Originally published April 2 2008
Antidepressant Drugs Linked to School Shootings
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A parents' rights organization has called on Congress to investigate a potential link between psychiatric drugs and school shootings, and called for parents to be better informed about the risks of such medications. New York-based Ablechild accused the mental health industry of "[continuing] to downplay the risks of drugs widely prescribed to millions."
According to statistics from Medwatch, the drug reporting system maintained by the FDA, there have been 63,000 cases of people on antidepressants committing suicide in the United States.
"With 1.5 million children currently on antidepressants in the United States alone, Ablechild is deeply concerned about the number of children being prescribed these powerful and potentially lethal drugs," the organization said in a press release.
Ablechild said that eight recent school shooters were taking antidepressant medication at the time of their crimes, and that most parents are unaware of this fact. Among the shooters taking antidepressants were Eric Harris in Columbine, Colorado, and Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Oregon.
The drugs being taken by the shooters have been "documented to cause not only suicidal ideation but also mania, psychosis, hostility, hallucinations and even 'homicidal behavior,'" Ablechild said.
The organization criticizes doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for failing to properly warn parents of the side effects of such drugs, even though the FDA recently added a "black box" warning about suicide to many antidepressant medications. In addition, Ablechild says that parents are rarely told that there is no physical component to diagnoses such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and depression, and that the categorization of some behavior clusters as "disorders" is still controversial.
The organization said that doctors often fail to focus their attention on underlying educational or medical issues that may be the ultimate cause of behavioral or attention difficulties. Such issues include problems with vision, nutrition, sleep or exercise.
Such underlying problems, Ablechild says, "are at best merely masked by powerful antidepressants and stimulants."
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