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CLEARWATER, Fla., Sept. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog group founded by the Church of Scientology, says the latest Florida shooting by David Katz, on the heels of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in February, is another example of tragedies that were long in the making. CCHR points to failed psychiatric treatment and programs that may have exacerbated both killers’ mental decline. CCHR calls into question how many more tragedies and lost lives it will take before governments recognize that in addition to any other actions taken the increasing number of reports of psychiatric drug and treatment histories of those committing such crimes must be taken into account.
Two people were killed and 12 more wounded before suspected gunman David Katz (24), from Baltimore, Maryland, took his own life at an e-sports tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. According to divorce records and a CNN report, it is now known that Katz underwent psychiatric “treatment” from at least as early as aged 12 and that he was prescribed a number of psychiatric drugs, including antipsychotics and antidepressants. Additionally a 2006 letter from the father's attorney reveals that Katz had seen “a succession of psychiatrists.”
A media report also divulged that Katz’s parents fought over using drugs, including Abilify and Prozac, to treat their son. The father said his son was placed on two antidepressants, which he said at the time “pose significant and unknown risks to the children.” Another report said Katz had been prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro.
An autopsy is being performed on Katz and CCHR says regardless of whether or not drugs are found in his system, his case—along with that of Nikolas Cruz—are indicative of the failure of psychiatric “treatment,” especially where drugs and/or psychological behavior modification may have been involved.
CCHR’s comprehensive report, Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk, shows that since the introduction of antipsychotics in 1955 and the newer Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, like Prozac, in 1987, both groups of drugs have been linked to violent effects in a significant percentage of those taking them.
Cited in the report is Harvard Medical school psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen who said, “The irritability and impulsivity” from antidepressants, for example, “can make people suicidal or homicidal.” Also cited is Patrick D. Hahn, an affiliate professor of Biology at Loyola University in Maryland who confirms: “The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well established.”
CCHR also reported that even once off psychiatric drugs, there are ongoing drug-induced problems including withdrawal effects, especially from benzodiazepines, that can last weeks and sometimes months or years. Benzodiazepine withdrawal includes increased anxiety, perceptual distortions, depersonalization, paranoid thoughts, rage, aggression and irritability to name but a few. Post-withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants also “may last several months to years” and include disturbed mood, excessive emotional reactions, frequent mood changes and irritability, according to a 2012 article in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.
At least 27 international drug regulatory agency warnings have been issued on psychiatric drugs being linked to mania, psychosis violence, homicidal ideation, aggression and hostility.
The FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System has at least 1,530 cases of homicide/homicidal ideation reported to it as linked to psychiatric drugs. The FDA admits that only 1-10 percent of drug side effects are reported to its MedWatch program. Taking a moderate five percent, then, the potential number of reported incidents could be as high as 30,620. A percentage of those could be driven to commit violent crimes.
“State and federal governments need to at least investigate the mounting evidence that psychiatric treatment and its failure has had something to do with a large percentage of the acts of senseless violence we are witnessing today,” stated Diane Stein, President of the CCHR Florida chapter.
CCHR recommends that individuals concerned with the link between violence and drugs send a copy of its report, Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence & Suicide: Putting the Community at Risk to their legislative representative calling for an investigation.
About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969. For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org
 Jose Pagliery, Curt Devine, and Drew Griffin, “Jacksonville shooter had history of mental illness and police visits to family home,” CNN Investigates, 28 Aug. 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/28/us/jacksonville-madden-shooter-katz-mental-health-invs/index.html
 Scott Broom, “Madden shooter’s Maryland background includes family, emotional health troubles,” WUSA9, 27 Aug 2018, https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/maryland/madden-shooters-maryland-background-includes-family-emotional-health-troubles/65-588068467
 Curt Devine, Jose Pagliery, Drew Griffin, Joe Sterling and Susannah Cullinane, “What we know about Jacksonville shooting suspect David Katz,” CNN, 28 Aug. 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/27/us/jacksonville-madden-tournament-suspect/index.html
 “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 7, No. I, Spring 2005, http://pt.cchr.org/sites/default/files/Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic_Psychiatric_Drugs_Rise_of_Mental_Illness.pdf
 FDA Mulls Antidepressant Warnings,” Daily Press, 21 Mar. 2004, http://articles.dailypress.com/2004-03-21/news/0403210207_1_dr-joseph-glenmullen-corey-baadsgaard-school-shootings-and-murder-suicides
 Patrick D. Hahn, “Antidepressants: a deadly treatment?,” Baltimore Sun, 11 Apr. 2015, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-antidepressants-violence-20150411-story.html
 C. Heather Ashton, DM, FRCP, “Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdraw,” Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2002, http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzcha03.htm
 “Patient Online Report of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor-Induced Persistent Post-withdrawal Anxiety and Mood Disorders,” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 19 Jan. 2012, https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/341178
 “Psychiatric Drugs & Violence—The Facts,” CCHR International, https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/drug_warnings_on_violence/