By Tisha Casida
My heart and prayers are with the families and nation as we watch this horrific event unfold in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we search for answers, I want to make very clear that if this young man who killed so many innocents was on any prescription drug to treat any mental condition, that that drug (that would have been approved by the FDA) should immediately be pulled and the people being treated with such treated with another approach other than mind-altering drugs.
Mind-altering drugs to treat mental illnesses are not tested with the thousands of variables that come into play with a human brain and the emotions of billions of different people. We are all wired differently. No man can create a panacea to cure all people of all things. When it comes to emotional illnesses, many times prescription drugs can cause even more emotional turmoil and result in horrid, unspeakable actions.
• Jared Lee Loughner – the killer/shooter in Arizona who attempted to kill Representative Gabby Giffords used mind-altering substances and was described as mentally ill.
• Eric Harris – one of the killers/shooters in Colorado at Columbine High School was on an anti-depressent medication called Luvox- this is in the class of drugs called “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRI). The other killer/shooter, Dylan Klebold, was alleged to be seen taking Paxil and Zoloft.
• James Holmes, the killer/shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater actually talked about hisaffinity for altered states of mind and was on mind-altering prescription medication at the time of the shooting.
That is just the start of the list, and these are just the cases of mass shootings – not individuals killing themselves, or killing “just” one family member.
Mass shootings by individuals are an American phenomena. Armies and governments do such horrific things – but individuals acting out in such immense hatred and anger has been seen more-so in our very own country. These impulses to kill massive numbers of people are not normal – they are something that is new to this century, and especially present and new since the introduction of mind-altering prescription medications. The side-effects of many of these drugs are explicitly stated to be unhealthy feelings like: “agitation”, “memory problems”, “confusion”, “hallucinations” (Paxil), “racing thoughts, feelings of extreme happiness or irritability” (Luvox), “Mild Degree of Mania” (Zoloft).
Many of our children and youth are eating food devoid of nutrients – combine this with prescription drugs for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit disorder, etc. – and you have a toxic concoction that will result in horrific crimes in our country. We must change our approach to mental health and the wellness of the young minds that are to become the leaders of this country.
The “beloved” conservative Ronald Reagan did our nation no favors when it came to the care of the mentally ill when we cut the funding for these institutions. Personally, I believe this funding and all programs would be much more effective at a State level – nonetheless, his policy put many mentally ill patients on the streets, and has done our nation no favors when it comes to protecting innocent lives from the inexplicable actions of the mentally ill. Ever since, there has been an increase in the types of crimes that have no real answers and make us question the morality and saneness of our nation.
This is not a gun issue – those guns were legally purchased by Adam Lanza’s mother. This is a mental health issue. And for those of you who think that taking guns off the streets will alleviate the violence of insane individuals, I have news for you – it will not and it would be impossible to enforce – criminals always get weapons. The only way to protect our citizenry is to allow individuals the opportunity to be armed to take the lives of those who attempt to take our own lives, or the lives of our children.
There are angels in heaven who have the hands of those little kids, who are safe now and far away from the horrific actions of that day. In memory of them, and to their sacrifice, I beg you to consider a strong and peaceful campaign again the pharmaceutical industry and doctors/psychiatrists who use these mind-altering substances to treat our children’s emotional disorders.