Mathy Downing’s 12-year-old, Candace, was a far cry from a problem child. Downing describes her as having been “compassionate” and athletic. Candace was a member of her school’s swim and lacrosse teams. But when her pediatrician recommended that the family place her under the care of a psychiatrist, life changed in terrible fashion for the family.
“She was never depressed,” said Andy Downing, her father. “She had anxieties from testing at school. Had a lot of friends. Played basketball on a team. And I just kept asking myself over and over again, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’ Twelve-year-old girls don’t hang themselves.”
Candace was placed on the SSRI medication, Zoloft, at the prescribing of the psychiatrist. The Downings had no idea that suicide was a listed side-effect of Zoloft. When they found out, it was too late. Candace, a happy and motivated child, committed suicide after months of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor use.
The Downings filed a lawsuit against Zoloft’s maker, Pfizer. They settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. For Pfizer, setting out of court means putting a fast wrap on what could be public relations turmoil. When you are talking about a billion dollar industry for Pfizer, out of court settlements are worth every penny.
“It’s very hard for me to talk about what happened to Candace as a suicide, because it really wasn’t,” Mathy Downing said. “It was a drug-induced psychosis. Zoloft abducted our child and killed her. This was not a choice. This was not a choice she made.”
During the interview, which is found in full on circa.com, Mathy remembers her daughter as a happy, untroubled child.
“She was probably the most compassionate child I’ve ever met,” said Downing. “She played lacrosse, in the summer she was on the swim team. She was an honor student. This child was life itself and she had time for everyone.”
But that was all before the Zoloft.
According to the parents, Candace was mentally blocking information she understood, but was exceptionally bright. This led to her being prescribed Zoloft.
The Downings are another sad example of a world that’s lost touch with the reality of overmedications, particularly in the arena of SSRIs. SSRIs are prescribed in relentless fashion. The prescribing and usage stats are as mindblowing as they are terrifying. In 2011, the CDC reported that 12% of kids 12 and over were on antidepressants.
In 2017, a report showed that SSRI use had jumped a disastrous 65% over the prior 15 years.
SSRI Suicide Rates Are High, But Not Hidden Completely
The FDA issues a black box warning for SSRI medications that disclose the potential for suicidal tendencies, particularly in children. They’ve been doing so since 2004.
But this is where the waters get muddy, which might be a deceptive play.
First, sad tale of the Downings shows that many parents don’t know the SSRI black box warning. A reasonable parent would be less likely to prescribe their happy, intelligent child a medication that could change the course of their life. The FDA’s black box warning is far from a “highly publicized” disclaimer.
But it isn’t hidden, either.
Those who do know about the warning are often convinced that the warning is hurting mental health in America. As absurd and ludicrous as that may sound, you can find evidence of such rhetoric on sites such as Statnews.com. In an article from August of 2018, Statnews.com writer, Stephen Soumerai, asserts that warning parents of the potential suicidal side effect is harming mental health.
In fact, Soumerai claims that fully disclosing the potential side effect is increasing suicide rates.
Take the FDA’s highly publicized warnings that taking antidepressants increases the risk of suicidality (defined as serious thoughts about taking one’s own life or planning or attempting suicide) among children, adolescents, and young adults. We have evidence, as do many others, that these warnings have decreased youths’ access to mental health care and increased suicide attempts. So far, the FDA has refused to accept this evidence.
And his assertions get even more absurd when he claims that past studies qualifying the antidepressant black box warning are “controversial.”
Antidepressants help many people fight depression. But based on a controversial review of industry studies, beginning in October 2003 the FDA issued a series of health advisories warning that children and adolescents taking antidepressants were at increased risk of suicidality.
Had the Downings realized the potential issues associated with Zoloft, would their daughter still be alive?
Sourmerai’s article is deeply troubling in the sense that it seems to push an idea that disclosing a potential side effect is harmful to our safety.
SSRI’s, Antidepressants, And Mass Shooters
The mainstream media commonly avoid the “mass shooter used antidepressants” narrative because it tends to dilute the “ban guns” narrative. But the facts are the facts and they don’t change because they are inconvenient to any of our agendas.
Eric Harris, one of the Columbine High School, was on Luvox. The Virginia Tech shooter reportedly used antidepressants before he killed thirty-two people. Kip Kinkel killed his family during a Prozac withdrawal, he then followed that horrific act by shooting twenty-two of his classmates, leaving two dead. The Colorado movie theater shooter was seeing a psychiatrist, but no medical records have been provided proving he was using an antidepressant.
The counter-argument, of course, is that these individuals were troubled prior to antidepressant use; hence, why they have prescribed the medications. That’s a fair counter-argument, but it hardly explains our society’s willful ignorance of the reasonable evidence in the matter.
The Direction Isn’t Changing – Our Kids Are At Risk
Our society, our kids, and our elderly are being drugged. There is little debate regarding the idea that advances in medicine have been good for our world, but there is also an egregious, greedy mechanism at play.
More and more schools recommend kids with “behavioral issues” be placed on drugs. Let’s hope that more parents wake up and sooner, rather than later. The Downings are a sad example of a family that woke up too late.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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