Gun control? Why don’t we try psychotropic prescription drug control?
We’re having a big debate on guns. I don’t hear anyone talking about the people that are pulling the trigger. The old “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” has made the rounds, even on this blog. I think I’ll amend it. “Guns don’t kill people, crazy people with guns kill people.” Seems like the common factor in all of those variations is “people.” Maybe we should look at the people that are killing people.
Columbine, the Virginia Tech shooter, the 2011 Tucson shooting, Aurora, Sandy Hook. What are common factors here, if any? All of these shooters were young men, all had some type of documented behavioral problems, and it appears that virtually all were taking or had taken some type of prescription psychotropic drugs. Harris, of the Columbine shootings, wanted to join the United States Marine Corp, but his application was rejected shortly before the shootings because he was taking the drug Fluvoxamine, an SSRI antidepressant, which he was required to take as part of court-ordered anger management therapy. Fluvoxamine has been identified as one of the drugs to have a higher incidence of violence towards others as a side effect. In the case of the Aurora, Colorado shooter, authorities noted that, when they went to his apartment, “… it is reported that investigators seized four prescription bottles and immunization records from his apartment when it was searched in July 2012. It was not revealed what the prescriptions were or what they were for. The judge ultimately ruled in October that prosecutors could keep the items.”
In a Salon article linked below, it states that
“Between 1994 and 2001, the percentage of visits to doctors in which psychotropics were prescribed to teenagers more than doubled: to one in ten visits by teenage boys and one in fifteen visits by teenage girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. In 2009, 25 percent of college students were taking psychotropic meds, up from 20 percent in 2003, 17 percent in 2000, and just 9 percent in 1994.”
In the Science Daily article linked below, it states that
“Between 1994 and 2001, psychotropic prescriptions for adolescents rose more than sixty percent; the rise post-1999 was connected to the development and marketing of several new psychotropic drugs and the rebranding of several older ones.”
When you’re done with this blog post, I would encourage you to go read the entire Salon article, and the Science Daily if you have the time. It’s mind-bending. We’ve been drugging our children at ever increasing percentages for about twenty years now.
What are the long term affects of drugging our children with these drugs? Do you know? No, you don’t. The scientific community doesn’t know. Here’s just one example I found in an article titled “Special Report: Do Psych Drugs Do More Long-Term Harm Than Good?” the long-term effects of these drugs are questioned, here’s an excerpt:
Except that there’s a troubling puzzle: Why, then, did the number of Americans on the disability rolls for mental health reasons triple between 1987 and 2007?
And more troubling questions: Yes, the drugs often help people short-term, and sometimes, longer term. But why do some data suggest that schizophrenics who take anti-psychotics fare worse, long-term, than those who don’t? Why do so many people with depression who take anti-depressants seem to flip into bipolar disorder? And why is the disability caused by bipolar disorder rising so sharply, anyway?
Two of the studies that Whitaker described were particularly striking:
A World Health Organization study [here] found that schizophrenia patients living in poor countries did better long-term than schizophrenics in rich countries. In fact, “Living in a developed country is a strong predictor that a person will never recover from schizophrenia,” he told the audience. “That actually was the study that got me interested in this whole question from the start.”
And a study of 145 psychotic patients over 15 years [here] found that among those who took antipsychotics, only 5% recovered, compared to 40% of those who were off the drugs.
Of course, why wouldn’t we drug our children? We’ve been drugging ourselves as well, might as well apply the same logic to the kids, right?
In the article: “CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S“., Dr Ronald Dworkin makes the statement that “Doctors are now medicating unhappiness,” said Dworkin. “Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives.” This is a fascinating article that goes on to point out that:
“Depression is a major public health issue,” said Dr. Kelly Posner, an assistant professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. “The fact that people are getting the treatments they need is encouraging.”
Unfortunately, the “treatment they need” seems to be drugs.
We live in this fantastic society with the most incredible technology, modern travel, connectivity, gps, and the list goes on. And, apparently, we’re miserable at an ever-increasing rate. We have everything and less-and-less to live for. We’re treating it with our miracle cure-all; technology (in the form of drugs). It’s not working. Some of our disturbed children are starting to open fire, and all we want to talk about are the guns they use.
Guns? I think we’d better widen the conversation. We’re trying to treat the symptom.
I started writing this with the idea that the psychotropic drugs were the problem. Now, I’m not sure. Coincidence is not causality. Yet, one thing has become clear, they all had behavioral and emotional problems, and all had at one time or another taken one form of these drugs. Even the military is beginning to look into the use of psychotropic drugs and the effects. I’ve linked an article below.
The reading I’ve done to write this has scared me. Depressed me too. Maybe I’ll take something. Nah, probably just take a good-old fashioned walk in the sunshine, listen to the birds chirp. Yea, it’s January, but I’ve got a pair of sunglasses that actually make it look sunny, and a “happy-birds chirping” track on my iTunes…and you know, I’m packing.
Some cited articles and references.
In a small but growing number of cases across the nation, lawyers are blaming the U.S. military’s heavy use of psychotropic drugs for their clients’ aberrant behavior and related health problems