Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

Virginia Tech School Shooting

Mass Violence Caused by Antidepressants and SSRI Drugs

Recent cases of mass violence such as the Joseph Wesbecker in Virginia that shot his co-workers,  the Virginia Tech murders,  the Columbine Shootings, and the shootings at Fort Hood,  all point to the fact that anti-depressant and SSRI medication are dangerous to the public.  These medications can cause homicidal thinking which results in public violence and also in suicides.  The pharmaceutical industry wants to use the returning veterans as a huge potential pharmaceutical drug customer base.   All veterans are trained to use weapons and often have weapons easily at hand.  With Post Traumatic Stress a major problem in the returning troops,  we have a social problem to deal with their mental health needs.  With the US government picking up the tab, the pharmaceutical companies are lobbying heavily to increase their expected profits from the sales of drugs for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers. The huge numbers of returning veterans are a prime target of their sales efforts. Big Pharma pours lots of money into the political campaigns of those who support their agenda.  These huge pharmaceutical companies have persons on the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health that are pushing to do wholesale marketing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's) and other mind altering drugs to veterans with PTSD.  The constantly expanding prison population is another target for the SSRI drug marketing and especially those prisoners facing re-entry and who will soon have Medicaid/Medicare to pay their pharmaceutical bills.      -  


When SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft were first introduced in the late 1980's and early 1990's there were reports of increasing violent behavior including suicide and homicide. There were in 2003 reports by British authorities and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about unpublished studies showing an increased risk of suicide in children and teenagers taking Paxil. Prior reports of suicidal and homicidal acts in adults taking SSRIs have been minimized by the pharmaceutical company defenders and mainstream doctors, who claim that suicide is common in depression anyway. 


The recent violence Nov. 5, 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas in which a military psychiatrist shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 others gives us good reason to reconsider these psychiatric drug treatments for military personnel and veterans. This incident reminded me of the Northern Illinois University mass shootings where former grad student Stephen Kazmierczak killed 5 students and wounding dozens of others before committing suicide himself.  This gunman had been taking the drug Paxil prior to his mass killings. The drug manufacturer had been deliberately withholding information about violent behavior as an adverse effect of the medication.   Now the drug Paxil carries a black box warning about homicide and suicide.  On Sept 14, 2004, an FDA panel voted 18 to 5 to require manufacturers of all antidepressants to add black box warnings to their product labeling.  A month later, the FDA adopted the panel's recommendations. The warning reads in part: "Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of [Drug Name] or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need.  Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior."  The warning specifically links antidepressant use to suicidal behavior in four percent of kids on these drugs compared to two percent for kids on placebos.  


No type of antidepressant is helpful in every clinical case or even indicated. These drugs can actually make the situation worse.  As a class of drugs SSRIs can create a unique combination of side effects that may severely impair judgment and impulse control in individual patients. Excessive doses of antidepressants can cause brain dysfunctions including disorientation, confusion, and cognitive disturbances.  In combat veterans suffering PTSD, impulsive behavior, especially if coupled with impaired cognitive functioning, can be dangerous. Antidepressants can also trigger similar, manic-like symptoms in people whose depression is part of a manic-depressive syndrome, which often gets overlooked when people are given SSRIs.   Is public safety enhanced when “patients” are given SSRI’s and are persons on SSRI’s less likely to do gun violence?  The pharmaceutical corporations would lead you to believe that a person taking these drugs is less likely to commit suicide and less likely to do gun violence to others.  But is that really true?   


The use of secret settlements to withhold information about a known harm of a pharmaceutical drug was very evident in the Fentress case, in which the Kentucky Supreme Court found that lawyers who engaged in an ongoing trial after a secret settlement had already been reached. Judge Potter said their conduct showed "a serious lack of candor with the trial court, and there may have been deception, bad faith conduct, abuse of the judicial process or perhaps even fraud." [Potter v. Eli Lilly & Co., 926 S.W.2d 449, 454 (Ky. 1996).]    In summary the Fentress case was about a violent incident in September 1989.  Joseph Wesbecker armed himself with an AK-47, walked into the Louisville printing plant where he had worked, and started shooting his former co-workers.  After killing eight people, wounded twelve more, and the man finished matters by committing suicide with his gun. Only one month before, Wesbecker had begun taking Prozac.  The known problems of violent behavior of patients on this medication had been withheld from the public, governmental regulators and even medical professionals.  The lawyers for the shooting victims soon focused on the drug Prozac, manufactured by Eli Lilly, as the cause for Wesbecker's unexpected violence.  With the sales of the drug Prozac at $1.7 billion in 1994 there was a lot at stake in this legal case. The Plaintiff's counsel had information about the withholding of research findings regarding another Eli Lilly drug Oraflex. In 1985, Lilly had pled guilty to twenty-five criminal counts of failing to report adverse reactions to Oraflex, including four deaths, to the Food & Drug Administration. But then suddenly during the trial the Oraflex evidence was no longer going to be presented to the court. There was an experienced and astute Judge on the case, John Potter, who suspected something was afoul despite the lawyers' denials and their references to a damages phase, Potter suspected that a deal had been made before closing argument.  When the plaintiffs didn't file a notice of appeal, Judge Potter became suspicious and thus called in the lawyers from both sides for consultation.  But the lawyers continued to deny that a settlement had been reached.  When the appeals court ruled against Judge Potter saying he no longer had jurisdiction, Potter was not satisfied and appealed the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  Finally in a Supreme Court hearing, lawyers for both sides finally acknowledged that they had indeed settled all money issues and had agreed to go through only the liability phase of the trial no matter what the result.  Judge John Potter took the "high road," acting consistently with the judiciary's responsibility, and protecting the public interest.  Thus the role of the judiciary in deciding matters of privacy and sealed records is an important balancing act of sometimes competing interests but which must also take into account the public's right to know especially when there is a compelling public interest.   But in most cases the judge opts for sealing the court record and hiding the evidence of wrongdoing by pharmaceutical companies from the public scrutiny.   Many cases are settled secretly out of court with a gag order against the plaintiff and an exemption from discovery.  Thus even when hundreds of cases of death and injury result,  the public is rarely informed.  Pharmaceutical companies pay a lot in legal fees to do "risk management"  and this often involves counter suits against the victims of the pharmaceutical fraud.  In addition,  the pharmaceutical companies also use intimidation tactics against witnesses,  especially against medical professionals who might act as expert witnesses in court.    So when it comes to psychiatric drugs our court system and our regulatory agencies are not protecting the American public.  

Going Postal 1

Going Postal 2


Psychiatric Medications and Violence - Newspaper Reports

Many states permit mental patients on these medications to purchase guns – not considering at all the fact that the FDA warning inserted in every antidepressant prescription warns of possible violent behavior and suicide. Those empowered to make public policy decisions on gun control legislation should reevaluate the assumption of low risk of gun violence from patients taking psychotropic drugs. When will the public policy on gun control actually reflect the research findings that lead to the FDA warning label on these dangerous mind altering drugs - when will we finally realize that taking a pill doesn't make someone "normal" or safe to handle a gun. Right now the legislation is worded in such a way as to prevent someone who uses non-drug therapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or psychotherapy) from purchasing a weapon but place a weapon in the hands of someone else taking a drug that is known to cause persons to do mass violence.


When will public officials wake up to the real danger - the psychotropic drugs that cause disruption of brain activity and thoughts of violence.


See the following list of traumatic incidents and deaths associated with antidepressant use. 


Violence & Antidepressants


2004 08/18 Antidepr. Violence Yvonne Jenkins, 27; medication for anxiety attacks and depression

2004 08/17 Antidepr. Violence "Man", 41; anti-depressant medication

2004 08/06 Antidepr. Violence Dr Joseph Coladonato, 61; antidepressant

2004 07/00 Antidepr. Killing Mark Hobson, 35; anti-depressants

2004 07/27 Antidepr. Killing Gerry Christensen, 55; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2004 07/26 Antidepr. Killing Mary Ellen Moffitt, 37; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)

2004 07/11 Antidepr. Violence Alex Yun, 26; antidepressants

2004 07/07 Antidepr. Killing Gina Davis, 36; antidepressant

2004 07/06 Antidepr. Fraud Rene Rivkin, 55; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2004 06/29 Antidepr. Killing Raymond F Noll, 58; Effexor/Efexor (venlafaxine)

2004 06/22 Antidepr. Killing Emiri Padron, 24; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2004 06/18 Antidepr. Killing Timothy Joe Irwin, 42; antidepressants

2004 06/16 Antidepr. Violence Gale Thomason, 36; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)

2004 03/06 Antidepr. Violence Ryan Dowling, 25; antidepressants

2004 02/00 Antidepr. Violence Morag McManus, 57; anti-depressants

2004 02/22 Antidepr. Violence William J Heck, 35; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)

2004 01/14 NewYorkPost Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion) induced delusion



Adults: Shootings, Violence & Delusions


2003 12/00 Antidepr. Dreams Denise Martin, 53; Paxil/Seroxat -dreams of killing

2003 11/01 Antidepr. Violence Frank Kendall, 37; Effexor (venlafaxine) -"flipped out"

2003 09/10 Antidepr. Killing Mijailo Mijailovic, 25; anti-depressants

2003 08/16 Antidepr. Killing "Mother", 38; anti-depressants

2003 07/08 AntiDepr. Killing Doug Williams, 48; Celexa & Zoloft

2003 06/17 Antidepr. Violence Merrilee Bentley, 36; -Effexor (venlafaxine)

2003 06/17 Antidepr. Violence "Mum", 32; Paxil/Seroxat & Effexor -attempted murder/suicide

2003 06/14 Antidepr. Killing George Harold Davis, 46; Paxil/Seroxat withdrawal rage

2003 04/00 Antidepr. Fraud Robert Treadway, 36; antidepressants

2003 04/08 Antidepr. Killing Colleen Mitchell, 51; Zoloft/Lustral & Wellbutrin/Zyban

2002 12/27 Antidepr. Killing Christopher Bernaiche, 27; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2002 09/26 Antidepr. Violence Wayne L Horowitz, 52; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2002 07/24 Antidepr. Killing Carol Ackels, 40; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) -killing daughter

2002 07/12 Antidepr. Killing Lee Sims, 68; antidepressants, Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)

2002 06/20 Antidepr. Violence Andrew Meyers, 28; Zoloft/Lustral (Sertraline)attempted murder

2002 05/03 Antidepr. Killing Cindy Gail Countess, 49; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)

2002 05/02 Antidepr. Killing Jason Davidson, 33; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2002 01/04 Antidepr. Killing Albert Pacheco, 47; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2001 10/25 Antidepr. Killing Scott Ellison, 41; "medication for anxiety & depression"

2001 09/02 AntiDepr. Killing Leslie Wallace, 39; Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion)

2001 06/30 AntiDepr. Violence Diana Reese, 40; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)stabbing with knife

2001 06/23 AntiDepr. Violence Paula Townsend, 31; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)tire slashing spree

2001 06/20 AntiDepr. Killing Andrea Pia Yates, 36; Effexor, Wellbutrin & Remeron

2001 06/08 AntiDepr. Killing Mamoru Takuma, 37; 10 times his daily dose of an anti-depressant

2000 12/26 AntiDepr. Killing Michael McDermott, 42; Prozac, Paxil & Desyrel (trazodone)

2000 03/25 AntiDepr. Violence Nadine Trewin, 31; Prozac/Sarafem -cooking cat in microwave

1999 10/00 Antidepr. Killing Donna Yost, 29; anti-depressant

1999 08/22 Antidepr. Rape Matthew Giannascoli, 21; Strattera (atomoxetine), an SNRI

1999 08/01 AntiDepr. Killing David Hawkins, 76; 5 Zoloft/Lustral tablets

1999 06/10 Antidepr. Killing Kelly Silk, 32; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

1998 02/13 AntiDepr. Killing Donald Schell, 60; 2 Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) tablets

1997 12/00 AntiDepr. Robbery Christopher DeAngelo, 28; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -robbery spree

1997 08/05 Antidepr. Killing Richard Shuman, 55; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

1995 12/15 Antidepr. Killing Gerald Clemons, 36; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)



Teens, Murder and Antidepressants 


2004 08/23 Killing at Home 10 year old boy, 10; Prozac/Sarafem -killing father

2003 01/03 Killing at Home Ryan Furlough , 18; Effexor/Efexor (venlafaxine)

2002 11/02 Killing at Home Dustin Lynch, 16; Paxil/Seroxat

2002 05/29 Killing at Party Katrina Sarkissian, 17; antidepressants

2002 04/10 School Violence Sean McEvoy, 15; Paxil/Seroxat

2002 01/25 Killing at Home Tavares Eugene Williams, 18; Prozac/Sarafem

2001 11/28 Killing at Home Christopher Pittman, 12; Paxil & Zoloft

2001 04/15 Imprisonment Cory Baadsgaard, 16; Paxil/Seroxat & Effexor

2001 03/22 School Shooting Jason Hoffman, 18; Celexa (citalopram) & Effexor (venlafaxine)

2001 03/07 School Shooting Elizabeth Bush, 14; antidepressants

1999 04/20 School Shooting Eric Harris, 17; Luvox Related

1998 05/21 School Shooting Kip Kinkel, 15; Prozac/Sarafem


Anti-Depressant related Suicide (attempt) & Death


2004 08/27 Omaha Channel Vickie McCarthy & Paxil withdrawal: electrical zaps, suicide attempt

2004 08/20 Yahoo/Forbes Nancy Hugo, 57; -Zoloft: "urge to slam the phone into the side of my head"

2004 06/12 Antidepr. Suicide Perry Custance, 22; Lexapro/Cipralex (escitalopram)

2004 04/12 Antidepr. DeathCassie Jo Geisenhof, 19; Serzone/Dutonin -liver damage/transplant

2004 03/15 Antidepr. Suicide Stephen Leggett, 53; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)

2004 02/27 Antidepr. Suicide Deon Whitfield, 17 & Durrell Feaster, 18; Prozac/Sarafem -hanging

2004 02/21 Antidepr. Suicide Kaitlyn Kennedy, 16; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2004 02/07 Antidepr. Suicide Traci R. Johnson, 19; Cymbalta (duloxetine)

2004 01/01 TheLedger Report links Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) to crash

2003 00/00 Antidepr. Suicide Joey Casseday, 16; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)

2003 12/01 Antidepr. Suicide Michael Halton, 41; an anti-depressant drug

2003 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide Stephanie Fritz, 15 Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2003 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide Joanne Marsh, 26; antidepressants

2003 10/00 Antidepr. Suicide Rhett Kunkel, 21; antidepressants

2003 10/29 Antidepr. Suicide Larry Boyd Smith, 61; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)

2003 09/04 Antidepr. Suicide Peter Hearn, 51; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2003 08/00 Antidepr. Suicide Candace Downing, 17; -Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2003 08/00 Antidepr.SelfHarm Alicia Quartermain, 18; Paxil/Seroxat/Aropax (paroxetine)

2003 08/05 BostonGlobe Michelle van Syckel was suicidal on Seroxat/Paxil

2003 07/22 Antidepr. Suicide Julie Woodward, 17; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

2003 07/08 Psychology Today Jamé Tierney, 14; Effexor withdrawal reactions, suicidal impulses

2003 06/12 TheGuardian Novelist Helen Walsh was suicidal during her time on Seroxat/Paxil

2003 06/01 Antidepr. Suicide Colin Whitfield, 56; Seroxat/Paxil

2002 09/17 Antidepr. Suicide Wendy Hay, 52; Prozac/Sarafem

2002 04/10 Antidepr. Suicide Jessica Viscount, 28; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2002 03/24 Antidepr. Suicide Joseph Scholes, 15; Prozac/Sarafem

2002 01/00 Antidepr. Suicide Gareth Christian, 18; An SSRI-antidepressant

2001 12/00 Antidepr. Suicide Douglas Bruce Hopey; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)

2001 06/07 SSRI Suicide Kara Jaye-Anne Otter was 12... Paxil/Seroxat -child suicide

2001 05/23 Antidepr. Suicide Daren Alli; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2001 05/15 Antidepr. Suicide Jay Douglas Goodwin, 16; "medication"

2000 00/00 Antidepr. Death Child, 9; liver cytochrome P-450 2D6 deficiency; Prozac-related death

2000 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide LaVerne M. Shell, 63; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2000 08/00 Antidepr. Death Alan Ridley, 46; Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion)

2000 06/03 Antidepr. Suicide Kevin Rider, 14; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

2000 12/05 AntiDepr. Suicide Jacob Williams, 14; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -suicide 2000 04/11 AntiDepr. Suicide Sarah Lawson, 22; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -voluntary suicide

1999 06/03 Antidepr. Suicide Hugh Blowers, 17; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

1998 10/23 Antidepr. Suicide Jean Hurley's Husband; Prozac & Effexor

1997 07/28 Antidepr. Suicide Matt Miller, 13; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)

1994 06/01 Antidepr. Suicide Evan, 18; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

1990 03/11 Antidepr. Suicide Chris Reid, 18; Prozac/Sarafem

1990 02/08 Antidepr. Suicide Del Shannon, 56; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)



Fort Hood Mass Shooting

Columbine High School Shooter taking Luvox - a Neuroleptic Drug

On April 20, 1999, two teenagers, Eric Harris and his Dylan Klebold stormed the Columbine High School, in Littleton Colorado, tossing pipe bombs and shooting helpless classmates, killing thirteen and injuring 23 before taking their own lives. Harris and Klebold's deadly plan went undetected by friends, teachers, administrators -- and, apparently, their own parents -- until the killings began. Following the investigation of the shooting it was revealed that Eric had been forced by court order to take psychiatric medication, the drug Luvox – an SSRI antidepressant that can cause violent behavior, suicide and homicidal thoughts. Because of Eric Haris's use of Luvox - an antidepressant that affects serotonin levels in the brain was a disaster waiting to happen. Psycho-active antidepressants are capable of turning a depressed student into a smiling active killer. Then the two outcasts decided to retaliate against those who bullied them – and the worst school mass murder occurred in Littleton, Colorado.

What really happens inside the minds of "depressed" patients when these drugs are given? Let's consider first what is naturally happening to a victim of trauma and who has shown signs of depression or anxiety.

The truth is that a mind altering traumatic event that leaves its victims suffering Post Traumatic Stress. When a person has been forced into a situation that is life endangering, they respond by either fighting or fleeing. This is a very stressful situation and one that the victim cannot escape from and therefore the memory of the events brings great fear, anxiety and distress. The events that led to PTSD cause great fear, these emotional memories are etched deeply in the cognitive centers of the brain and linked by neural pathways to the deeper emotional centers of brain. These deeper emotional centers in the brain cause hormones to be released that act on the adrenal glands and cause these adrenal glands to release the hormones of cortisol and adrenaline into the blood stream. This hormonal release causes the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to rise and produces an euphoric state. This natural body response to the stress hormones allows a victim to flee, run, fight, and do the necessary things to survive. But after the real danger is gone, the memory of the horrible fear and the sense of eminent death that these events usually bring is forever permanently laid down in fast-track brain neural pathways. This is because in the evolution of human beings it was necessary to be able to remember your enemies and to rapidly flee or get ready to fight them. Thus the brain has developed a very fast neural pathway for the emotional memory center to get alerts from the cognitive front lobe of the brain and send information very fast through chemical hormones to the adrenal glands. These neural hormones then selectively stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol is very powerful blood born chemical and in a few heart beats this powerful chemical message has readied the body to fight or flight. The heart rate has increased, the blood pressure increased, the lungs are breathing at a faster rate, and the parts of the body not needed for fighting or fleeing are given less blood. This all allows the body to pump blood containing oxygen to our muscles – the better to fight with and to run with. But the neural pathways that turn on this powerful message system do not have a corresponding turn off neural pathway. So once activated the body remains in alert status for a significant period of time until the affects of the hormones have worn off and the alert status for danger is over. But the next time those traumatic memories are triggered; the fast-track neural pathway is already there and immediately jumps into to action getting cortisol release from the adrenal glands. But sights and sounds that remind one of the trauma, make it happen even if there is no danger present – it is like being in a constant state of alert. Thus it is very important that a PTSD suffer learn how to turn off that response or at least moderate it, by using conscious awareness of how his own mind works to relax and to forget. Any medication that interferes with the ability of the patient to do this will not have good long term affects on a PTSD sufferer, and anti-depressants have been shown to actually increase cortisol and thus prolong the period of anxiety and fear.


In situations of trauma the victim may be helpless to flee and may have, through no fault of his/her own, failed to defend him/herself. The psychiatric injury of PTSD is caused by an external cause and leaves lifelong psychological scars. A person suffering PTSD will experience hyper-arousal to things in the environment that remind them of their trauma – these are called triggering events. A victim will also be hypervigilant looking for danger – be ever watchful. The impact of the trauma will cause the victim to have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships (may appear withdrawn, uncooperative, defensive or aggressive). He/she may have fears and concern for her/his safety but have difficulty expressing feelings, be irritable or depressed. Victims have nightmares and difficulty sleeping. Victims may respond rapidly to events and be prone to anger. They may act out; have traumatic memories that are intrusive in their daily thoughts. They will deny, and avoid the memory of their trauma and have difficulty with concentration. They will be distrustful and often alienated. Individuals suffering from PTSD live daily life as if the traumatic experience is recent, even though it may have happened years earlier. Events, words, visual images that evoke the memories are called triggers and will cause the event to be constantly re-experienced. PTSD interferes with the victim’s ability to verbalize the events and their meaning. People do not believe, and deny the severity of the trauma thus blaming and stigmatizing the victim. Society has a tendency to blame the victim for not being able to simply “get over it” and this cultural lack of support can be classified as secondary wounding and promotes a victim mentality, thus keeping the problem going.


This is what was happening to Eric Harris when he was prescribed the anti-depressant Luvox. Luvox affects the neurotransmitter Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects the brain and plays a role in aggression, memory, learning, pain, sleep, appetite, anxiety, depression, migraine, and vomiting. Several different classes of psychiatric drugs like anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, anti- migraine drugs and psychedelic drugs affect the level of this neurotransmitter inside the neuro-synapses of the brain. Some drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, making it stay in the synapse longer.


SSRI's and TCA antidepressants not only fail to modify cortisol, but actually stimulate/increase cortisol release. This is why these drugs can create a drug induced abnormally elated mental state, typically characterized by feelings of euphoria, racing thoughts and talkativeness. This can then progress further to a neurologically driven agitation. This agitation can range from mild leg tapping, to severe panic or even an extreme manic state. This does tragically lead directly to suicidal, aggressive and/or homicidal thoughts and behaviors.


Bill Forsyth of Maui, Hawaii, had taken fluxetine for only 12 days when he committed one of the first murder/suicides attributed to any SSRI. Joseph Wesbecker who had only been on the drug fluoxetine for 4 weeks killed eight others and himself in a Louisville, KY. at printing plant where he worked.


But the lesson from the Columbine School shootings was not learned, because in the U.S.A today these dangerous drugs are still being prescribed for depression – with fatal consequences. In 2005, Jeff Weise, aged 17, was taking Prozac and when his dosage was increased after his Prozac induced nightmares; he then went out and did a mass murder at the Minnesota Red Lake School.


News reports stated that Stephen Kazmierczak, who shot and killed five Northern Illinois University students at the Dekalb campus on February 14, 2008 had recently stopped taking medication and "had become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks." There was no apparent motive or any relationship with any of his victims who were mowed down as he fired more than 50 shots in a matter of seconds from a lecture hall stage. This was not unusual as often there is no motive with these drug-related killings. The profound influence of drugs on the person’s brain levels of neurotransmitters are affected so much that any sudden increase or decrease in the dosage can result in insane homicidal behavior.


Steven Kazmierczak was 27 when he purchased the shotgun and two of the hand guns prior to the attack. Kazmierczak had no criminal record but had been a patient for a year at Thresholds-Mary Hill House, a psychiatric treatment center for teens. Under Illinois state law he would not have been able to purchase a weapon legally if there had been a record of arrests or mental problems.


Current gun control policy is geared to accept that patients “under the care of a physician” are approved to purchase a deadly weapon. These pills do not “cure” mental disease – they alter brain function – often with devastating effects. Remember that the supervising clinical doctor is perhaps only seeing the patient for 15 minutes every 3 months. Some supervising physicians are not even seeing their patients that frequently, as they are allowing nurses or PA’s with prescription authority to actually do the face to face with the patient, in these instances the MD may not see the patient hardly at all.


Many states permit mental patients on these medications to purchase guns – not considering at all the fact that the FDA warning inserted in every antidepressant prescription warns of possible violent behavior and suicide. Those empowered to make public policy decisions on gun control legislation should reevaluate the assumption of low risk of gun violence from patients taking psychotropic drugs. When will the public policy on gun control actually reflect the research findings that lead to the FDA warning label on these dangerous mind altering drugs - when will we finally realize that taking a pill doesn't make someone "normal" or safe to handle a gun. Right now the legislation is worded in such a way as to prevent someone who uses non-drug therapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or psychotherapy) from purchasing a weapon but place a weapon in the hands of someone else taking a drug that is known to cause persons to do mass violence.


When will public officials wake up to the real danger - the psychotropic drugs that cause disruption of brain activity and thoughts of violence.



Check out the full transcript of Columbine Shooting progress report submitted to the court:



Columbine Shooting and Mark Taylor

Columbine Mass Shooting

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Silencing the truth about Luvox, homicidal thoughts & Columbine School Shooting

Mark Taylor was only a high school student when he had sustained terrible injuries during the violent shooting spree at the Columbine school.  Mark had suffered incredible blood loss resulting from 7 - 13 bullets as he laid on the ground at Columbine for almost 2 hours  help could arrive.  That traumatic memory will always remain with Mark Taylor, the memories of the  shooting and lying there helpless for two hours with bullets whizzing around him while bleeding from nearly a dozen bullet wounds.  Some bullets still even now remain embedded in his spine and near his aorta.  Because of the way the bullets ravaged Mark’s body, it was even impossible for the surgeons to count the wounds.  The estimated bullet count ranges from 8 to 13.    Miraculously, Mark showed courage, strength and resiliency and  eventually went on to a full medical recovery.  Mark even wrote a book about his experience and  went on a book tour, and even was brave enough to testify before the FDA.  Because of the notoriety of the case,  Mark Taylor  was interviewed on numerous television broadcasts and his story in public eye .   - - 

Because of his horrendous experience, Mark Taylor became a truth teller regarding the dangers of antidepressants and SSRI medications and how those medications cause patients to have violent thoughts,homicidal ideations and thoughts of suicide. These drugs have long been known to have these severe side effects and there is a black box warning about this required by the FDA to be put on these medications. But doctors ignore these warnings and give these medications to patients anyway.  One of these patients receiving this kind of medication was Eric Harris, the student who decided that fateful day to shoot and kill his fellow students at Columbine.   This  antidepressant, Luvox is still on the market and now has "homicidal ideation" listed as a side effect.   Homicidal ideation is not just one thought of homicide, but constant ruminating thoughts of killing and how to accomplish that. This warning about tendencies to violence, based on pre-marketing research data - before the drug ever hit the market or was approved by the FDA, was kept from an unsuspecting  public and the drug marketed to patients for years.  Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters,  was taking the anti-depressant Luvox when he decided to kill his fellow students. The first antidepressant Eric Harris was given was Zoloft. Within six weeks of taking the drug Eric reported he was having homicidal and suicidal thoughts.   Clearly doctors suspected the antidepressant of causing these violent thoughts  because they took him off the drug immediately.   Eric Harris was taken off that drug but then was put on Luvox.   The drug  Luvox also caused him to have violent thoughts and with homicidal intent Eric Harris killed students at Columbine.  The Columbine families filed a legal law suit against Solvay, the maker of the antidepressant Luvox for continuing to market and sell the drug even after multiple cases of violent behavior of persons taking their product.   The drug companies threatened to counter sue to Columbine victims so as a result all the victims retracted their law suits except Mark Allen Taylor.   Mark stood up to the pressure and intimidation by the big drug company which had much to loose by the publicity brought by Mark's tragic victims story.  Solvay already had bad press about their drug hitting the news because a patient, Matthew Beck, who was also on Luvox, went on a shooting spree at the Connecticut Lottery killing four co-workers before taking his own life.  In another Luvox case, a decorated police officer from New Jersey was prescribed Luvox and while on this medication he shot six persons – killing them.  This police officer, Edward L. Lutes along with Mark Allen Taylor filed a lawsuit against Luvox.  This lawsuit caused the drug manufacturer to pull the drug off the market in the U.S.A.  Mark Taylor had survived more gunshot wounds during the shooting rampage than anyone else.  Mark's courage and that of a decorated police officer in New Jersey, Edward L. Lutes, stopped the sale of this dangerous drug, Luvox. 

But this stop on the marketing and  sale of this dangerous drug, Luvox,  which had already caused these violent deaths was short lived.  Mark Taylor was subsequently  legally ill advised by an attorney who encouraged him to sign a settlement agreement anyway even though he was clearly emotionally suffering PTSD as a result of the shooting trauma.  Mark was that day in negotiations with the opposing attorneys for hours and was lead to believe that he was himself in legal trouble.  Mark Taylor was deceived and coerced into signing a settlement with the drug maker Solvay.  This attorney, it was later determined,  had formerly worked for the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline and was on friendly terms with the pharmaceutical industry and was urging Mark Taylor to sign settlement papers so as to rapidly close the case. Then after the settlement was signed the judge decided to seal the evidence on the case.  This made the evidence of the homicidal effects of this drug Luvox unavailable to public scrutiny.  Then Solvay sold the market rights to Luvox in the USA to Jazz Pharmaceuticals.   The pharmaceutical industry has great political and financial power over what happens in mental health care.  Now years later, to silence Mark Taylor's efforts to expose the dangers of antidepressants and how they cause patients to have homicidal thoughts,  Mark Taylor is now being treated with the very class of drugs that he warned the public about and he is also threatened with permanent imprisonment by mental health authorities.   After many public appearances about the dangers of psychiatric medications like Luvox, Mark and his mother, Donna Taylor were traveling in Arizona when suddenly he seemed to be having seizures.  Going immediately to the emergency hospital,  Mark and his mother were ill prepared for the actions of the mental health professionals who then unexpectedly decided to keep him hospitalized on a long term basis.  Mark then ended up  in a hospital  while his family was prevented from communicating with him and he was ultimately held without his family's consent for over a year, while being force drugged.  While hospitalized the Arizona, Mental Health Officials choose to put Mark on a psychiatric drug that is considered a “last resort” medication:  Clozapine. 

Clozapine (sold as Clozaril, Azaleptin, Leponex, Fazaclo, Froidir; Denzapine, Zaponex in the UK; Klozapol in Poland, Clopine in NZ/Aus) is an antipsychotic medication used in the treatment of schizophrenia, and is also used off-label in the treatment of bipolar disorder.  There are three pharmaceutical companies that market this drug at present: Novartis Pharmaceuticals (manufacturer), Mylan Laboratories and Ivax Pharmaceuticals (market generic clozapine).  Clozapine was the first of the atypical antipsychotics to be developed.   It was first introduced in Europe in 1971, but was voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturer in 1975 after it was shown to cause agranulocytosis, a condition involving a dangerous decrease in the number of white blood cells, that led to death in some patients.  In 1989, after studies demonstrated that it was more effective than any other antipsychotic for treating schizophrenia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved clozapine’s use but only for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The FDA requires blood testing for patients taking clozapine.  The FDA also requires clozapine to carry five black box warnings for agranulocytosis, seizures, myocarditis, for “other adverse cardiovascular and respiratory effects”, and for “increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.”  In 2002 the FDA approved clozapine for reducing the risk of suicidal behavior for patients with schizophrenia.Clozapine is usually used as a last resort in patients that have not responded to other anti-psychotic treatments due to its danger of causing agranulocytosis as well as the costs of having to have blood tests continually during treatment. The withdrawal effects Clozapine are severe and life-threatening.  

Mark, the courageous Columbine miracle boy, who survived what many did not, and who lived to be an advocate for others,  is now hospitalized long term with doctors forcing on him the very type of drug that he advocated should be removed off the market.  This drugging regime has left Mark unable to communicate and to care for himself.  His mother, Donna Taylor, has been appointed as his legal guardian.  Now, under the best of circumstances, Mark Taylor faces one to two years of recovery.   Mark has been victimized again by the pharmaceutical industry and the medical professionals who support this forced drugging with anti-depressants and SSRI's and he may never fully recover from this continued misuse and abuse of psychiatric medications. 

See these videos of the Columbine Shooting:  




Columbine High School Shooting Victim Mark Taylor

Dangerous Off Duty - Shooting Spree

As all veteran police officers will agree, the job of being a law enforcement officer is challenging and dangerous.  But many will tell you that the stresses of the job are easily accepted by those who chose to wear the uniform and badge.  All police officers bravely face daily the possibility of their own death on the job and also the possibility that they might need to use lethal force against another.  Many who have served in law enforcement will tell you that the stresses inherent to the job are not as problematic as stresses from within their own personal lives or the stress of having a conflict with your boss. Police officers are trained how to use force but also taught how to restrain from using force, how to negotiate, how to de-escalate a hostile situation.   These “peace keeping” skills are very important to the officer’s survival on the job and also to his/her effectiveness.  When officers are confronted with a hostile situation, they immediately have a human biological response – an increase in epinephrine/cortisol. This blood hormone, Cortisol, readies the body to respond if the situation becomes more dangerous and needs immediate action.  But at the same time, the officer's higher reasoning cognitive centers in the brain, are trying to control his/her base instincts of survival and also his/her own inherent emotional response to the event unfolding before them.  To be a good well trained and properly behaved police officer – this cognitive control of the emotions is essential. Otherwise the officer might get “carried away” and use excessive force or alternatively not control his own fear and thus be unable to pursue the suspect.

Life happens, even to those who are charged with the duty to protect and serve.  The story of New Jersey Police Officer Edward Lutes is one to educate us all of the perils of the hazardous duty of a police officer and the inescapable fact that we are all human even those who protect and serve.  Those who knew Officer Lutes professionally, described him as a fine patrol officer.

So what happened on an evening in April 2002 surprised everyone in the Seaside Heights community. Officer Lutes went on a shooting spree, killing several people before shooting himself fatally. 

What made a good officer snap?  

As with all human tragedies, the truth was a complicated matter, with both personal tragedy and also deeper societal problems involved.  When the story finally unfolded, it became evident that Officer Lutes had suffered many losses.In 1991 Officer Lutes’ mother died of cancer at age 54.  In March 1999, one of Officer Lutes' neighbors, Dominick Galliano was charged with sexually assaulting the officer's young daughter.  Dominick Galliano was acquitted of the assault charges in January 2001.  Lutes had been recently bereaved by his fiancee's death a year before in a car accident.  Those who knew Officer Lutes said that this series of personal events had left Officer Lutes mildly depressed and also without the emotional support of his beloved fiancee.  So the officer, sought professional help and was prescribed the drug Luvox for depression. Luvox(Fluvoxamine) had a FDA black box warning label stating that it can cause violent behavior and suicide, yet it was given to this officer for his depression.

On that fateful day in 2002 Officer Lutes fatally shot the man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter.  Dominick Galliano, 51, wife Gail Galliano, 49, and their son, Christopher Galliano, 25 were all shot multiple times.  Then after shooting the Gallianos, Lutes then walked across the street and shot Gary Williams, who had testified on behalf of Dominick Galliano at his trial. Lutes, not only killed Williams, 48, but also his wife, Tina Williams, 46.  The Williams' 23-year-old son survived, by jumping out a back window and alerting the police.  Officer Lutes got in his car and drove 20 miles to the home of his police chief, James Costello, whom he shot and wounded before leaving and killing himself. 

The day that Officer Lutes went out and shot 5 people, he was being medicated with the anti-depressant medication – Luvox.  The drug Luvox did not “cure” Officer Lutes’ depression. The effect of the drug on Officer Lutes could have been anticipated because there had been numerous reports of violent behavior of patients using the drug Luvox reported to the Food and Drug Administration.  The US Food and Drug administration had issued a black box warning about the possibility of violent thoughts and behavior including suicide.  The drug Luvox, like other psychiatric drugs has clear effects on brain function.

Psychiatric drugs including neuroleptic and atypical anti-psychotic medications block receptors in the brain and cause a decrease the flow of dopamine – a neurotransmitter.  Most importantly these medications cause a decrease in the cognitive abilities of the patient – thus affecting the higher centers of the brain involved in reasoning and behavioral control.  

When a police officer is under stress, there is an increase in cortisol in the blood stream.  During a life or death experience, or a life altering tragedy, this powerful blood borne hormone allows the body to respond quickly to danger.  Police Officers and those who deal daily with stressful situations at work, quickly learn how to manage their own responses to the rapid increase of cortisol.  Often during a particular event, the officer will suspend his own feelings and instead act in the moment.  Rapid responses allow the officer to respond to danger quickly and efficiently.  But after the event is over, he must go home and find some way to relax.  This may prove difficult because not all events in an officer’s life are easy to forget – some sights, sounds, smells and feelings persist even during the sleep cycle.  Thus it is not unusual for officers to use alcohol to drown the painful memories or to utilize prescription medications like sleep aids.  But the use of medications like Luvox for this purpose must be re-examined.  Drugs like Luvox cause a rise in blood cortisol thus causing the period of heightened response to be longer.

Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, neuroleptics are very dangerous medications.  These drugs do not “cure” stress or depression – they mask symptoms and give rise to other unwanted side effects. There can be a number of undesirable neuroleptic effects of the medications on the patient including:

1. Psychomotor Retardation – motor slowing, body not moving so well 

2. Emotional indifference - not being emotionally responsive / not caring, apathy, lack of initiative, limited range of emotion

3. Reduced initiative – not showing interest in initiating activity

4. Slowing of thought – decreased reasoning ability

5. Tremors

6. Difficulty eating and talking 

7. Memory impairment

8. Not being able to sit still, pacing

9. Racing thoughts, restlessness and agitation

One side effect is racing thoughts, restlessness, and agitation this can lead to violent thoughts and actions.  Because these medications slow down the ability of the upper levels of the brain to do cognitive reasoning, the patient can’t think clearly and can’t use reason to over-ride basic human emotions.  Thus human emotions of fear, anger, revenge, frustration, are not moderated by the higher reasoning portions of the brain and thus actions can occur without reasoned control. This functional lack of inhibition by the higher brain centers means lack of control over one’s actions.  For a police officer, trained to use lethal force, dealing with multiple personal traumas and with anger at the system that failed in his eyes to protect his daughter from sexual harm, the use of a drug like Luvox was lethal – not just to Officer Lutes but those around him. 

We need to carefully re-consider that the use of these medications especially those known to cause violent behavior. These medications are given much too quickly and with too little consideration for the side effects.  They should instead be used only in extreme psychiatric situations that can be managed no other way, rather than how they are now prescribed for mild depression and described as “safe.”  The risk of violence caused by these drugs is great - leading to tragedies like this shooting spree but also domestic violence, violent crime and many suicides. 

The efficacy of psychiatric drugs is complicated by a number of serious side effects which are associated with their use. These include a number of muscular side effects known as extra-pyramidal reactions: dystonia (muscle spasms, particularly in the face and arms, irregular flexing, writhing or grimacing and protrusion of the tongue); akathesia (internal restlessness or agitation, an inability to sit still); akinesia (physical immobility and lack of spontaneity); and Parkinsonisms (mask-like facial expression, drooling, muscle stiffness, tremors, shuffling gait). The drugs can also cause a number of non-muscular side effects, such as blurred vision, dry mouth and throat, weight gain, dizziness, fainting depression, low blood pressure and, less frequently, cardiovascular changes and, on occasion, sudden death.

Tardive dyskinesia is a very serious and potentially lethal side effect of anti-psychotic drugs. Tardive dyskinesia is a generally irreversible neurological disorder characterized by involuntary rhythmic and grotesque movement of the face, mouth, tongue, and jaw. The patient's extremities, neck, back and torso can also, become involved.  These psychiatric medications have significant and often unpredictable short term and long term risks of harmful side effects."

Officer Edward Lutes' case was joined with the case of Mark Taylor, the Columbine shooting victim in a case against Solvay Pharmaceuticals.  Solvay Pharmaceuticals continued to market the drug Luvox even after the FDA demanded that a black box warning label be placed on their product.  Luvox was sold by Solvay to another pharmaceutical company and re-named and still sold even after several mass shooting tragedies.  These psychiatric medications with this black box warning label about violent behavior, continue to be sold to countless patients - some of whom are police officers.


For Further information about FDA:

Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

Additional Information about Officer Lutes case:

Luvox Adverse Symptoms include:

• Drowsiness
• difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion
• dry mouth
• headache
• nausea
• vomiting
• diarrhea
• stomach pain
• constipation
• indigestion
• gas
• change in taste
• decreased appetite
• weight loss
• nervousness
• weakness
• unsteadiness
• changes in sex drive or ability
• chest pain
• problems with coordination
• dizziness
• hallucination (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
• fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
• pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
• shaking of a part of the body that you cannot control
• rash
• hives
• slowed or difficult breathing
• seizures
• loss of consciousness
• unusual bleeding or bruising
• bloody nose
• vomiting blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds
• red blood in stool or black and tarry stools


Mark Taylor and Mental Health Patient Rights

Human Rights as a Mental Patient - What about Informed Consent?

What actually happened to Mark Taylor the miracle boy who survived being shot at the Columbine High School? Mark showed great strength of character to go through rehabilitation after his shooting and also great psychological resilience of spirit. Mark Taylor's recovery  required multiple surgeries, an initial hospital stay of two months and the anguish of having tubes thrust down his throat and tubes placed in his side.  ”The horror of what I went through in the hospital, I can’t even put in words,” said Taylor, who was shot by Eric Harris on April 20, 1999 during the Columbine High School shooting. 

Mark Taylor like many other victims of trauma had to fight back against the odds; it was a long journey of physical rehabilitation as well as spiritual journey that took him from shock to understanding.  Mark chose to write a book about his experiences which highlighted the importance of his Christian faith and his own pathway to forgiveness and understanding. He has forgiven shooters Harris and Dylan Klebold and their families. He has talked to gang members and Vietnam veterans about forgiveness.">


See the following website:

Mark was a citizen whistleblower against the dangers of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs.  During the rigorous process of discovery prior to the legal battle with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Mark Taylor was able to expose many dangerous truths about the pharmaceutical industry’s fraud against the American public.  The pharmaceutical industry does not take kindly to this kind of exposure of their deeper secrets.  Thus Mark Taylor and his mother, Donna Mae Taylor, were targeted with anonymous violence, surveillance, harassment, petty crimes, entrapment schemes and even a mysterious methane gas leak that forced Mark’s brother to seek medical care out of the state. During all this Mark was  courageous and continuing to move forward with his life and sell his book.  

Many of the other Columbine victims/survivors settled with the pharmaceutical company after threats that the lawsuit would ruin them financially.  Mark and his mother experience continuing retaliation, threats of counter law suits, intimidation, surveillance and other forms of bullying behavior against Mark Taylor and his family. This is presumed to be intended to cause him to drop his law suit and to cease his public advocacy against antidepressants, SSRI medications and other psychotropic drugs.  

In 2009 Mark Taylor was continuing to heal from his trauma and trying to continue to move forward with his life and sell his book, he was involved in television and radio show appearances and many book signings.  Mark was told that he is accused of writing a letter that he would bomb a bookstore in Colorado Springs. He protests he is innocent of those accusations and that they are not true. He and his mother have no idea who started this hostile gossip.

Those with negative intent can often use the powerful mental health law to their advantage.  Those wishing to silence Mark’s advocacy against the pharmaceutical drugs were suspected of being behind this fabricated allegation. Mark denies the truth of these accusations, but  Mark is still grabbed by the police and put in 72 hours mental health hold in the hospital. So all it took was someone stating something and his freedom was lost, his right to face his accuser denied and his right to due process ignored.  In addition he is denied his liberty and even his right to decide his own fate and medical care.  He is held in incognito detention and his family is not allowed to see him for some time. During this time, those in charge of his captivity clearly get power over him – physically, emotionally, psychologically and legally.  Mark is drugged against his consent, and held for a month and then let go with outpatient care but forced to take medications.   Mark is then under the medical community’s monitoring and control.  So suddenly Mark Taylor who has never had any due process, is not accused of any crime is now being forcibly drugged against his consent with lifelong consequences for him. 

Doctors are very much influenced by what the pharmaceutical companies advertising states about these psychiatric medications. When facing a charge of mental illness, the patient is rarely believed and accusations against him readily believed.   Then after that incident Mark Taylor’s mother reports that he was just walking in his neighborhood and he is suddenly confronted with police who drag him off on false pretenses that he was acting weird and they incarcerate him in a mental facility. He was admitted to the hospital. While there the mental health professionals decide to forcibly drug him with psychotropic medications without his informed consent and again refuse to let him for some time to communicate with his family.  He finally was released as an outpatient but only after addicting him to psychotropic medications.  Many who saw Mark prior to these hospitalizations remarked that Mark Taylor had resilience and had come a long way in his recovery.  But with the use of powerful mind altering drugs, Mark slips into a state of incapacity. The very effects of the drugs make it less possible for Mark to express himself and to assert his rights as a human person. These drugs themselves cause a disruption in the ability to think.  After his hospitalization the effects of the drugging on him are clearly evident. (See the video above) 

In all these decisions Mark himself is not respected for what his own wishes were in regards to psychiatric medications - his views were very well known to all who heard him speak publicly and who read his book, “I Asked, God Answered … a Columbine miracle.” The medical professionals have not discussed or really explained the treatment to the family and continue to down play the very visible side effects of the drugs. Decisions about Mark's care were made by the doctors with no consultation with the family or even Mark himself.  Donna Taylor continues to be concerned if Mark stays on these medications for a very long time there’s a increased risk  of developing an irreversible behavioral and physical conditions.

Continued treatment with psychiatric drugs will cause significant effects and many do not realize how these powerful mind altering drugs affect patients.  These psychiatric drugs block receptors in the brain and cause a decrease the flow of dopamine and serotonin - both neurotransmitters. This is why patients develop symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and get tired easily and move more slowly.  Patients often show problems with speaking – getting the words out and also being able to think clearly and gather their thoughts. 

These are the effects of the drugs themselves:

1. Psychomotor effects – muscles slowing, body not moving so well 
2. Emotional indifference - not being emotionally responsive / not caring, apathy, lack of initiative, limited range of emotion,
3. Reduced initiative – not showing interest in initiating activity
4. Slowing of thought
5. Tremors
6. Difficulty eating and talking 
7. Memory impairment
8. Not being able to sit still, pacing

These are not symptoms of the underlying disease - these are caused by the drugs themselves.

Thus the very effects of the drugs make it less possible for any patient to express himself and to assert his rights as a human person. These drugs themselves cause a disruption in the ability to think. High enough doses over a long period of time of many of these  medications makes people quite depressed.  Thus a cyclic drugging can get started with ever increasing symptoms of the drugs themselves which causes the treatment team to keep adding drug upon drug to manage the actual effects of the medications.   

Mark's mother objects to the continued administration of even stronger drugs to Mark, drugs with more adverse effects that dull his mind, prevent his speech and slow his movements. She believes that he should be carefully weaned off these drugs and allowed to consider other options for mental health treatment.  

Mark Taylor and his mother were staying with friends when one day Mark starts to experience an adverse effect of the very medication he was forced to take. 

Mark was observed by a friend to have a short blacking out period and to be feeling these serotonin related side effects which were directly caused by the medication and his prescribed decreased dosage (caused by decreased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin).  This friend called an ambulance and Mark was admitted to the hospital – suffering from SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome – a side effect of his psychiatric medication. 

Tapering off very, very, very slowly has proven the safest and most effective method of withdrawal of psychiatric medications.  When discontinuing or withdrawing from a psychiatric medication that affects the brains serotonin level, a dangerous situation can occur a condition called the "SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome."  When serotonergic activity dramatically decreases because the neurons aren't able to communicate properly with each other anymore. As a result of this decreased serotonergic activity, side-effects occur. Sometimes these side-effects are reported by the patient as feeling like electric shocks, zaps or shivers in the head (brain) or sometimes like “pins and needles” in the skin or like a light flickering in his/her head.  These symptoms are sometimes so severe that the patient feels confused or like on the verge of blacking out or losing consciousness.  These sensory disturbances may make the patient feel very confused and may involve short periods of short-term memory loss or absences.  These absences are actually petit mal seizures which may be invisible to the observer and not recognized as epileptic activity.  

This is an effect of the withdrawal of the prescribed drug itself - not a symptom of mental illness.  It is caused by the drug. 

Then the terrible tragedy of the downward spiral of more and more medication, more dangerous drugs until finally Mark was at one point according to his mother, in a coma.  While all this psychiatric drugging was going on, his family was refused regular access to him and he was totally in the power of the doctors who were able to charge $700/day for his basic care and even more for treatment and diagnostics.  This meant that the hospital bill was surely over a hundred thousand dollars and probably much higher.  

Currently Donna Taylor is fighting for her son’s human right to not be drugged against his consent for a condition he may not even have. Mark regularly tells her that he does not want to take these medications but the doctors ignore his pleas for them to take him off or at least reduce the dosage.  Donna Taylor is struggling against an entrenched mental health system where all the power lies with the hospital and the doctors and where there is little effort to respect the human rights of the patient or to honor the right of Donna Taylor as the legal guardian.   

So let us review what the World Health Organization has to say about Mental Health rights. 

World Health Organization’s Ten Basic Principles of Mental Health

1.       Promotion of mental health and prevention of mental disorders 
2.       Access to basic mental health care 
3.       Mental health assessments in accordance with internationally accepted principles 
4.       Provision of least restrictive type of mental health care 
5.       Self-determination 
6.       Right to be assisted in the exercise of self-determination 
7.       Availability of review procedure 
8.       Automatic periodical review mechanism 
9.       Qualified decision-maker 
10.      Respect of the rule of law

Everyone should benefit from the best possible measures to promote their mental well-being and to prevent mental disorders. This includes: 1) mental health promotion efforts 2) mental health prevention efforts.  

Mental health care should be quality care that preserves the dignity of the patient allowing patients to cope by themselves and providing clinical and non-clinical care and a system of care that is affordable and equitable as well as accessible.  Mental health care should be available on a voluntary basis. 

Mental health assessments should be done in accordance with internationally accepted principles and should include: 1) diagnosis 2) choice of treatment 3) determination of competence 4) determination that someone may cause harm to self or others due to a mental disorder. They should only be done for purposes directly related to mental illness or consequences of mental illness. 

The health care provided should be the least restrictive and should consider:  1) the disorder 2) available treatments 3) the person’s level of autonomy 4) the person’s acceptance and cooperation 5) the potential that harm be caused to self or others. 

Community based treatment should be made available and institution-based treatments should be provided in the least restrictive environment. (Restraints should be strictly of limited duration only 4 hours for physical restraint and all restraints should be documented).

Consent is required.  This includes all diagnostic procedures, medical treatment, drugs, electroconvulsive therapy and irreversible surgery and also any curtailment of liberty.   Consent must also keep in mind the culture and the advice of family or friends.  Consent should be free of undue influence and be informed.  To be informed means to be accurately given enough information to understand the disadvantages, risks, alternatives, expected results and side effects of any treatment. 

The designation of a surrogate decision maker should be made only in occasional instances and that person is empowered to make decisions in the patient’s behalf. 

Persons have the right to be assisted in the exercise of self-determination if they have difficulties in general knowledge, ability to speak or other problem resulting from disability.

Mental health decisions are open to review at the request of interested parties including the person involved and should be done in a timely fashion.  The patient should not be prevented to access review on the basis of his or her health status.  The patient should be given an opportunity to be heard in person. 

There also should be an automatic periodic review mechanism for all decisions that involve the integrity and or liberty of the person (treatment or hospitalization).  These reviews should be conducted every 6 months by an official qualified decision maker.  The decision making body should be more than one person and best if they are from different relevant disciplines. 

A judge or other official decision maker such as a surrogate or guardian should be: 
1)   Competent  2) Knowledgeable 3) Independent 4) Impartial 

There should be respect for the rule of law which can include the constitution, international case law, international agreements, regulations, laws, orders and decrees.  The law should be accessible and understandable.