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Freedom Magazine

New Investigtion
INV. NO.: USA- 0915032
DATE: JULY 20, 2001




The gruesome scenario has become all too familiar. On a school ground that could be in any suburb in any city in the country, a hail of bullets rains down to take the lives of children and teachers in an act of senseless, insane violence.

The Columbine tragedy seared this horrifying image into the national consciousness and left the nation asking: Why?

As the scenario was then repeated on newscast after newscast, it became apparent that the seemingly random scenes in society’s patchwork quilt of senseless violence contained a common thread. It was not, as some observers tried to convince the public, that the bloodshed in films, on television and in video games had somehow inured our children to violence. Or that the availability of firearms had made it easier to commit such crimes.

As many observers have pointed out, these are not new elements in the mix. Violence and gore in entertainment media three decades ago never spawned repeated instances of wholesale mayhem, much less murder, in classrooms, even though guns and recipes for homemade explosives were virtually as accessible then as they are today.

The Columbine incident was but one of a long line involving young people who turned murderously violent. Freedom investigations have shown such incidents contain a common thread—one that has been detectable but largely ignored or concealed by those who have a professional responsibility to inform the public.

Warning Signs

A full decade before the Columbine High School tragedy, the nation witnessed a series of brutal incursions into its previously sacrosanct schools.

The first came on May 20, 1988, when Laurie Dann, 30, walked into a Winnetka, Illinois, classroom with three handguns and commenced shooting, killing one second-grader and wounding five others before fleeing from the school, shooting a man in a house nearby and then killing herself.

Four months later, on September 26, 1988, 19-year-old James Wilson entered the cafeteria of a Greenwood, South Carolina, school and opened fire with a revolver, wounding a teacher and three students. He then walked into a girls’ restroom, where he shot another teacher, moving next into a third-grade classroom, where he shot several more children. Two students, both 8 years old, died from their wounds.

While both Dann and Wilson had extensive psychiatric histories at the time of their assaults, neither had any record of violence prior to undergoing psychiatric treatment.

What produced such startling change? Based on interviews Freedom conducted with relatives and acquaintances of Dann and Wilson in the aftermath of those tragedies, the fact emerged that both individuals changed sharply after being administered powerful psychiatric drugs.

Four months after James Wilson’s rampage, on January 17, 1989, another incident exploded onto the national stage when Patrick Purdy, 26, killed five students in a Stockton, California, and schoolyard and wounded 29 more children and a teacher before taking his own life. Upon investigation, Freedom learned that Purdy, too, was a psychiatric failure with an extensive psychiatric drug history.

“An Irresistible Urge”

Such tragedies grow even more disturbing as the age of the perpetrators decreases.

One of the first cases that came to the public’s attention was that of 14-year-old Rod Matthews of Canton, Massachusetts, a high school freshman. Matthews lured classmate Shaun Ouillette, also 14, into the woods on a November afternoon in 1986 on the pretext of building a fort. Matthews carried a baseball bat, which he said he needed to return to someone.

Encouraging the larger boy to walk in front of him down the wooded path, Matthews waited for his opportunity and then smashed Ouillette on the head with the bat. He continued to strike his helpless victim, bludgeoning him to death.

While Matthews informed police and his parents that he thought Ouillette had run away from home, he brought two friends, Robbie Peterson and Jonathan Cash, on separate occasions to view the body of the boy the police were searching for in vain. Cash eventually reported the murder to police by means of an unsigned letter. The next morning, three weeks after the murder, police found Ouillette’s body and arrested Matthews.

Matthews, a bright youth with an IQ of 132, had been taking the psychiatric drug Ritalin, known generically as methylphenidate. According to federal law, Ritalin is a Schedule II controlled substance, in the same addictive category as amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine, powerful drugs bearing what the National Institute on Drug Abuse terms “a high potential for abuse.”

After the murder, it was learned that Matthews had plotted to kill someone since the start of his freshman year—roughly two months before the crime was committed. He had discussed his plans with Peterson and Cash and had even admitted to a teacher in the weeks before the slaying that he had an urge to kill somebody. His teacher simply told him that murder was a felony.

As the police put it, Matthews had developed “an irresistible urge to see what it felt like to kill someone"—an urge that became a lethal reality.

Recent years have seen an epidemic of such violence involving children and adolescents, many of them not involving firearms.

In 1995 in Illinois, Brian Pruitt, 16, with a history of psychiatric drugs and treatment, fatally stabbed his grandmother in her bedroom, then waited for his grandfather to return home, and murdered him as well.

In 1997 in New Jersey, Sam Manzie, 15, attacked and raped 11-year-old Eddie Werner, who had come to his family’s home selling items door-to-door for the local PTA. After strangling Werner with an electrical cord, and photographing him with the cord still wrapped around his neck, Manzie discarded his victim’s clothes and possessions in a garbage bin by the psychiatric facility where Manzie had been receiving regular treatments, including psychiatric drugs. According to Manzie’s mother, Manzie said, “I wasn’t killing that little boy. I was killing [my psychiatrist] because he didn’t listen to me.”

Lives of Ruin and Despair

The fruits of the campaign, fueled by billions of dollars in pharmaceutical revenues, are becoming increasingly visible, as an estimated seven to eight million schoolchildren today take psychiatric drugs for nonexistent diseases.

On May 21, 1998, Kip Kinkel, 14, killed his parents and went on a shooting spree at his Springfield, Oregon, high school—killing two more people and injuring 22. Kinkel’s downward slide began when he was labeled “dyslexic.” He was then diagnosed as having ADHD and placed on Ritalin, but his problems persisted. After being diagnosed with depression, he was also put on Prozac, known generically as fluoxetine. And then he went berserk.

On February 19, 1996, according to local police, 10-year-old Timmy Becton, using his 3-year-old niece as a human shield, pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at a sheriff’s deputy who visited him at his Lakeland, Florida, home, in company with a truant officer. “I’d sooner shoot you than go to school,” Becton reportedly yelled. Becton had been placed on Prozac by a psychiatrist to cure his dislike of school. According to the parents, an increase in his dosage generated violent changes in mood and extreme anger.

The examples seem endless. More and more children and teens are turning to violence—including killing classmates or parents—after taking psychiatric drugs. The increase of violence is commensurate with the rise of youth psychiatric prescriptions. In 1998 alone, more than 1.6 million prescriptions for antidepressant drugs were written for schoolchildren in the United States—up sharply from previous years.

The Case of Columbine

It came as little surprise to the nation that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who perpetrated the violence at Columbine, had problematic histories. Arrested in 1998 for burglary, both were placed in the Jefferson County, Colorado “juvenile diversion” program for youth offenders and participated in “anger management” classes. Blood samples confirmed that Harris, the leader of the two, was taking Luvox—a mind-altering psychiatric drug in the same class as Prozac, shown to cause suicidal thoughts or violent behavior in many individuals.

While no one knows exactly what Eric Harris was thinking when he planned and directed the macabre crime and double suicide, he left behind enough information to show an obsession with brutality and violence that emerges as the signature of someone driven into psychosis by psychiatric drugs.

Figures available in early 1998 showed that Prozac—the most widely prescribed of the drugs in the class which includes Luvox (also known as fluvoxamine), Paxil, Zoloft and others—alone had amassed more than 40,000 adverse reaction reports, including 2,300 deaths, under the adverse reaction reporting system of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—by far the most of any drug in history.

Between 1988 and 1992, when Prozac was scarcely being prescribed to children, reports accumulated of more than 90 children and adolescents who suffered suicidal or violent self-destructive behavior while on the drug. Examples of reports to the FDA include that of a 12-year-old who suffered hostility and confusion, was violent and became “glassy-eyed” on the drug. An 18-year-old was hospitalized after being on Prozac for 270 days and had reportedly sexually assaulted and stabbed a store clerk. One 16-year-old, who had been on the drug for 50 days, reported hostility, psychotic depression and hallucinations—symptoms which did not exist prior to taking the drug.

As far back as February 1990, a published study by a team headed by Harvard Medical School’s Martin H. Teicher, M.D., found that “six depressed patients free of recent serious suicidal ideation developed intense, violent suicidal preoccupation after 2 - 7 weeks of fluoxetine treatment.”

Another team of physicians, from the State University of New York Health Science Center, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in February 1991 that individuals with no history of suicidal thoughts or actions developed suicidal thoughts after taking fluoxetine. One man was started on a 20-milligram daily dose of fluoxetine and, according to the doctors, “Three days later he had violent suicidal thoughts and tried to hang himself with a rope. The fluoxetine was discontinued, with complete disappearance of suicidal ideation four days later.”

Likewise, this second team reported, a woman developed akathisia—a state of drug-induced insanity characterized by extreme agitation and, sometimes, acts of violence—as well as recurrent suicidal thoughts after starting on fluoxetine. The symptoms resolved after she stopped taking the drug.

“Neither of our patients had a diagnosable personality disorder or history of suicidal ideation, gestures, mania or hypomania,” they wrote. “In our patients, the temporal association of suicidal ideation with the initiation of fluoxetine and its rapid disappearance within a week of discontinuing treatment strongly suggest that fluoxetine can induce suicidal ideation....”

In a similar vein, a 1993 study of eight people on Luvox or fluvoxamine noted the onset of mania. The study team, headed by Dr. Abraham Dorevitch of Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem, reported, “fluvoxamine may induce manic behavior when administered at therapeutic dosages. Manic features appeared after four or more weeks of fluvoxamine treatment in five of the patients and after three weeks or less in three of the patients. ... Manic behavior in all our patients remitted after dosage reduction or discontinuation of fluvoxamine.”

Fluvoxamine and fluoxetine belong to the family of drugs which block the brain’s absorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter; they are known as “selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors” (SSRIs).

A 1995 Nordic medical conference reported that the newer antidepressant drugs have a particularly stimulating amphetamine-like effect and that patients can become “aggressive” or “suffer hallucinations and/or suicidal thoughts.” One U.S. medical doctor wrote of the SSRIs, “I have testified as a medical expert in three teenage cases of murder in which SSRIs were implicated in playing a role. In one case, a 16-year-old committed murder and tried to set off multiple bombs and incendiary devices at the same time. I have also testified in cases of adult murderers who were under the influence of SSRIs, including one mass murder of twelve people followed by suicide. The comparisons to Littleton are obvious.”

In fact, Luvox’s manufacturer states that “Safety and effectiveness of Luvox tablets in individuals below 18 years of age have not been established” and warns that Luvox is “sometimes fatal” to those who take it, also cautioning that it can activate mania and that it can impair judgment and thinking.

No one need look any further than Columbine High School for an example of mania and impaired judgment. Eric Harris’ web site bristled with red flags that showed the “delusions of grandeur” that characterize mania, such as “I am the law. If you don’t like it, you die.”

Or, in an even more sinister tone, this: “You all better ... hide in your houses because I’m coming for EVERYONE soon, and I WILL be armed to the ... teeth, and I WILL shoot to kill and I WILL ... KILL EVERYTHING!”

Stealing the Will

Reflecting on the Colorado tragedy and the fact that mania can spur bizarre behavior, Nicholas Regush, producer of medical programs for ABC News, said, “This is a widely recognized feature of antidepressants, as documented by their very own manufacturers. These drugs are also associated with bouts of irritability, aggression and hostility. Exactly how all this behavioral change is processed in the brain and how long-lasting it might be is poorly understood. Contrary to the big shows of knowledge by psychiatrists, there is a whole lot of guessing going on.”

The brain, however, he noted, “is not some simple toy for make-believe psychiatric magic bullets.”

On May 5, 1999, U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich wrote to FDA Commissioner Jane Henney, expressing his “concern that the FDA has failed to provide adequate oversight of the health consequences of prescribing certain drugs to children.”

In his letter, a copy of which was provided to Freedom, the congressman noted that he had written to the FDA after the school shooting in Springfield, Oregon, about the lack of review of the effects of prescribing Prozac to children, but received a response that he characterized as “indifferent.”

"Now, in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre, it has come to light that one of the killers was prescribed Luvox,” he wrote, noting that Luvox is in the same family of psychiatric drugs as Prozac.

"The basic things these drugs do is they steal the will,” said Beverly Eakman, author of Cloning of the American Mind, Eradicating Morality Through Education. “By stealing the will, I mean they destroy your inhibitions, so that any inhibition that you had not to do certain things, you just don’t have it anymore—including getting angry.”

Children are extremely vulnerable to the effects of antidepressants and other dangerous drugs, according to Eakman. “If they’re on these kinds of drugs, that have these severe psychiatric and mental effects, you’re apt to get a reaction that is really bizarre—and often violent,” she told Freedom. “Something that made you mildly angry before will make you doubly furious.”

While the world has already witnessed far too many instances of carnage from this manufactured fury, experts say that the future holds more of the same unless society does something to halt the legal but unnecessary doping of millions of children—a national catastrophe which, in Dr. Baughman’s words, “is beginning to dwarf the illegal drug problem in this country.”

Other articles on this subject: Parents Fight System Over Child Drugging

If you know of any instances of children put on psychiatric drugs later become violent, experiencing dramatic shifts of personality, or becoming depressed or even suicidal, contact Freedom. We have been investigating psychiatry and the dangers of psychiatric drugs for more than a decade.

All information and the identities of those providing information will be kept strictly confidential.

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