidents of parents drowning, suffocating, or shooting their children, and children stabbing, burning, or shooting their parents, grandparents, and siblings. They include suicides so unexpected that loved ones are stunned with disbelief. Yet if some drug-awareness advocates, psychopharmacologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, judges, and juries are right, many are not random killings. The perpetrators have one thing in common: they took or were withdrawing from a class of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

And here a comment on a BBC-Panorama program by the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Promoting openness and full disclosure

BBC-Panorama is airing its third in a series of investigative reports about the betrayal of trust in psychiatry, drug manufacturers and government regulators.

The first program, The Secret of Seroxat, aired October 13, 2002, revealed in case after case, that Paxil / Seroxat caused severe adverse drug reactions--including previously unreported suicides.

Public response to the program -- and the thousands of people who reported their horrific experience on the drug, forced the British Medicine authority to convene an expert panel to examine the data. However, revelations of the panelists' conflicts of interest forced the agency to disband the first panel and convene a second panel.

When confronted with the previously concealed evidence of harm -- particularly harm to children and adolescents for whom the drugs had not shown a benefit in clinical trials -- led the British to prohibit the use of antidepressants for children, except Prozac.

This exception is inconsistent with Eli Lilly's UK Prozac label which specifically notes:

The action taken by UK regulators who were under pressure from the public, led the FDA to analyze the pediatric clinical trial data that the agency had ignored for years.

Tonight's program focuses on the collusion between UK government regulators and GlaxoSmithKline.

Dr Mike Shooter, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said of the Seroxat issue: "It has serious implications for the whole of psychiatry, it has serious implications for the whole of medicine."

"I think a few years down the line we are going to be talking about this with many more sorts of medication."

Indeed, Merck's belated withdrawal of Vioxx from the market is yet another example of the regulatory system's failure to protect the public.

But, as Panorama will show, the regulatory system is made up of officials, and those officials have been complicit in concealing the truth. They should be held accountable for the lives lost because of their failure to reveal the facts.

FDA officials have failed to protect the public from hazardous drugs -- including drugs that increase heart attacks, and drugs whose adverse effects are so severe that some people are driven to commit suicide.

FDA officials have lied under oath and they should be held accountable. FDA officials have intervened in court to shield drug manufacturers from being held accountable for concealing evidence of harm, and making false advertising claims. They should be held accountable.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Tel: 212-595-8974

Taken on Trust

We take it on trust that the drugs our doctors prescribe are safe and effective.

But this special investigation exposes huge failings in the system of medicines regulation that is supposed to monitor drug safety.

It reveals how patients' lives have been put at risk as a result.

For the last two years, Panorama has been investigating claims that Seroxat can cause addiction, self-harm, aggression and even suicide.

The medicines regulator always denied there was evidence to back up these claims.

But now the programme reveals that, not only is the evidence there, it's been lying dormant in the regulator's archive for at least 13 years.

One insider tells the programme: "I have little confidence that the drugs they're licensing day by day are being licensed in a way that I would feel appropriate and - I have very little confidence in drugs that have been regulated in the past."

Some of the most influential names in medicine are now asking if we're being told the truth about the pills that we take.

Dr Mike Shooter, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said of the Seroxat issue: "It has serious implications for the whole of psychiatry, it has serious implications for the whole of medicine."

"I think a few years down the line we are going to be talking about this with many more sorts of medication."

Forty years after the thalidomide tragedy prompted the setting up of drug safety monitoring, the regulator is accused of letting down the patients it's supposed to be there to protect.

April 2005: Received by email from
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability

A class lawsuit by US investors has been filed against GlaxoSmithKline in the US federal District Court in New York, alleging violation of securities laws.

The suit charges GSK issued "false or misleading public statements" about the antidepressant, Paxil (Seroxat).

The law firm Stull, Stull & Brody announce:

If you purchased GlaxoSmithKline common stock between February 21, 2001 and August 5, 2004, inclusive, you may, no later than June 13, 2005, request the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff.

Last year, the NYS Attorney General brought criminal charges against GSK for the very same violations--the case was settled under a court decree.

Vera Hassner Sharav

April 14, 2005

Depressing news for GSK

Shareholders of GlaxoSmithKline have filed a class action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant for allegedly concealing problems with Paxil, its antidepressant drug for teenagers.

New York law firm Stull, Stull & Brody said a suit seeking class-action status had been filed in the US District Court for the Southern section of New York. The case is being fought on behalf of investors who bought shares in GSK between February 21, 2001 and August 5, 2004, the legal firm said.

The disgruntled shareholders allege the UK-based company violated securities laws by issuing "false or misleading public statements"....

September 2005: State Supreme Court To Hear Chris Pittman Appeal

Video: Antidepressants and School Shootings, Suicide, Addiction
A shocking Compilation of Video clips showing negative side effects of Antidepressants. Suicide, homicide even to the point of school shootings. Best Case scenario you only experience Withdrawal and Addiction. My solution has not been medications/drugs but a company called Truehope.

December 2007:
Supreme Court Asked To Review Zoloft Case
This is one case Pfizer, and several other drugmakers, wanted to go away. But instead, attorneys from the University of Texas law school are asking the US Supreme Court to hear the case of a teenager who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his grandparents when he was 12 years old. Their argument is that the sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.

Of course, the court has to agree to hear the case. But should that come to pass, another aspect is likely to get attention - Christopher Pittman was taking Zoloft at the time he used a shotgun to shoot his grandparents, and then set fire to their home in 2001. During his trial four years later, his attorneys argued, unsuccessfully, that the rampage was heavily influenced by the antidepressant, which Pfizer has always denied.

US Senator Grassley Probes Paxil Suicide Risks
The Republican Senator from Iowa wants the agency to "carefully scrutinize" info from Glaxo after reviewing a report about suicide risks among adults using the antidepressant. Chuck has also asked the FDA to review findings released earlier this year by UK regulators, which charged the drugmaker with knowing about suicide risks in children since 1998.

Paxil And Placebo Suicides
Grassley cited a report prepared by Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatry professor, for litigation in federal court in California over Paxil side effects. The report was unsealed earlier this year, but was missing some pages. Last week, those pages became available and include a section that describes in some detail how Glaxo allegedly manipulated so-called placebo suicides.

Is there a link between antidepressants and violence?
In 2006, David Crespi, a former banking executive with no criminal record or history of violence, killed his twin five-year-old daughters, stabbing them multiple times with a kitchen knife. He then called the police and sat with his daughters, blood all over him, until they arrived. Crespi, who was living with his wife and family in Charlotte, North Carolina (they have three other children), pled guilty to avoid the death penalty and is now serving a life sentence for the murders.

What wasn't mentioned at the time is the fact that Crespi was taking Prozac when he killed his daughters, along with the sleeping pill Ambien. He was taking the drugs (and had previously taken Zoloft and Paxil) because he couldn't sleep and was very anxious about losing his job with Wachovia Bank. Crespi became agitated and delusional on Prozac, according to his wife, Kim. Seven days after starting the drug, he killed their twin daughters, Tess and Samantha.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday August 26 2004
updated on Wednesday December 8 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

My own mother is dead because of Paxil. My sister and I were caregivers for both parents until they died. My mother and sister were each on Paxil(for different reasons). One night in May 2002, they went into combat with each other. Neither had ever been violent in their entire lives. For a reason my sister does not know(she has no memories of the fatal night, and a psychiareist said in court she never will remember)our mother slapped my sister hard on her face. I saw the bruise the next day. After their conflict was over our dear mother was dead. Now my poor seriously ill sister is in prison and quite possibly will die there if she cannot become free. I miss my mother every day, but so does my poor sister. Noone wanted this tragedy to happen, but I know with all my heart and soul that Paxil is the reason it did. I saw what Paxil did to my sister and I believe it to hold serious danger for some individuals.....Regards

Posted by: Norma Campbell on January 11, 2005 06:10 AM


It is a sad day in history for our country when we take
our children at the age of 12 and lock them up and throw
away the keys.

A child is considered a child in every aspect of the
laws goverened by the United States of America,and should be considered a child in the United States court system.

The makers of Zoloft have never proven that Christopher
did not have an adverse reaction to Zoloft just as his
attorneys could not prove that he did. This is a high price this child must pay for uncertainity surrounding these drugs.

I will never believe that a child of a young age can not
be helped under any circumstance. What good will it do to lock up a child for
30 years, giving them no education,no emotional or mental counceling. Putting them with hardened criminals to suffer beatings,abuse and even death. What type of person do you think will be coming out into a world they
will have no idea how to survive in? Do we not have enough of them now?

This country has the means to do better for our children.
The legislators of this nation need to stand up to the plate and amend these laws that NO CHILD ever be sent to the adult court system
This is state santioned child abuse and has to stop.

This is the true "NO Child Left Behind " campaign .

How can we as "America" tell other countries that we are
a caring and loving people when we are doing this to OUR

J Sisk

Posted by: janet Sisk on March 27, 2005 03:05 AM


Dear Janet: I agree with you one hundred percent. I have written every politician I could think of. I wrote the Judge many times and the Attorney General from South Carolina in regards to Christopher Pittman. I am convinced that his actions were the results of the Zoloft and the Paxil that he was coming off of. Judge Pieper denied the reduced sentence motion. What else can we do to help Christopher besides prayer?

Thanks You
Clare O'Keefe

Posted by: Clare O'Keefe on April 13, 2005 04:28 PM


those that would like to help in the fight to save our children please go to this petition site.
I will be presenting a bill to the SC legislature in the next several months .

It is a juvenile justice reform bill ridding mandatory sentencing for children as adults.

please sign this petition and view the purposed bill and pass this on . we need as many signatures as possible to show the leaders of this nation that we the people are tired of their quick fix approach and we the people want reform for our children .

Janet Sisk

Posted by: janet sisk on May 8, 2005 01:47 AM


An update on Christopher Pittman...his motion for a new trial was denied, even tho the judge did say there was juror misconduct, in his opinion, it wasn't enough to declare a mistrial. Unbelievable! A juror felt a vote of not guilty and, yet was told there needed to be a unanimous vote??? Maybe it was the judge's instructions that needed to be looked at. The next step is the SC State Court of Appeals...things aren't looking up right now. They don't reconvene til September. For his next birthday, this young man gets to go to adult prison. What a gift!

Posted by: jlaqua on May 25, 2005 11:04 PM


A petition has been written to support a bill entitled "Christopher's Bill - Juvenile Justice Reform Act," named for young Christopher Pittman. This bill is in the preliminary stages and is being written to reform the mandatory sentencing laws for children ages 14 and under. Please go to the petition site and sign this bill : WE NEED YOUR HELP.

Posted by: Patricia on May 29, 2005 04:54 PM


A comment received by email:

Arianna's Call For Drug-Violence Investigation Never More Timely!

Kelly Preston

Thu Jul 14, 2:30 AM ET

Kirstie Alley and I recently supported 20 doctors from various health care fields, including family physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, researchers, nutritionists and surgeons in a letter to the FDA calling on it to strengthen its warnings on stimulants and antidepressants, especially when prescribed to children.

This was in response to the FDA's recent warning that not only do antidepressants cause hostility and suicidal behavior in children, but also stimulant drugs [June 28 FDA advisory]. The doctors' letter states: "We can no longer sit back and let the clock tick, waiting for more deaths, suicides or people driven to violent acts by psychotropic drugs. The FDA must continue to be vigilant, to root out other substances that have -- one way or the other -- slipped under the radar screen, and are now wreaking havoc with the nation's youth."

It's timely, then, to review article four years ago entitled, 'P' is for Preschoolers and Prozac when she called for an "ongoing investigation into the connection between outbreaks of violence and drugs such as Prozac and Luvox," and [urged] that legislators should do so, "before our kids are turned into a troop of drugged-out zombies."

Parents are still largely unaware that these drugs are turning kids into walking time bombs. Eight out of the last 13 school shooters were taking prescribed psychiatric drugs, and only now is the FDA investigating the fact these drugs can cause violence. Legislators are still not waking up to the need for investigation -- despite the Jeff Weise tragedy in March when the teen, after being prescribed an antidepressant, shot dead his grandparents and then classmates and school officials.

Now adding to the alarm bell we have the Partnership for a Drug Free America report that teens don't consider these drugs dangerous because they are prescribed. However, the DEA classifies them in the same category of highly addictive drugs such as cocaine, opium and morphine. At least 10 percent of teens are abusing the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. A "troop of drugged-out zombies" is frighteningly real. (Watch for Lawrence Bender's latest movie, Chumscrubber: Meet Generation Rx -- an accurate portrayal of the current epidemic of teen prescription drug abuse.)

The recent controversy over these drugs has also raised another important debate: that parents across America are administering them for conditions they have been led to believe are the result of a "chemical imbalance" in the brain or some sort of brain-based disorder. Yet, the medical doctors in their letter to the FDA make it clear that these "potentially harmful substances" are being prescribed for "disorders that have no neurobiological or physical cause." Even the president of the APA, Steven Sharfstein, recently admitted that there is no "clean cut lab test" to determine a chemical imbalance can cause "mental illness." This has prompted concerns about the FDA's drug approval process and why it approves so many psychiatric drugs for what is essentially behavioral control rather than treatment of medical illness.

Perhaps it's time to add another "P" to Arianna's original article title to reflect today's current drug dilemma: "Preschoolers, Prozac and Pandora's Box." The lid is coming off to show these drugs are destroying our youth. Legislators take note: psychiatric drugs, their abuse, and drug-induced violence still needs the investigation Arianna called for in 2000

Posted by: Sepp on July 16, 2005 07:44 PM


I was delighted to see the letter from Kelly Preston and what she has spoke of. We need for so many to stand up to this issue. We are losing to many of our children because of these drugs. And even worse putting them in prison from the age of 12 to 42 as in the case of Christopher Pittman. All because he as a child did what an adult told him to do . Take a pill prescribed by his doctor.

I will not stop fighting to get this young man free, now 16 and has been in jail for 4 years and next year will be tranferred to an adult prison. Please whoever you are, whatever power you may have, a reg working person to a star, stand up and help me speak out for this child. I know this family and I truly believe this would have never happened if Christopher was never given that medication. This child does not deserve to spend his life in prison. His family begs for Christophers release. Help me help them.

janet Sisk

Posted by: Janet Sisk on July 25, 2005 03:24 AM


One Zoloft almost killed me and robbed me of two and half years of my life! Zoloft needs to be very dangerous killer drug!

Posted by: Frankie on August 21, 2005 07:38 AM


Prozak and Zoloft are very dangerous drugs, there are much better drugs on the market.

Posted by: Frankie on August 21, 2005 07:41 AM


Our 12 year old daughter was prescribed Zoloft for generalized anxiety. A few months later, without signs or warning, my wife found her lifeless body hanging in her room.
There's a documentary which recently premiered at the Ft.Lauderdale Film Festival title PRESCRIPTION:SUICIDE?.
Thanks to the documentary's producers, people like you, and families like us who lost a child to these drugs, maybe one family can be spared the nightmare we experienced.
AD in Maryland

Posted by: Regarding antidepressant for Children on December 28, 2005 11:13 PM


I have been reading this for an essay topic in my college class. I chose this topic because my son who just turned five was put on Concerta for ADHD. I knew there had been problems with the medications that treat this and other problems with diseases. I am very glad I am researching this because I am finding out what symptoms to look out for. I am also going to do more research on Zoloft. I have been on this for 6 months due to an anxiety disorder. Thank you for all the help.

Posted by: A Faso on March 16, 2006 03:28 AM


The effects of long-term addiction has shown that substantial changes in the way the brain functions are present long after the addict has stopped using drugs. Realizing that a drug addict who wishes to recover from their addiction needs more than just strong will power is the key to a successful recovery. Battling not only cravings for their drug of choice, re-stimulation of their past and changes in the way their brain functions, it is no wonder that quitting drugs without professional help is an uphill battle.
Adam brown
Wyoming Drug Treatment Centers

Posted by: Adam Brown on May 7, 2009 05:52 AM


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