Mark Taylor’s testimony before the FDA 9/13/2004

I am Mark Allen Taylor and I am a victim of the SSRI antidepressant era. I took six to thirteen bullets in the heart area in the Columbine High School shooting when Eric Harris on Luvox opened fire that now infamous day.

They almost had to amputate my leg and my arm. My heart missed by only one millimeter. I had three surgeries. Five years later I am still recuperating.

I went through all this to realize that SSRI antidepressants are dangerous for those who take them and for all those who associate with those who take them.

I hope that my testimony today shows you that you need to take action immediately before more innocent people like me, and you, do not get hurt or die horrible deaths as a result.

As Americans we should have the right to feel safe and if you were doing your job we would be safe. Why are we worrying about terrorists in other countries when the pharmaceutical companies have proven to be our biggest terrorists by releasing these drugs on an unsuspecting public?

How are we suppose to feel safe at school, at home, on the street, at church or anywhere else if we cannot trust the FDA to do what we are paying you to do? Where were you when I and all of my classmates got shot at Columbine?

You say that antidepressants are effective. So why did they not help Eric Harris before he shot me?

According to Eric they “helped” him to feel homicidal and suicidal after only six weeks on Zoloft. And then he said that dropping off Luvox cold turkey would help him “fuel the rage” he needed to shoot everyone. But he continued on Luvox and shot us all anyway.

So, why did these so called antidepressants not make him better? I will tell you why. It is because they do not work.

We should consider antidepressants to be accomplices to murder.

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

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DEPRESSION MED: 15 Year Old Hangs Himself: Illinois

FDA ‘black-box’ warning – In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts among youths taking anti-depressants. In 2004, the agency required a new, more stringent label when antidepressants were prescribed to those under 18.

Between 2003-04 the youth suicide rate jumped 14 percent
– the steepest increase ever seen – while the number of antidepressant prescriptions for youths dramatically dropped during the same period: 20 percent for children 10 and under, 12 percent for 11-to-14-year-olds and 10 percent for 15-to-19-year-olds.

Paragraphs 29 & 30 read: “He stopped going to school and began attending an outpatient program, seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and anxiety. He tried returning to school on a half-day basis, but soon became overwhelmed with makeup work and inquiries from classmates who heard rumors he had tried to kill himself. After a few days in school, Iain asked to be readmitted to the hospital, where he stayed for a week, his parents said.”

“But as summer approached, he began showing signs of improvement. He was easier to communicate with, did his chores when asked and his doctors believed they had found the right balance in his medication, his father said.”

Paragraph 32 reads: “Lain’s parents and friends say they do not know of any incidents that might have triggered what happened June 3, when his father found him in the basement. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He did not leave a note.”

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/07/05/20090705bullying.html

Bullied boy’s short life ends in suicide
Jul. 5, 2009 08:20 AM
Associated Press

CHICAGO – The bullying seemed inescapable.

His family and friends say it followed Iain Steele from junior high to high school
– from hallways, where one tormentor shoved him into lockers, to cyberspace, where another posted a video on Facebook making fun of his taste for heavy metal music.

“At one point, (a bully) had told (Iain) he wished he would kill himself,” said Matt Sikora, Iain’s close friend.

Iain’s parents know their son had other problems, but they believe the harassment contributed to a deepening depression that hospitalized the 15-year-old twice this year. On June 3, while his classmates were taking final exams, he went to the basement of his home and hanged himself with a belt.

His death stunned his quiet suburb west of Chicago and unleashed an outpouring of support for his parents, William and Liz, who say greater attention should be paid to bullying and its connection to mental health.

“No kid should be afraid for himself to go to school,” his father said. “It should be a safe environment where they can intellectually thrive. And he was, literally, just frightened to go to school, fearing what he would have to deal with on that day. And it was day after day.”

A school spokeswoman said she did not believe Iain was bullied. Police are investigating the allegations.

Nearly 30 percent of American children are bullied or are bullies themselves, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological and is repetitive, intentional and creates a perceived imbalance of power, said Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

Soon, the American Academy of Pediatrics will for the first time include a section on bullying in its official policy statement on the pediatrician’s role in preventing youth violence.

Wright, a lead author of the statement, said the decision to address the issue was due to a growing body of research over the last decade linking bullying to youth violence, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Last year, the Yale School of Medicine conducted analysis of the link between childhood bullying and suicide in 37 studies from 13 countries, finding both bullies and their victims were at high risk of contemplating suicide.

In March, the parents of a 17-year-old Ohio boy who committed suicide filed a lawsuit against his school alleging their son was bullied. Instead of seeking compensation, they are asking the school to put in place an anti-bullying program and to recognize their son’s death as a “bullicide.”

Iain Steele enjoyed riding his skateboard, his father said, but after hip surgery in 8th grade limited his mobility, he picked up the guitar and impressed an instructor with his musical talent.

He was revered by younger kids in the neighborhood, often fixing their skateboards, settling their disputes and including them in games. “He was a very gentle, kind kid, compassionate to a fault,” his father said. But Iain’s embrace of heavy metal set him apart from classmates. He let his hair grow to shoulder-length and wore mostly black clothing, including jeans with chains and T-shirts of heavy metal bands with dark, sometimes morbid lyrics.

For this, his classmates at McClure Junior High School often called him “emo” – a slang term for angst-ridden followers of a style of punk music, said Sikora, 15.

The bullying could also be physical, Iain’s friends and parents said. In 8th grade at McClure, one bully pushed Iain into a locker while he was on crutches and accused him of faking an injury to get out of gym class. Iain rarely shied away from his tormentors, however, and in this case, he punched the bully in the jaw, his father said.

“He was mainly bullied only because he was different, or hurt, or stupid things like that,” said Sikora. “He never bothered anybody. … It was all just because he was different and an easy target.”

William Steele said his son had trouble ignoring the bullying because it “was just sort of relentless.” It got to the point where the father sat down with the principal at McClure and with a bully’s mother. But the harassment did not subside.

Steele said, “(Iain) had a real trust issue because he felt like, particularly at McClure, the system let him down, that it didn’t deliver on its promise to protect him from bullying.”

McClure Principal Dan Chick said in an e-mail “the District 101 community is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy of losing one of our children.” Chick said he takes bullying very seriously but declined to discuss details of Iain’s case because of privacy issues.

“As with all situations, I investigated this specific matter and took appropriate actions within the limits of my authority,” Chick said.

After graduating from McClure in 2008, Iain began attending the south campus for freshmen and sophomores at Lyons Township High School, where he found new friends – and new tormentors. A new bully emerged who at first acted friendly but then posted a homemade video on Facebook pretending to be Iain playing heavy metal on guitar.

“It was like a public humiliation to (Iain),” Sikora said.

The family of the student did not respond to requests for comment.

Jennifer Bialobok, a spokeswoman for Lyons Township High School, said “bullying is obviously not tolerated at LT,” but added, “I don’t think we’re naive enough to think that bullying behavior doesn’t exist.”

Two years ago, Lyons Township created a “speak up line” in which students can anonymously report “inappropriate or unsafe behavior,” and the school hangs posters defining bullying and explaining how to report it, Bialobok said. If any student reported being bullied, a thorough investigation would take place, with consequences ranging from parental notification to out-of-school suspension, she said.

Bialobok said she could not discuss Iain’s case because of student privacy laws, but, “we don’t believe that bullying was an issue while Iain was attending LT. Counselors and a host of other support personnel worked routinely to make his experience at LT a positive one.”

Local police have not documented incidents of bullying involving Iain but are still conducting interviews, Deputy Chief Brian Budds said.

By this winter, Iain’s mental health had begun a downward spiral, his parents said. In February, he told them he was having suicidal thoughts and asked to be admitted to the hospital.

He stopped going to school and began attending an outpatient program, seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and anxiety. He tried returning to school on a half-day basis, but soon became overwhelmed with makeup work and inquiries from classmates who heard rumors he had tried to kill himself. After a few days in school, Iain asked to be readmitted to the hospital, where he stayed for a week, his parents said.

But as summer approached, he began showing signs of improvement. He was easier to communicate with, did his chores when asked and his doctors believed they had found the right balance in his medication, his father said.

“He seemed to be in a calm, happy place,” he said.

Iain’s parents and friends say they do not know of any incidents that might have triggered what happened June 3, when his father found him in the basement. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He did not leave a note.

Looking back, Iain’s parents wonder what factors besides bullying may have contributed to their son’s depression.

Iain’s favorite heavy metal bands, such as Lamb of God and Children of Bodem and Bullet for My Valentine, often have lyrics with dark messages. One Bullet for My Valentine song is about being bullied, and another song contains the refrain: “The only way out is to die.”

Also, Iain was deeply hurt this spring after a brief relationship with a girl he met in his outpatient program. The two exchanged text messages, but her parents and therapists advised against them dating and about two months ago barred her from having communication with him.

Still, Iain’s parents remain convinced bullying played a significant role in their son’s depression. As Iain’s story spread through the community, many people approached Liz Steele to describe their own experiences with bullying, depression or suicide, she said.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about mental health or bullying because it’s a difficult thing to talk about, but we need to talk about it,” she said. “It shouldn’t be a stigma.”

Meanwhile, the community has rallied behind the Steeles. In Iain’s memory, his classmates tied white ribbons around hundreds of trees in the neighborhood. On June 10, about 500 people attended a memorial service at First Congregational Church of Western Springs.

Rich Kirchherr, senior minister at the church, said the community has felt a “deep and abiding sadness” since Iain’s death. Kirchherr said few people seemed aware that Iain was bullied.

“There is an acknowledgment now, as people have discovered that Iain might not always have been treated with the respect that every person deserves,” Kirchherr said. “Many people were surprised to hear that.”

Friends have established several Facebook groups in his memory, including the “Iain Steele Remembrance Group,” which has more than 700 members. The commentary on the group’s wall was summed up by a Lyons Township High School student who said she did not know Iain but had learned an important lesson from his death.

“I’m learning to treat everyone with respect, even people who I don’t know well or people who I might not get along with,” she wrote. “If there is anything good that can come out of this tragedy, the responsibility lies with us to live with kindness and be aware that life is fragile.”

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4/29/2001 – Another antidepressant-induced school shooting

“And school officials have since discovered that in the days before he
brought the gun to school, he was having trouble adjusting to a new
anti-depressant medication.”

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010428/us/tragedy_averted_1.html

Saturday April 28 12:57 PM ET
Wash. School Deals With Gun Incident

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer

MATTAWA, Wash. (AP) – Apple orchards are blossoming just down the road. But
there is one student in Michelle Hansen’s honors English class who is not
there to see it.

Cory Baadsgaard is, instead, in the county jail, writing letters of apology
to classmates he has known since kindergarten – the same ones he forced into
a classroom corner using a loaded big-game hunting rifle and swear words many
had never heard him use before.

“It’s hard to write when you’re shaking and crying,” the 16-year-old said
in a letter that his friend, Clint Price, read to the class soon after the
April 10 standoff.

“I’m so sorry about what I did. … I never once thought about hurting any
of you.”

No one was hurt, at least not physically, at Wahluke High School. But the
anger and second-guessing linger, and one question continues to echo in the
hallways.

“Why?”

It’s a question without a satisfactory answer here, or any other place where
a student has walked into school with a weapon and a confused mind or bad
intentions.

According to the National School Safety Center, which began tracking school
deaths in 1992, the numbers have dropped in the last decade. Even so,
teen-agers have come of age hearing about rampages so heinous they are now
simply referred to with one word: Jonesboro, Paducah, Columbine and Santee
among them.

The issue has hit especially close to Mattawa, a tiny no-stoplight town
nestled in a valley that the Columbia River has carved through the red rock
and sagebrush of central Washington’s high desert. Five years ago in nearby
Moses Lake, Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his ninth-grade math class,
killing two students and a teacher and seriously injuring another student.

“I go to sporting events in other states and people say, ‘Hey, didn’t you
guys have a shooting there?”’ Justin Workman, the senior class president at
Moses Lake High School, says, sighing. “It’s all we seem to be known for.”

Still, students in Mattawa – many of them children of ranchers or farm hands
– never really believed it would happen to them. And if it did, the gunman
wouldn’t be Baadsgaard, a lanky, baby-faced teen who was quick to give a hug.

“I lay awake at night thinking about it,” Price, who is 17, says. “I wish
he would’ve said something.”

When searching for answers, students in Baadsgaard’s class don’t mention
bullying or teasing. But they do wonder about other factors – among them,
violence in movies and video games and guns that, a few believe, are too
accessible.

“Maybe he was copying what he saw on the news,” 16-year-old classmate
Marcela Negrete says, later adding, “Maybe he just wanted more attention
from us.”

Megan Hyndman, 17, says, “Looking back, I guess I did see signs that he was
having a hard time. He didn’t really have a best friend.”

Several of his classmates knew Baadsgaard was struggling to pass Hansen’s
class (despite posting what Hansen says were the class’s highest standardized
reading scores).

A smaller number also knew he’d been suicidal, one time threatening to jump
off a cliff when he was rock climbing.

And school officials have since discovered that in the days before he brought
the gun to school, he was having trouble adjusting to a new anti-depressant
medication.

Any number of factors could have prompted Baadsgaard to sneak through one of
the school’s side doors with the rifle and burst into his classroom.

But many experts caution against using those factors to lump every kid who
brings a gun to school – even those who end up killing – into the same
category.

“It’s too easy to jump to obvious conclusions about what it is that makes
these kids go off,” says Peter Scales, a developmental psychologist and
senior fellow at Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based youth research center.
“So I think, for me, the lesson is to take a step backward and ask ‘What do
all kids need to be more safe and healthier?”’

At Wahluke High School, principal Bob Webb says he plans to do just that by
assigning an adult mentor to every student. He also wants to set up a hot
line for anonymous tips about students who might be troubled or making
threats.

Webb, who encourages his staff to hug students, says it’s all part of
enhancing the benefits of a small town and a small school.

Students “know you know them,” he says. “You’re going to see them on the
street corner. You’re going to sit next to them in the theater. You’re going
to sit next to them at church.”

Webb says he has little doubt a shooting was averted because of the bonds
that have taken hold in this town of 1,800 people (including outlying areas).

“The whole reason this played out the way it did is because of Cory’s
one-on-one relationship with those kids,” Webb says.

That closeness, he says, showed itself as Hansen and some of her students
made frequent eye contact with Baadsgaard, calmly talking to him as he sat
against a classroom wall and tightly gripped the rifle’s barrel.

Webb and intervention specialist David Garcia then entered the room and
kneeled next to Baadsgaard.

“You don’t want to do this,” Webb said whispering into his ear and touching
his shoulder.

Eventually, Baadsgaard threw the gun aside and was led away by authorities.
He has since pleaded innocent to kidnapping and firearms charges and will
likely be tried as an adult.

Meanwhile, in Hansen’s room, students have placed quotations on the room’s
walls.

“To err is human; to forgive is divine.”

“Hindsight is 20-20.”

They have also turned their desks around to face the door so that – if for no
other purpose – they can see trouble coming.

Realistically, they know the chances of having to deal with another
gun-wielding intruder are slim. Then again, they say, you never know.

Nobody expected another gun incident here after the horror of Moses Lake. And
Santana High School in Santee, Calif., ran programs to prevent violence, yet
two students were killed in a shooting there in March.

“I think it’s just a fact of life,” Gabriel Valladares, the 16-year-old
co-captain of the school’s soccer team, says of violence in schools. “These
days, you have to be prepared for anything.”

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