12/30/2000 – McDermott on Prozac, Paxil AND Deseryl?

If the Boston Herald’s source got it right, McDermott was on one heck of a
combo!!! All three are contraindicated in mixing any of the three with even
one of the others, much less two!! His serotonin levels must have been out of
sight using three serotonergic meds! No one should be surprised that he went
psychotic on this combination, even if the drugs were given in succession,
rather than together.

Let me also point out that the so called “Prozac defense” HAS been used
successfully several times. And as far as I know Kip Kinkle’s attorney never
used the information on the drugs in his murder case.

Prozac would also have been found guilty in a case that is almost identical
this one – that of Joseph Wesbecker in Louisville, KY, who also after being
treated with Prozac went on a shooting spree with an AK47 where he worked.
That is it would have been used successfully if Eli Lilly had not bought off
the plaintiffs in the middle of the trial and then neglected to disclose that
payoff to both the judge and the jurors. Judge John Potter deserves a metal
for taking Lilly and the plaintiffs to court and forcing them to admit the
truth of what happened. Although it took him a couple of years he said that
he did it because he did not want his courtroom turned into an advertising
agency for Prozac and pointed out that this is a public safety issue.
Amazingly Lilly has used that case to defend their drug ever since! (Although
my book discusses the Wesbecker case briefly, the book Power to Harm covers
the Wesbecker case in detail.)

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness

“According to the source, who is familiar with the still mounting case,
McDermott had been taking Paxil, Prozac and Desyrel – all of which are SSRIs
designed to treat depression, social phobias or anxiety.”

Source: Suspect was taking drugs for depression

by Dave Wedge, Tom Farmer and Jose Martinez
Friday, December 29, 2000

The hulking computer technician accused of gunning down seven of his
co-workers at a Wakefield high-tech firm this week suffered from a host of
mental illnesses – including schizophrenia – for which he was taking a trio
of antidepressants, a source told the Herald yesterday.

Accused killer Michael M. McDermott at his arraignment Wednesday. (Staff
photo by Matthew West) “He’s got some serious psychological issues and a
long (psychiatric) history,” the source said of 42-year-old Michael
“Mucko” McDermott.

McDermott, a divorced Navy veteran from Marshfield who lived most recently in
Haverhill, suffered from severe depression, paranoia and schizophrenia, and
had been in psychiatric treatment for some time, according to the source who
spoke on condition of anonymity.

To cope with his mental disorders, McDermott was prescribed several Selective
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, designed to increase brain
serotonin. Low levels of brain serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety

A source familiar with the investigation said McDermott’s supervisors at
Edgewater Technology Inc. did not appear to know he was using the medication.

McDermott is being held without bail on seven counts of first-degree murder
in Tuesday’s massacre at Edgewater. Prosecutors have said McDermott wielded a
shotgun and semiautomatic rifle with premeditated precision and extreme
atrocity, hunting down workers in the company’s accounting and human
resources offices but letting others flee unharmed.

He was arrested by police who found him sitting in the lobby near the bodies
of two of his victims. At least two Edgewater employees witnessed the
rampage, including one woman who hid behind a chair and her coat beneath a
desk in the accounting office, where two of her co-workers were killed.

Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley has said McDermott may have
been seeking vengeance over the impending docking of his paychecks by
Edgewater to satisfy an IRS demand for back taxes. Sources say the IRS orders
would have left McDermott with just $275 every two weeks.

But investigators also are looking for clues about what drove the man to kill
by delving into the contents of computers seized from McDermott’s office and
home, where police also found bomb-making literature and materials. One
source said McDermott had attempted to wipe out the hard drive of his office
computer the day of the shootings.

Yesterday, neither Coakley nor McDermott’s defense attorney, Kevin
Reddington, would discuss the case or McDermott’s mental state and
psychological history. However, at Wednesday’s arraignment, Reddington raised
the specter of an insanity defense by saying his client had been seeing
psychiatrists and asking the judge to OK his continued medication.

Insanity defenses rarely succeed. The so-called Prozac defense has been
unsuccessfully attempted in dozens of murder cases nationwide, including in
the case of Kip Kinkel, the teenager who killed his family and two
schoolmates in Springfield, Ore.

According to the source, who is familiar with the still mounting case,
McDermott had been taking Paxil, Prozac and Desyrel – all of which are SSRIs
designed to treat depression, social phobias or anxiety.

The source also said orders have been sent by doctors to the Middlesex County
Sheriff’s office so McDermott can receive his medications in the Cambridge
jail. He will be examined by psychiatrists some time in the next week, the
source said.

The revelations about McDermott’s psychiatric history emerged as his
co-workers returned to St. Joseph’s Church – where so many of them had sought
refuge and solace in the hours after the shootings – for a memorial service
in honor of their seven slain colleagues.

“We’re all hurting and grieving, but I can’t tell you how much we’re pulling
together as a team,” Edgewater Technology Chief Executive Officer Shirley
Singleton said after meeting with her employees for the first time since the

The company has started a memorial fund for the families of the slain workers
with a $70,000 donation. Singleton also said grief counseling, which began
yesterday at the firm, would continue as long as employees need help.

She declined to discuss the shootings that claimed the lives of Jennifer
Bragg Capobianco, 29; Janice Hagerty, 46; Louis Javelle, 58; Rose Manfredi,
48; Paul Marceau, 36; Cheryl Troy, 50, and Craig Wood, 29.

State and federal authorities are seeking the origin of McDermott’s weapons,
including the AK-47-style rifle and 12-gauge shotgun that he is alleged to
have used to kill the four women and three men, a .32-caliber pistol found in
his pants pocket and a large-caliber hunting rifle found in a locker by his

Haverhill police began looking for McDermott late Christmas Eve after someone
reported hearing gunfire in the woods near Crystal Lake, where a man fitting
his description was spotted by a car with the license plate “MUCKO.”
Officers traced the car back to McDermott’s apartment but could not locate
him despite several more visits Christmas Day.

One day later, investigators believe McDermott lugged the weapons unnoticed
into the Harvard Mills complex, one law enforcement source said. Two
soft-sided gun cases were found under his desk.

“He walked them right in and placed them under his desk,” the source said.
“They had a skeleton crew working that day and no one apparently saw him or
recognized what the cases were for.”

The source said McDermott loaded the shotgun with buckshot at his work
station before embarking on his killing spree. The source, a longtime
investigator, said the carnage he witnessed in the shooting’s aftermath left
him shaken.

“I was sick to my stomach over it,” he said. “It was unlike any other
murder scene because it was in a work setting. It was almost surreal. One of
the (dead) women had her head resting on her arm like she knew she was going
to get it.”

Meanwhile, gun control advocates held a rally outside the State House to urge
lawmakers to ban the sale of assault weapons like McDermott’s. Although
Massachusetts already has the country’s toughest gun law, it does not ban the
sale of assault weapons manufactured before September 1994.

“They have no legitimate use in a civilized society other than for law
enforcement,” said Stop Handgun Violence co-founder John E. Rosenthal.

Kevin Sowyrda, spokesman for the Gun Owners Action League, declined to
comment specifically on an assault weapon ban but said, “The last thing we
need in this period of mourning are political rallies.”

Donations may be made to the Edgewater Wakefield Memorial Foundation, Box
2133, Wakefield, Mass. 01880-6133. Donations may also be made at Fleet bank

Karen E. Crummy contributed to this report.

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1/9/2000 – The Legal Drugging Of America

The Legal Drugging Of America

Here is a recent article from Arianna Huffington. – Mark M.

The Legal Drugging Of America: A Status Report
Filed December 23, 1999
by Arianna Huffington

Two reports out this month highlight the continuing trend toward the
legal drugging of America.

The Surgeon General’s report on the state of the nation’s mental health
found that 22 percent of the population has a diagnosable mental
disorder.” At the same time, a study by the National Institute of
Mental Health concluded that we are under-medicating our children and
that for those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
drugs — specifically Ritalin — are more effective than therapy.

The big drugmakers will no doubt use these studies as additional
weapons in their ongoing war to make mood-altering drugs the solution
to all life’s problems. Our magazines are already stuffed with ads
portraying pharmaceutical giants as noble enterprises, engaged in
nothing but the pursuit of pure science and the public good. And our
television screens are filled with commercials for drugs to cure
shyness and so-called “social phobias.”

The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved Effexor XR, a
drug for “generalized anxiety disorder” — the garden-variety
free-floating anxiety that has plagued humanity since the expulsion
from Eden. Mark Twain summed it up this way: “I am an old man, and
have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

These days, the assumption seems to be that drugs can take care of
everything unpleasant in the human condition. “At Pfizer,” one ad
boasts, “we look to the future with the knowledge that the only thing
incurable is our passion.” What the ad doesn’t mention is that drug
company profits (Pfizer’s last year were $3.35 billion) are often spent
not on finding cures for serious diseases but for “lifestyle”
maladies — baldness, toenail fungus, and of course any interruption to
a perpetually sunny mood. Not one major drug company in the United
States has an in-house research program on malaria, for example, but
sales of pharmaceutical drugs for pets are approaching $1 billion

The major flaw of the Surgeon General’s report is the lumping together
of dramatically disparate conditions. According to Surgeon General
David Satcher himself, “tragic and devastating disorders such a
schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease,
the mental and behavioral disorders suffered by children, and a range
of other mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any
year.” This is a classic example of pseudo-scientific sleight of hand:
linking schizophrenia to childhood behavioral problems as though they
are in any meaningful sense on the same continuum.
It is this mind-set that has led to the Ritalin epidemic — with the
number of kids taking the powerful drug skyrocketing from 1 million in
1990 to 4 million today. And now along comes a study that says the
answer to those many instances where Ritalin has proved ineffective is
to simply up the dosage. As Dr. Peter Jensen from the National
Institute of Mental Health put it, “You find the dose that achieves
the absolute possible total benefit for this child … That’s the dose
you want, not the lowest possible dose that you can get by on.” It’s
ingenius, if Ritalin isn’t working, try more Ritalin. As they used to
say in the ’60s, “Why do you think they call it dope?”

It’s doubly tragic that these reports have arrived at a time when we’re
facing a crisis in managed health care. Because a diagnosis of a mental
disorder will almost always prompt managed care companies to take the
cheap way out — drugs rather than therapy, no matter how potentially
dangerous the long-term side effects, especially on children’s growing

Making this growing emphasis on drugs especially troubling is the
conclusion by federal investigators that the FDA has “no quality
control system” to track adverse drug reactions. Currently, doctors
and hospitals are not even legally required to report patients’ drug
side effects to the FDA. As a result, in one year, from the beginning
of June 1997 to the end of May 1998, the agency got only 13,825 such
reports even though in hospitals alone approximately 180,000 patients
die every year from drug reactions.

Even if the FDA moves from a voluntary to a mandatory reporting system,
the agency has only 80 employees to monitor more than 3,000
prescription drugs. Over the past year and a half, the agency has
banned only five drugs that it previously had approved but now deems
dangerous. But every year 2 million Americans are hospitalized due to
drug side effects.

“Most errors are not caused by stupidity, incompetence or neglect, but
by system failures that allow them to occur,” said David Lawrence,
head of Kaiser Permanente, suggesting that the safety tests done by
drug companies are not enough, and that the companies fail to educate
physicians and hospital workers on the proper administration of their

As drugs, and the conditions treatable by drugs multiply, can we
continue to tolerate such slipshod oversight of a powerful industry
that so affects our lives — and our deaths? Or continue to rely on
reports tainted by the drug industry’s assumption that millions of
Americans are suffering from mental disorders whose cure is just a pill
pop away? Oh, the infinite possibilities of an America where everyone
has finally admitted to a mental disorder, and everyone is blissed-out
on appropriately high doses of the newest wonder drugs.

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