Send lawyers, guns and money

It seems like every other month, we read about another tragedy involving a troubled young person resorting to mass violence. But in all the talk about guns, lawmakers omit one key issue from all the politically correct rhetoric.

Instead, the debate quickly turned to the need for more government interference. More gun control. Background checks. And more security.

But a common thread links almost all of the recent violent incidents involving young assailants. In fact, in almost every recent case of headline-grabbing violence, the young assailant took a drug. Not cocaine. Not PCP. And not pot.

Instead, many of these troubled youths dutifully took antidepressants. Drugs prescribed to help them feel better. Except they never started to feel better.

It is alarming enough when mentally disturbed, depressed patients harbor thoughts about harming themselves. Sometimes, they also harbor thoughts about harming others. I’ve talked about this before in the Daily Dispatch Popular drugs help only 1 in 7 patients.

When people are depressed, they turn inward. They close themselves off. They think about doing bad things, often to themselves. But they lack the energy to carry out these actions. So they just keep thinking about them. This is called thought substitution.

Now, give that depressed person Prozac, and all of a sudden, they have the energy to carry out their harmful thoughts. And their treatment never addressed the underlying cause of the depression. So the results far too often turn tragic.

Recently, a public safety group pointed out the link between antidepressant use and violence. The group reviewed 75 attacks that occurred over the last 25 years. These included school shootings, stabbings, massacres, machete-attacks, hostage-takings, and bombings.

Without a doubt, the reviewers noted, attacks have become much more frequent in recent years. These deadly assaults occurred not just in the U.S. They also occurred in relatively “gun free” countries, such as Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, and Japan.

Assailants in these cases took several different kinds of prescription drugs and antidepressants. These included ADHD medications, Celexa, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Strattera, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft.

When brought to trial for murder, four of these assailants got off completely using an “antidepressant defense.” The standard of evidence in a homicide trial is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

As I will describe in the upcoming April issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I have personally witnessed several civil court lawsuits that implicated these drugs in suicide deaths. It’s also common to see civil class action lawsuits brought against drug companies that make other dangerous drugs. So why not recognize antidepressants in “class actions” for their role in causing suicides and apparently mass homicides?

Now, as I said, the mass homicide data comes from law enforcement and legal investigations. And my personal experience as a Medical Examiner. Epidemiological statistical studies are still dithering on the suicide issue. They are so blinded by guns, that they have not seriously considered the role of prescription drugs in mass homicides.

Based on all the evidence, we should further investigate the link between antidepressants and violence. It’s a matter of public safety. Now, if only the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. would take notice.

Following the Connecticut shooting, the International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry did issue a statement calling for more research. They want to see more research into the link between psychotropic drugs and violence.

There is a torrent of statistical studies and editorials on guns and violence. But why isn’t there more medical research on the association between antidepressants and gun violence involving homicide?

There are critical factors involved beyond guns and ammunition. And the “smoking gun” points straight at antidepressants.

You’ll find out more about the dangers of SSRIs–as well as the safer treatment options for depression–in the April issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you don’t yet subscribe to my newsletter, you can get started here.