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Juvenile Murders & Push for Use of Antidepressants in that Age Group Coincide

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): Note that the spiked increase in murders by juveniles came at the same time of the push for the use of antidepressants in juveniles. The push for use in juveniles came after a 1992 Oprah show where juveniles on these drugs were featured. The jump in use of SSRIs by juveniles from that time skyrocketed.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/v-print/story/1443770.html

Posted on Sun, Sep. 13, 2009

When children kill, punishment varies
By JOE LAMBE
The Kansas City Star
A Kansas City, Kan., girl charged with murder at age 13 faces adult court and many years in prison.

A boy who was 13 when he killed a man last year will stay in the juvenile system and could be released when he is 22½, a Wyandotte County judge ruled early this month.

Both cases illustrate how children who commit heinous crimes are testing the boundaries of the justice system.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study. However, the number of children who killed declined in the late ’90s and has largely held steady this decade, leading some to question the practice of tougher sentencing.

“Some states are starting to recognize that kids can be treated as kids,” said Michele Deitch, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a study, “From Time Out to Hard Time.”

In 22 states, children as young as 7 still can be tried as adults. There is no age limit in Missouri, but it is 10 in Kansas. As of June, juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole in seven states, including Kansas. That makes the United States the only nation in the world where juveniles can be sentenced to life without parole, the study reported.

All children who offend at age 12 or younger should be put into juvenile care, the Texas study contends. And it found that when they are put in adult prisons, juvenile offenders are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted and 36 times more likely to commit suicide.

Laurence Steinberg, author of “Rethinking Juvenile Justice” and a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, believes that a 13-year-old is too young to be charged as an adult.

“You’re exposing kids to adult sanctions for something they did as a kid,” he said, “but no prosecutor is going to be able to run on the platform of ‘I gave somebody a break.’ ”

Weighing the facts

In the Wyandotte County cases, the similar situations are seemingly headed toward different outcomes.

Early this month, defense attorney Kiann McBratney successfully argued that Antwuan Taylor, the Kansas City, Kan., boy who killed last year at age 13, should not be tried as an adult and instead should stay in the juvenile system.

But McBratney, other prosecutors and some defense attorneys do support adult sentences for some children, saying society needs protection from them.

“There are kids out there who function like adults and can kill people in cold blood,” she said.

Robbin Wasson, the prosecutor in the Taylor case, said, “We don’t want to be prosecuting 13-year-olds willy-nilly as adults,” noting that decisions on juvenile offenders are made on a case-by-case basis.

The other juvenile charged in Wyandotte County last year with killing at age 13 was Keaira Brown, who this year became the youngest person ever sent to adult court there.

She allegedly shot 16-year-old Scott Sappington to death after an apparent botched carjacking attempt.

The victim’s grandmother, Joyce Sappington, said she had mixed emotions about the ruling, but children killing children “has got to stop. If nobody sends a message, it will never stop.”

Nationwide from 1985 to 2004, the study reports, judges transferred 961 children age 13 or younger to adult courts. That does not count children from states that have automatic transfer laws for crimes such as murder or states that allow prosecutors to directly file cases in adult court.

“You can have a teen who kills and goes automatically into the adult system and life without parole,” Deitch said. “That’s incomprehensible to me.”

Science and sentencing

Researchers have discovered that the section of the brain related to impulse control does not fully develop until the mid-20s, but that finding doesn’t necessarily help in the legal debate.

Some say it means children grow and change — what they are is not what they will become. Others say it means they are out of control and deadly.

The Supreme Court mentioned those brain studies in a 2005 Missouri case when it ruled that those younger than 18 when they killed could not be executed. That ruling took 72 people off death rows.

The ruling said children change, are less mature than adults, are more influenced by peers and are less to blame.

“Even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile,” the court said, “is not evidence of irretrievably depraved character.”

In the Taylor case in Wyandotte County, the boy was influenced by a 21-year-old woman who gave him a gun and suggested he kill someone. She drove him and picked out a victim, and Taylor shot Charles McElroy six times.

Barry Feld, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, said of the Taylor case and the woman’s influence: “It is the absolute paradigm of what the Supreme Court was talking about.”

Thirteen is too young for adult prosecution, he said, but for older children, he has raised questions about whether juvenile court is appropriate.

A “youth discount” is a sentencing method that Feld advocates. “A 14-year-old gets 25 percent of the going rate for the same crime by an adult, a 16-year-old gets about 50 percent,” he said.

Deitch praised another approach sometimes used by Kansas, Missouri and 25 other states. The laws generally allow a judge to combine a juvenile sentence with a further adult sentence if the offender fails in the juvenile system.

Wyandotte County District Judge Wes Griffin imposed the Kansas version of that approach in the Taylor case. Kansas officials say it has been rarely used — only in seven cases of 348 juveniles sent to the state juvenile system last year.

Missouri also rarely uses its version but has had good success, officials said. From 1999 to 2006, they said, 36 people were released after serving their juvenile time. Only six committed other crimes.

Atharene McElroy, mother of the victim in the Taylor case, is satisfied that her son’s killer is staying in juvenile court.

“He’s just a young, troubled boy,” she said, but he is dangerous and needs to be off the streets while he matures.

To reach Joe Lambe, call 816-234-7714 or send e-mail to jlambe@kcstar.com. (419)

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Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.org) Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? - Our Serotonin Nightmare Withdrawal CD: Help! I Can't Get Off My Antidepressant! She has specialized since 1990 in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications (such as Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Anafranil, Fen-Phen, Redux and Meridia as well as the new atypical antipsychotics Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel and Abilify), as well as pain killers, and has testified before the FDA and congressional subcommittee members on antidepressants.

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4 responses to “Juvenile Murders & Push for Use of Antidepressants in that Age Group Coincide”

  1. rockireindeer

    I have also read the story of Justin Strange who was a kid who committed suicide just days after he was released from a hospital and had alcohol problems combined with anti-depressants. Alcohol abuse can cause reactive hypoglycemia, where, instead of the pancreas producing insulin (this might coincide with the weak pancreas) the body produces a high shot of adrenalin to reduce the blood sugar. You then would feel a nervous rush or a slight feeling of panic (possibly leading to drinking) about 20 minutes after eating a high carb meal. The anti-depressants, if lowering blood sugar can cause you to want to drink and then you are in a really vicious cycle, the anti-depressants causing lower blood sugar to the alcohol to the hypoglycemia to the alcohol and on and on. It took my body about 3 to 4 months to recover from this situation. Everytime I would eat (anything) I would become exhausted and have to take a nap and then I would wake up all night so I would be tired and so on. I also took my blood sugar and found that I had normal blood sugar without eating, (about 90) then, when eating carbs (only 1 serving size of pretzels – they were the worst, 150 cal.) my blood sugar would rise to about 165, then 10 to 20 min. later, it would lower to almost 80 (when the fasting sugar was about 92) This looks like reactive hypoglycemia. I took these readings when I was when I was not on Lexapro, right after I stopped taking it, and in about 3-4 months, I don’t have this anymore. If this drug affects your blood sugar, and you mix with alcohol, you could have all kinds of abnormal spikes and drops in your blood sugar, causing you to THINK you are having these emotional or fear FEELINGS but they are simply drops and spikes in your blood sugar and don’t need to be reacted to.

  2. rockireindeer

    I should have posted this on a different story but yes, I have read the alcohol cravings stories and in fact there was a very flaky neighbor that lived below me who took prozac and used to drink herself into oblivion and then call 911. When they got there, she would not open her door and the police and paramedics would always be knocking on my door asking me how to break into her condominium. She did this at least 4-5 times that I lived there in about 3 years. That’s alot. I found 2 things that help me alot, Miracle Noodles and Vitamin Bars with lots of Vitamin B. You can eat the Miracle Noodles and they have no calories, so you can feel full without feeling guilty or nervous and the vitamin B gives you lots of energy during the day so you can sleep at night. That cuts way down on the drinking. But when I was taking Lexapro, I no longer had a choice to drink or not to. Lexapro takes away that choice. I know this for sure because exactly when I stopped taking it, the overwhelming alcohol cravings and shaking stopped (the doctors will all tell you that the shaking is from alcohol withdrawal but it is actually from the Lexapro, probably, the extremely high blood pressure it creates.

  3. Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy

    Overwhelming cravings for alcohol was the first reaction I ever noticed with the use of SSRI antidepressants – the Prozac family of antidepressants including Lexapro as one of the newest and strongest SSRI on the market. If you go to our site http://www.drugawareness.org and search “alcohol” you will find an overview of the alcohol cravings.

    This is something I discuss at length in my book “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare” It has MUCH to do with the way these drugs or increased serotonin levels has to do with producing drastic drops in blood sugar. This is critical to understand in knowing how to recover after the use of these drugs.

    Also the only connection between anorexia and alcoholism is low blood sugar – BOTH are symptoms of low blood sugar. When you have a weaker pancreas, which can be inherited, you can suffer from either anorexia or alcoholism. It is a shame that the world has been kept from such simple truths for so long when understanding could save so many lives.

    And for my opinion on your drinking and Lexapro – without doubt it was a direct CAUSE of the use of this drug! I have seen it over and over and over again for the past 20 years. The stories are the same. Only the names change.

  4. rockireindeer

    I have contacted approximately 12 attorneys and have been told that the drug companies are not held accountable for effects of their drugs unless they are consistent among all patients (ie, unless every patient suffers the same exact symptoms, which I find really idiotic b/c a basic premise of these drugs in the first place is that each person would have varying levels of all chemicals in their brains and thus would have differring reactions to the chemical alterations.) That’s why the drug companies make so much money, not because their drugs are so good. They are not held accountable for any of the murder and mayhem they create. The poor individuals are. Why do you think Lexapro was approved by the FDA for adolescents age 12 to 17 years 20 days after the DOJ sued Forest for marketing to pediatrics, when according to reports, the FDA had no new information? Apparrantly for years, medicaid had been paying for claims for off label use of the drug and then someone found that out in an audit. (Nice work Medicaid.) Medicaid would have stopped paying for those prescriptions and there would apparrantly be thousands of teenagers withdrawing from Lexapro all across the U.S. Specific to Lexapro, Forest Labs has settled a lawsuit with stockholders for $65 million who purchased stock in Lexapro when it first came out b/c they misstated the adverse affects of the drug. Currently, one law firm I spoke to is taking Lexapro side effects, behavior-related incidents but only for people under the age of 24.
    My situation is this. In Dec. 2007, my husband and I were seeing a marriage counselor. I have been a heavy drinker (on the week-ends mostly for most of my life but have never gotten into any trouble because of it and would mostly drink with my husband on week-ends, etc.) My drinking was getting worse in response to my dog’s death (I had her for 15 years) my grandmother’s death, and my poor relationship with my husband and financial problems. I also worked 6 days a week. I believe I was mostly exhausted and I had anorexia and bulimia as a teenager (I am now 42) which appears to be a precursor to the alcohol use. I believe that my father’s suicide was a precursor to my developing and eating disorder. One bright spot in this is that I now have a much better understanding of what happened to him (my father) and have been able after 27 years of blaming myself for his death to understand that I did not cause it. He and my mother had financial problems and six children. He and my mother had been treated by the same psychiatrist over the course of 3 to 5 years and both given numerous anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and traquilizers. I had no knowledge until the past year of any drugs my father was given, only I knew my mother was given several, even though after 20 years of no medication, she remains psychosis-free, so she was never psychotic to begin with. My mother only remembers the name of one drug he was given, Imipramine, or Elavil. Finally, after 3 years of this “treatment”, he became severely catatonic, I beleive now, from akathasia. He would lay on the couch constantly, saying how he was “too nervous” to do anything. He began to become paranoid and I beleive break from reality, he would ask my mother if she thought the neighbors could hear them talking thru the windows and if they said he was a homosexual. Finally he left my mother to live with a girlfriend and six months later committed suicide by walking in front of a train. This was in 1981.
    One night I drank too much because I was mad at my husband and ended up getting a drunk in public. Oh well, in light of what happened next, this is no big deal. But for this, I got my life almost completely taken away from me.
    The marriage counselor who is a licensed substance abuse counselor and not a doctor or psychiatrist advised my to go to the doctor for drugs upon my telling him that I got a drunk in public and that I seemed to need to drink about every 10 days or I would get depressed and cry and that I also previously had anorexia and bulimia. (I have since found a link in that I was severely addicted to bulimia, and I read that when you throw up, endorphins are released. I have always been so puzzled at how I became addicted to such a behavior, since it was not a substance, a fact that no matter how much I discussed this fact of the previous eating disorder, no professional seemed to know this very important piece of information.)
    I went to my husband’s doctor, whom I had never seen before (because I don’t like going to the doctor and rest of this will explain why) he had me fill out a form for depression and determined me to be moderately depressed and gave me Lexapro and Rozerem (because I could not sleep) I have read since that Lexapro is to be used for Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I was not sleeping and working 2 jobs, so I hardly think I qualify for Major Depression and there is nothing generalized about my anxiety, it revolves around my weight, my finances and possible tragic accidents that could befall people I love (which is perfectly in line with my previous life experiences.) I was unable to continue to take the Rozerem because I could almost not stand up after waking up if I took it for more than 2 nights in a row. I continued to take the Lexapro, and at first it made me feel better, I believe it’s because I was high. Twenty days later I got a DUI. Now I have lived off the same street in about different places all within about 3 miles of each other for the last 17 years and have no criminal record (except that one drunk in public.) By February, my drinking was so bad that my husband and I went to the doctor asking for Antabuse. He would not give me that and gave me Campral instead. That drug has an insert which shows that study particpants taking that drug are 3 times as likely as people not taking it to engage in suicidal thoughts or behaviors and more interestingly, that it helps control drinking cravings but they don’t know how it works. How could that be? It’s like cave men looking at lighting, we don’t know what this is but we see what it does! He then referred me to an addiction center to get the antabuse. The psychiatrist there gave me antabuse and told me that he was stumped as to what was wrong with me and to obviously quit drinking. I brought all my medications with me, the Lexapro, Rozerem, & Campral, and he said it was fine to take this combination and add antabuse to it. My drinking continued to become worse and more and more I was thinking about killing myself, but I knew it was a side effect of the drugs. My blood pressure over the nine months I took Lexapro went from 120/80 to 145/110. I was getting more and more nervous and was continuing to drink and be obssessed with drinking. I even tried a hypnotist (that actually worked the best for awhile.) I had even called the police and told them I was drinking and they came and gave me another drunk in public. (I believe that I thought it was funny and exciting to continue to get arrested.) During one of my follow up visits to refill the Lexapro, the doctor started kissing me and grabbing my breasts. I admit that I was attracted to him but I knew that he was married and and so was I so I made it a point to never act on this because I am too old to be fooling around like that wasting people’s time while they are trying to run a business. I wish he would not have done that b/c that just opened the flood gates. I then showed up at his house one night drunk and his wife called the police on me so I got another drunk in public. The next day his wife called me on my cell phone, (she must have gotten the number from him.) I started to become terrifed when I got home the next day and drank again and then called the doctor and told him I was going to kill myself and started cutting my wrists, for which I was sent to a psyhicatric ward for 2 days against my will. When I spoke to the CSB person and he was reading my file, he was laughing hysterically because the origional person who interviewed me that night got the story wrong and said that I was involved in a physical altercation with the doctor and his wife (which was not true.) Get a mental picture of this: I show up at his house and myself, the 40 year-old female alcoholic patient, the 40 year-old doctor, and the doctor’s wife, who is also a doctor involved in a three way fist fight??!?!?!? I think the person who wrote that is a good candidate for a pee test.
    My drinking continued to be out of control and, finally, my husband forced me to go to a rehab. for 2 weeks in July of 2008. There, I spoke with the psychiatrist and told him that I needed to be taken off of this Lexapro, I finally realized I was getting more and more anxious and abnormal and obsessive and more and more obssessed with this doctor, drinking, and just wanting it to be over and killing myself. He said that Buspar would be good to take for the anxiety. In this rehab, they gave out lots of medication. One woman was so intoxicated after being presribed medication (she was normal the first few days I was there) that she couldn’t walk without assistance and was seeing trolls in her room. (I don’t think that rehab will do her much good, because she will sober up when she gets out and then probably need a drink.) This rehab also admitted me with no ID, just my insurance card and 2 pool passes since I had no driver’s license. This rehab. and the addiction center I went to all tried to tell me I was alcohol dependent. Although I have never had withdrawl symptoms. I think I would be the first to know if I had physical dependence. I would have to always have a drink but my BAC was always 0 with no symptoms anytime they would take it. In addition, they were telling me I had Post Acute Withdrawl Symptoms which are incredibly close to the side effect of Lexapro, if you compare them side by side, they are almost Identical.
    Lexapro Side Effects: Post Acute Withdrawl Symptoms:
    headache, nervousness, or anxiety Mood swings
    nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, or Anxiety
    changes in weight Variable energy
    sleepiness or insomnia Irritability
    increased sweating, Tiredness
    fatigue Variable concentration
    Disturbed sleep
    These idiots kept trying to tell me I had withdrawl symptoms from alcohol but they were really side effects of Lexapro!
    When I arrived home from rehab, my father-in-law died 2 weeks later and another week after that, I got another DUI. During which, I shoved the police officer and was charged with a felony and pinched the butt of another officer. (I believe these were dropped b/c I got copies of all my records and wrote down everything that happened and gave it to my attorney.) While I was in jail, I met numerous other people who were there for shoplifting while on Zanax and DUI’s while on anti-depressants. All referred to be taken by non-medical doctors, Community Services Boards therapists referring their patients into doctors for these drugs and then getting arrested and I guess being referred for more drugs.
    Finally, during the week I was in jail (I was not allowed to leave until I had a bond hearing, they were going to keep me there with no bond) I was finally able to get off the Lexapro. I had tried many times before to cut it down or stop taking it but never could. Since then, I have gone many months without drinking and my anxiety level has returned to normal. (Actually better than normal.) During the time I took Lexapro, I was able to work all day, get home at 6:30, take antabuse and drink all night, about 10 to 12 airplane bottles ( I weigh about 150 lbs.) and still be awake and wanting to go places. I don’t think I could phsyically carry that out now.
    I know at least 4 other people who exhibit strange, aggressive, behaviors when taking this drug. (That’s just by coincidence.) Why would I, just one regular (or not) person, know 4 other people taking this same drug? A lot of people must be being prescribed it.
    Although my husband and I were diligent the whole time and never gave up in seeking treatment, non of these so-called professionals seemed to be able to interperet the obvious even though they wrote it themselves numerous times “unknown to psychiatric services” ‘”although depressed has no psychiatric history” and all but one of these events were contained in the 9 months I was on Lexapro. If I can go thru all this and still keep my job, I never needed most of these treatments, I actually have a high level of mental fitness for what what I’ve been through.
    The fact is, that I have never received a DUI when not taking it. Supposedly, alcoholism is a progressive disease and proponents of that would say I was going to get one any how. But I received the DUI’s and was arrested numerous time while on it, so we will never know what would happened if I hadn’t been taking it. Can you give me any advice?
    I believe these drugs could be useful, but they have not business being prescribed in our current medical environment where there is no follow up and people are being sent out into the streets on these drugs that basically have a limitless list of unknown side effects. They belong being administered to people on an inpatient basis for short periods of time until they are fully assessed.

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