Charleston Event Resurrects Debate About Anti-Psychotic Meds & Mass Murders

• Charleston shooter was arrested with prescription drug in possession earlier this year.

By James Spounias —

The alleged June 17 murder of nine black church parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, reportedly by Dylann Storm Roof, has once again highlighted the connection between antipsychotic medication and mass shootings.

Roof was reported to have had a drug called suboxone in his possession in a previous arrest earlier this year. Suboxone contains two ingredients. The first, buprenorphine, is an opioid, and the second, naloxone, is a special narcotic drug that reverses the effects of other narcotic medicines.

Packaging cautions about a common side effect of suboxone: “This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you.” Other side effects include nervousness, depression, agitation and insomnia.

It is unknown right now whether Roof had suboxone or other drugs in his system at the time of his arrest for the Charleston murders. But because so many perpetrators in high profile mass shootings and suicide events, such as Columbine, Aurora and Newtown, are linked to antipsychotic medications, should the national conversation be on what these drugs do to the brain?

Governor James Richard “Rick” Perry, who ironically is best known for being in Big Pharma’s pocket when he ordered young girls be given Gardisil vaccines, was first among presidential candidates to make mention of the role of antipsychotics and mass shootings.

In the past few decades, the attention given to the dangers of these drugs rarely surfaced outside a minority of the psychiatric community, alternative health advocates and groups affiliated with the Church of Scientology, such as the Citizens Commission on Human Rights; except, when the latter engaged in a highly publicized public relations campaign against antidepressant medications.

Has the diagnosis of depression been expanded to meet Big Pharma’s market share?

In the 1950s, it was estimated that 50 people per million were clinically depressed. By the end of the 20th century, the number grew to 100,000 per million, a 2,000-fold increase, according to internationally respected psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author Dr. David Healy in his book, The Creation of Psychotherapy.

In 2015, highly credentialed critics of Big Pharma began speaking out more strongly than ever before, and this author reported in the June 8 & 15 issue of AMERICAN FREE PRESS how Dr. Peter Gøtzsche said antidepressants need serious reconsideration, given the high number of underreported deaths attributed to their indiscriminate use.

Gøtzsche is a highly respected, published academic who is affiliated with the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, a group of academics and practitioners who examined Big Pharma evidence for antidepressants.


Does a diagnosis of depression have hard proof? The council avers: “There are no known biological causes for any of the psychiatric disorders apart from dementia and some rare chromosomal disorders. Consequently, there are no biological tests such as blood tests or brain scans that can be used to provide independent objective data in support of any psychiatric diagnosis.” In other words, the diagnosis of depression is inherently subjective.

On the question of “chemical imbalances” in the brain, the council states: “Psychiatric drugs have often been prescribed to patients on the basis that they cure a ‘chemical imbalance.’ However, no chemical imbalances have been proven to exist in relation to any mental health disorder. There is also no method available to test for the presence or absence of these chemical imbalances.”

Prozac and related drugs are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which block the reabsorption (re-uptake) of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Other drugs having the same mechanism of action are Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa and Zoloft. Whether there is a basis for SSRIs is hotly contested, but the council and others have made a valid argument that there simply is no reliable science behind the serotonin-depression connection.

The Globe and Mail reports: “The medical journal BMJ put the spotlight on the low serotonin doctrine in a recent editorial published in April [2015] and written by Dr. David Healy, a professor of psychiatry at Bangor University in Wales. Blockbuster sales of antidepressants such as Prozac are based on the marketing of the serotonin myth, Healy wrote. He added that pharmaceutical companies misled the public into putting too much faith in SSRIs.” Healy states: “they still don’t know” if SSRIs raise or lower serotonin levels.

The council reports some frightening side effects. “Psychiatric drugs can have long-lasting negative effects on the brain and central nervous system, particularly when taken long term, which can lead to physical, emotional and cognitive difficulties.”

Today, the best selling prescription drug in America, Abilify, is an antipsychotic medication that only a few years ago took fifth place and its competitor, Seroquel, took sixth place.

Even an antipsychotic medication proponent in The New York Times reported that “the original target population for these drugs, patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is actually quite small: The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia is 1%, and that of bipolar disorder is around 1.5%. Drug companies have had a powerful economic incentive to explore other psychiatric uses and target populations for the newer antipsychotic drugs.”

While children have been targets of Big Pharma’s antipsychotic market share for decades, especially with the popular drug Ritalin, which has the same effect as cocaine in the brain, psychoactive drugs have recently been foisted upon children who are treated under the Medicaid program, accounting for as much as 16% of total Medicaid drug costs.

The New York Times reported that Dr. Joseph Biederman, “a world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped fuel an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in children, earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007 but for years did not report much of this income to university officials, according to information given congressional investigators.”

The bottom line is that America may be unique in having millions of walking time bombs, of all ages, on mind-altering psychoactive drugs. Will truth prevail and antidepressant medications be restricted to the few who may actually need them, or will mandatory mental health screenings, accompanied by required antipsychotic prescriptions, be part of the future for Americans, especially those who do not conform to establishment dogma?

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James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine and his wife, Carole. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.

4 Comments on Charleston Event Resurrects Debate About Anti-Psychotic Meds & Mass Murders

  1. Those seeking psychiatric help are having a problem which can lead to a violent outburst. After being prescribed a mind medicine and the patient has an outburst, it cannot definitely blamed on the mind medicine.
  2. Fiachra and Michael:

    Thank you for the comments.

    Antipsychotic, antidepressant and antianxiety drugs are all misnamed, on purpose. In the future I will take time to explain how the technical language, itself, is part of the problem; it stigmatizes those who receive the prescriptions. It’s clear that far too many of these drugs are wrongly prescribed.



  3. Fiachra, you’re right. The term “antipsychotic” is just 1984 Doublespeak, intended to fool people into thinking these drugs prevent psychotic outbursts. What they do instead is suppress the individual’s actions, allowing their anger to crescendo until they lash out against the world at large.
  4. Hi, I don’t think ‘antipsychotic’ is a good description for drugs that cause people to ‘really act out.’

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