by Martha Rosenberg 


It would be laughable if it weren’t tragic. This week Surgeon General Regina Benjamin introduced a plan to stem the nation’s growing suicide rate without addressing the nation’s growing use of suicide-linked drugs.

Antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil, antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa and anti-seizure drugs like Lyrica and Neurontin are all linked to suicide in published reports and in FDA warnings. (Almost 5,000 newspaper reports link antidepressants to suicide, homicide and bizarre behavior.) Asthma drugs like Singulair, antismoking drugs like Chantix, acne drugs like Accutane and the still-in-use malaria drug Lariam, are also linked to suicide.

The US’s suicide rate has risen to 38,000 a year, says USA Today, after falling in the 1990s. The rise correlates with the debut of direct-to-consumer drug advertising in the late 1990s, the approval of many drugs with suicide links and more people taking psychoactive drugs for lifestyle problems.

Dr. Benjamin announced that federal grants totaling $55 million will save 20,000 lives in the next five years through suicide hotlines, more mental health workers in the VA, better depression screening and Facebook tracking of suicidal messages. Nowhere, including in the suicide-racked military, does she suggest looking at the overmedication which has gone hand-in-hand with the deaths. And on which the government is spending a lot more than $55 million.

When the FDA first put suicide warnings on antidepressants for young people in the mid 2000s, Big Pharma linked psychiatrists like Charles Nemeroff argued that suicides would go up if doctors and patients were scared off by the black box warnings. Though the argument was absurd–is the nation fat because fen-phen was withdrawn?–the theory got play in the mainstream and medical press until it was proven wrong.

Yet as the Surgeon General and HHS proved this week, the government is still in denial about suicide and the elephant in the room called Big Pharma. Instead of spending millions on counselors, crisis lines, and “awareness campaigns” why doesn’t it look at the millions it’s spending on suicide-linked drugs?

Read the Full Article Here:

More information about overmedication of troops and suicide-linked drugs is found in Martha Rosenberg’s recently published Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health.

Martha Rosenberg’s is an investigative health reporter. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus books.


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