Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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April 04, 2005

Prozac-Driven Violence: Time To Act?

Prozac, like other drugs of its class, has been linked to both suicides and to bouts of violence - unprovoked shootings in schools and tragedies that have left families and indeed nations shocked, but it seems the FDA is less than willing to change things. Warnings on drug labels were reluctantly introduced last year, but some of these have been watered down since then.

Bush is pushing for widespread testing of school children ... to be given drugs if they turn out to have views or behavior that isn't in line with what psychiatrists think it should be.

But despite all that official trust in psychiatry and the chemical way to change our behavior, perhaps it's time to really examine this more closely. And perhaps it's time even to radically change course and recognize that people are different from one another - that there is no such thing as mental illness that may be conveniently treated with pills.

A friend in Canada comments:

As long as MONEY buys POLICY, and DRUGS are first and foremost a SALES COMMODITY, divorced from improving health, we are well on the road to becoming a population that is drugged to death by mandatory edict. As long as the biggest swindler drug-pushers sit in "positions of authority", the trade will continue, unchallenged by a strangely silent media and judiciary.  Ironical that any parent who tries to protect his/her child from these demonic potions is vulnerable for being charged with child-abuse on the basis of "medical neglect", and to have the child removed from the home, made a "ward of the state", for his/her "PROTECTION". Indeed, the world is up-side down". And far too few people are informed - thanks to a complicit media - to become incensed and/or determined to set it upright again.

We all have trouble from time to time. Prozac and similar drugs obviously are not the answer.

See this excellent article by Alexander Cockburn, put on line by Counterpunch...

- - -

But the Pills Your Mother Gives You...

Death, Depression and Prozac


New Dehli, India.

(original link to Counterpunch)

Jeff Weise, teen slayer of ten, including himself, at the Red Lake Indian reservation in northern Minnesota, was on Prozac, prescribed by some doc.  How did the consultation go?  "Here Jeff, take these, they may help you get over life's little problems, like the fact that when you were eight your dad committed suicide and when you were ten your cousin was killed in a car wreck that left your mom with partial paralysis and an injured brain.  And let's face it, Jeff, most likely you'll never get off the res.  You're here for the rest of your life. " Cut to a shot of the doc holding up a Prozac bottle, like the kindly fellow in the white coat and mirrored headband in 1950s Lucky Strike ads, telling us that Luckies were a fine way to soothe a raspy throat.

The minute the high command at Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, saw those news stories about Weise you can bet they went into crisis mode, and only began to relax when Weise's websurfs of neo-Nazi sites took over the headlines.  Hitler trumps Prozac every time, particularly if it's an Injun teen ranting about racial purity.  How many times, amid the carnage of such homicidal sprees, do investigators find a prescription for antidepressants at the murder scene?  Luvox at Columbine, Prozac at Louisville, Kentucky, where Joseph Wesbecker killed nine, including himself.  You'll find many such stories in the past fifteen years.

By now the Lilly defense formula is pretty standardized: self-righteous handouts about the company's costly research and rigorous screening, crowned by the imprimatur of that watchdog for the public interest, the FDA.  And of course there's the bogus comfort of numbers; if Lilly's pill factory had a big sign like MacDonald's, it could boast Prozac: Billions Served.

Each burst in the sewage pipe brings a new challenge to Lilly's sales force, which has had some heavy hitters down the years, including George Herbert Walker Bush (onetime member of the Lilly board of directors);  former Enron CEO Ken Lay (onetime member of the board);  George W. Bush's former director of the Office of Management and Budget,  Mitch Daniels (a former senior vice president);  George W. Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council member Sidney Taurel (a Lilly CEO); or the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (a recipient of Lilly funding).

At the turn of this year there was a five-alarm incident when the British Medical Journal went back to the 1994 Wesbecker suit against Lilly, reminding the world that the company had been involved in some shifty footwork involving a back-door payoff to the plaintiffs in a deal that successfully excluded from Judge John Potter's courtroom the regulatory case history of Oraflex, a highly compromised Lilly product, which displayed the company's supposed disclosures to the FDA in an unpleasing light.

Lilly rose to the challenge, successfully persuading gullible journalists that the real story concerned a lonely freelancer writing for BMJ and not a powerful pharmaceutical company with a huge advertising budget.  The press dutifully shifted its focus from Lilly's outrageous efforts to suppress evidence to the narrow question of whether a piece of evidence had really been in the public record in the years since 1997, when Judge Potter changed his verdict to "dismissed as settled with prejudice," very far from the victory Lilly had been claiming.

That's the trouble with time, as Paul Krassner joked about Waldheimer's Disease, which is when you get old and forget you were a Nazi.  But it's never too late to review the origins of the Depression Industry in the late 1980s, and the saga of what happened after three Lilly researchers concocted a potion in the mid-1970s they christened fluoxetine hydrochloride, later known to the world as Prozac.

Long years of rigorous testing?  When Fred Gardner and I investigated the selling of depression and Prozac in the mid-1990s, we found that clinical trials excluded suicidal patients, children and the elderly although once FDA approval was granted, the drug could be prescribed for anyone.  

According to Dr. Peter Breggin, the well-known psychiatrist who analyzed the FDA's approval of Prozac, it was based, ultimately, on three studies indicating that fluoxetine relieved some symptoms of depression more effectively than a placebo, and in the face of nine studies indicating no positive effect.  Only sixty- three patients were on fluoxetine (fluoexetine hydrochloride was branded as Prozac in the mid 70s) for a period of more than two years.  By 1988 the National Institute of Mental Health had not only put the government stamp of approval on corporate-funded depression research but had created a mechanism whereby government money and personnel could be employed to stimulate demand for corporate products.

Psychiatrists - a breed whose adepts, so stated a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 1980, commit suicide at twice the national rate--have been central to the entire enterprise.  The process linking their sorcery to the corporate bottom line has a robust simplicity to it.  As Prozac came off Lilly's research bench and headed for the mass production line psychiatrists labored to formulate a multitude of bogus pathologies to be installed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, whose chief editor in the 1980s was Robert Spitzer MD, an orgone box veteran and adept copywriter skilled at minting new ailments for late twentieth-century America and sanctioning treatment, medication, state funding for the requisite pills (no expensive consultative therapy) and reimbursement by insurance companies.

When detailed research showed likely linkage of Prozac to violent acts. Lilly-liveried psychiatrists were there to douse the flames of doubt.  In 1991 the FDA's Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee met to decide whether Prozac should carry a warning label about links to suicide.  Five out of the ten panel members (eight of whom were shrinks) had active financial interests in the drugs the committee was investigating, and all voted against requiring a warning, their obvious conflicts duly sanitized by the toothless FDA.  Other shrinks in the hire of the drug companies urged ever wider application of Prozac to remedy social angst, inclcluding plans for compulsory Prozac-dosing of youngsters.

In 2000, when hundreds of farmers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh were committing suicide because of neoliberal policies that had destroyed their livelihoods, the state government announced it was sending out a team of shrinks to determine why the farmers were depressed.  The implication was that these people were mentally unstable.  But in India credulity about the causes of depression is not so far advanced.  The plan provoked a storm of ridicule, and in the elections that followed the Andhra Pradesh government, darling of Western neoliberals, was duly trounced.

No such happy chance in the United States, where government is in the pay of drug companies and prescriptions for antidepressants have long since taken over from political manifestos that would cure depression by collective social action.  How they must have cheered at Eli Lilly when the Senate wiped out Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy statutes, fostering family violence, heightened crime and a vast new potential market for Prozac and kindred potions at the stroke of a pen.

See also:

Britain set for clash with Europe over ban on Prozac for under-18s
Europe's drugs watchdog has banned Prozac and other modern antidepressants for under-18s because of safety fears, putting it on a collision course with Britain's drugs regulator. Antidepressants increase suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among children and adolescents, and should not be used to treat depression, the scientific panel of the European Medicines Agency (Emea) said. Including Prozac in the ban clashes with the stance taken by Britain's drugs regulator 16 months ago. Prozac is the only antidepressant that doctors can prescribe to children in Britain, following a safety review in 2003.

Psychology Today - Better than Prozac

Drugs firms 'creating ills for every pill'
Expensive new medicines are oversold when cheaper therapies or prevention would work better, say MPs

Teen shooter was taking Prozac

Able Child Org

Court TV on Pittman trial and Zoloft

The Harm Suffered by Many People Because of a Psychiatric Diagnosis Is a Well-Kept Secret

Heartland Org - Commentary: No Child Left Unmedicated

Bush - Labeling Kids Mentally Ill For Profit - By Evelyn Pringle

Consumers Union - Prescription for Change
(watch the video and song by the Austin Lounge Lizards)

MindFreedom: United Action for Human Rights in Mental Health

How Lilly Gilded Prozac's Profile
By Melissa Davis - 5/10/2005
This spring, Jeff Weise shot himself dead after taking the popular antidepressant Prozac...

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.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday April 4 2005
updated on Friday December 10 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

FDA Covers Up Report - Mosholder: 'Antidepressants Double Suicides in Children'
According to a recent article published in the British Medical Journal, a scientific report by one of its researchers, Dr. Andrew Mosholder, showing that antidepressant drugs double the suicide rate in children taking them, was suppressed by the FDA. Instead of owning up to its mistake and issuing generalized warnings, the agency has launched a criminal investigation to find out which employees leaked Dr. Mosholder's report. Apart from the FDA's... [read more]
August 12, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

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... [read more]
August 26, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

FDA Orders Antidepressant Suicide Warnings Over Psychiatric Association Resistance
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been strangely resistant to the idea of warning patients of an increased risk of suicides when taking antidepressant drugs or SSRIs. One would think that psychiatrists should be the first ones to call for such warnings, but perhaps they fear to "lose ground" to natural alternatives in the treatment of mental disorders, which they have been persecuting for decades, concentrating their treatment efforts nearly... [read more]
October 16, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime
Plans to screen whole US population for mental illness According to a recent article in the British Medical Journal, US president George Bush is to announce a major "mental health" initiative in this coming month of July. The proposal will extend screening and psychiatric medication to kids and grown-ups all over the US, following a pilot scheme of recommended medication practice developed in Texas and already exported to several other... [read more]
June 23, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Prozac Approval Flawed: Suicide Link Was Known Before FDA OK
The British Medical Journal has apologized to Eli Lilly for implying in a recent article that scientific documents about Prozac's side effects had "gone missing" during a legal case some years ago, as reported by BBC today. But here is the important data that almost get drowned out by the noise over a largely irrelevant point: Eli Lilly, as the maker of Prozac, has been aware of serious side effects... [read more]
January 28, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

Investigator Exposes Pharma Corruption - Loses Job
An investigator with the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General was removed from his post and sent home after he talked to the press about his discovery of a black bank account fed by pharma companies Janssen and Pfizer and apparently used to pay off FDA officials in charge of approving drugs. The story is reported in the British Medical Journal.... [read more]
May 15, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

This is getting very scary, and reminds me of the cult classic sci-fi movie 'THX 1138.' Take your government-approved pills and be a good little citizen, or you'll be hunted down with help from "Amber Alert." It seems so sad and wasteful how much of our resources are being used to create misery and destruction, when we could be healing people and communities with natural and organic remedies and systems. We just need to keep educating, exposing, demanding, and transforming. Otherwise we will wake up one morning to the message, "This day has been brought to you by Wakenall!"

Posted by: Visionaerie on April 5, 2005 11:59 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 Arianna's 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 07:43 PM


First off, I'm going to assume that you have NEVER really suffered from a mental illness. Second off, I'm going to assume that you have a BIAS, because you think you should be the only point of view. You don't know the first thing about prescription drugs, and therein lies the problem, some doctors don't.
You never thought that maybe some people really do have mental problems that are due to a mental imbalance? Also, you assume that these people who killed others in those instances killed because of the drugs. Did you ever think that maybe there might just be another reason they did it? Also, did you know that if a patient is MISDIAGNOSED and given a medicine that does not treat their mental disorder, that can have be effects on the brain? Doesn't all this fall back on the doctors, not the drug companies? They are the ones who pronounce people as mentally-ill. A lot of them don't know what they are doing, and they do just shove a bunch of random drugs down patient's throats to treat depression. Doctors like that, lazy doctors who are ignorant as to what they do, are the reason why this kind of violence happens. I am speaking of this issue from a firsthand perspective. I was going through one of my bad "phases" as I always called them, and I didn't just think of killing myself, I tried it multiple times. I almost succeeded twice before i decided to see a doctor, and when I finally did he got me on an ssri, a light dose to begin with. It was all I needed, it balanced my brain out. However, he did not simply shove medicine down my throat to treat me. He listened to me and he did what he could to really help me. Bad doctors are to blame for the violence, not prescription drugs.

Posted by: Matthew Groenert on October 31, 2008 05:01 AM


"Doesn't all this fall back on the doctors, not the drug companies? They are the ones who pronounce people as mentally-ill." Well, it actually falls back on ourselves. We are the ones ultimately in control of what we swallow or what treatments we get. Your experience obviously is different from mine. Perhaps that could explain the difference in point of view.

Posted by: Sepp on November 14, 2008 04:36 AM


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