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Are Drugs Bad For You?

July 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Drugs have been part of our culture since the middle of the last century. Popularized in the 1960s by music and mass media, they invade all aspects of society.

An estimated 208 million people internationally consume illegal drugs. In the United States, results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 19.9 million Americans (or 8% of the population aged 12 or older) used illegal drugs in the month prior to the survey.

You probably know someone who has been affected by drugs, directly or indirectly.

The most commonly used—and abused—drug in the US is alcohol. Alcohol-related motor accidents are the second leading cause of teen death in the United States.

The most commonly used illegal drug is marijuana. According to the United Nations 2008 World Drug Report, about 3.9% of the world’s population between the ages of 15 and 64 abuse marijuana.

Young people today are exposed earlier than ever to drugs. Based on a survey by the Centers for Disease Control in 2007, 45% of high school students nationwide drank alcohol and 19.7% smoked pot during a one-month period.

In Europe, recent studies among 15- and 16-year-olds suggest that use of marijuana varies from under 10% to over 40%, with the highest rates reported by teens in the Czech Republic (44%), followed by Ireland (39%), the UK (38%) and France (38%). In Spain and the United Kingdom, cocaine use among 15- to 16-year-olds is 4% to 6%. Cocaine use among young people has risen in Denmark, Italy, Spain, UK, Norway and France.

Click here to learn more and find out for yourself.

International Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs 2004 – 2007

November 2, 2007 3 comments

Number of International Studies and Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs, 2002-2006

2004

February 2: FDA official Dr. Andrew D. Mosholder testified before the FDAs Psychopharmacological Advisory Committee on the Office of Drug Safety Data Resources for the Study of Suicidal Events, warning that children being prescribed the newer antidepressants were at risk of suicide.

March 22: The FDA warned that Prozac-like antidepressants (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs) could cause “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur].”

June: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration published an Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin reporting that the latest antipsychotics could increase the risk of diabetes.

June: The FDA ordered that the packaging for the stimulant Adderall include a warning about sudden cardiovascular deaths, especially in children with underlying heart disease.

August 20: A Columbia University review of the pediatric (child) clinical trials of Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Paxil and Prozac, found that young people who took them could experience suicidal thoughts or actions.

September 21: Following a BBC news report on antidepressants causing aggression and homicidal behavior, the British Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority advised that it had issued guidelines that children should not be given most SSRIs because clinical trial data showed an increased rate of harmful outcomes, including hostility.

October 15: The FDA ordered a “black box” warning for antidepressants that they could cause suicidal thoughts and actions in under 18 year olds taking them.

October 21: The New Zealand Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee recommended that old and new antidepressants not be administered to patients less than 18 years of age because of the potential risk of suicide.

December: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration children and adolescents prescribed SSRI antidepressants should be carefully monitored for the emergence of suicidal ideation. In a recent study involving Prozac, it said, there was an increase in adverse psychiatric events (acts and ideation [thoughts] of suicide, self-harm, aggression, violence.)

December 9: The European Medicines Agencys Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use confirmed that product information should be changed for antidepressants to warn of the risk of suicide-related behavior in children and adolescents and of withdrawal reactions on stopping treatment.

December 17: The FDA required that packaging for the “ADHD” drug Straterra carry a new warning advising, “Severe liver damage may progress to liver failure resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant in a small percentage of patients.”

2005

February 9: Health Canada, the Canadian counterpart of the FDA, suspended marketing of Adderall XR (Extended Release, given once a day) due to reports of 20 sudden unexplained deaths (14 in children) and 12 strokes (2 in children) in patients taking Adderall or Adderall XR.

February 18: A study published in the British Medical Journal determined that adults taking SSRI antidepressants were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients given placebo.

April: The British House of Commons (Parliament) Health Committee issued a damning report that SSRI antidepressants had been “indiscriminately prescribed on a grand scale” and that drug companies have marketed the drugs without punishment to treat “unhappiness [that] is part of the spectrum of human experience, not a medical condition.”

April 11: The FDA warned that antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients could increase the risk of death.

April 21: A national non-government organization, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, released its findings of a study that determined that 10% of teens (2.3 million) had abused the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall.

April 25: The European Medicines Agencys Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use reaffirmed that all the latest antidepressants could cause increased suicide-related behavior and hostility in young people.

June 28: The FDA announced its intention to make labeling changes to Concerta and other Ritalin products to include the side effects: “visual hallucinations, suicidal ideation [ideas], psychotic behavior, as well as aggression or violent behavior.”

June 30: The FDA warned that the latest antidepressant Cymbalta could increase suicidal thinking or behavior in pediatric patients taking it.

June 30: The FDA also warned about a potential increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults taking antidepressants, broadening its earlier warning that related only to children and adolescents taking the drugs.

July 1: An FDA “Talk Paper” said that it had requested antidepressant manufacturers to provide all information from their clinical trials on possible increased suicidal behavior in adults taking the drugs.

July 7: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University issued a report called “Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Prescription Drugs in the U.S.” that determined 15 million Americans were getting high on painkillers and psychiatric drugs such as the tranquilizer Xanax and the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. Between 1992 and 2003, the number of 12 to 17 year olds abusing these drugs had risen 212%. Teens who abused prescription drugs were 12 times likelier to use heroin, 15 times likelier to use Ecstasy and 21 times likelier to use cocaine, compared to teens that did not abuse such drugs.

July 16: The British Medical Journal published a study, “Efficacy of antidepressants in adults,” by Joanna Moncrieff, senior lecturer in psychiatry at University College London who found that antidepressants were no more effective than a placebo (fake pill) and do not reduce depression. In a media interview on the study, Dr. Moncrieff stated, “The bottom line is that we really dont have any good evidence that these drugs work.”

August: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration found a relationship between antidepressants and suicidality, akathisia (severe restlessness), agitation, nervousness and anxiety in adults. Similar symptoms could occur during withdrawal from the drugs, it determined.

August 19: The European Medicines Agencys Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use issued its strongest warning against child antidepressant use, stating that the drugs caused suicide attempts and thoughts, aggression, hostility, aggression, oppositional behavior and anger.

August 22: Norwegian researchers found that patients taking antidepressants were seven times more likely to experience suicide than those taking placebo.

September 7: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration warned that antidepressant use during pregnancy could cause “withdrawal effects that can be severe or life-threatening.”

September 13: The Oregon Health & Science University, Evidence-Based Practice Center published the findings of its review of 2,287 studiesvirtually every study ever conducted on “ADHD” drugsand found that there were no trials showing the effectiveness of these drugs and that there was a lack of evidence that they could affect “academic performance, risky behaviors, social achievements, etc.” Further, “We found no evidence on long-term safety of drugs used to treat ADHD in young children” or “adolescents.”

September 22: Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman of Columbia University and other researchers published a federally funded study in the New England Journal of Medicine about the effectiveness of certain antipsychotic drugs, comparing an older generation of antipsychotics with several newer ones. Far from proving effectiveness, of the 1,493 patients who had participated, 74% discontinued their antipsychotic drugs before the end of their treatment due to inefficacy, intolerable side effects or other reasons. After 18 months of taking Zyprexa, 64% of the patients taking this stopped, most commonly because it caused sleepiness, weight gain or neurological symptoms like stiffness and tremors.

September 26: The Italian Gazette (official news agency of the Italian government) published a resolution of the Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (Italian Drug Agency, equivalent to the FDA) ordering a warning label for older (tricyclic) antidepressants that the drugs should not be prescribed for under 18 year olds. They also determined that they were associated with heart attacks in people of any age.

September 27: The FDA warned that Paxil and other antidepressants taken during the first trimester of pregnancy could cause increased risk of major birth defects, including heart malformations in newborn infants.

September 28: The British National Health Services Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence released a Clinical Guideline for treatment of “Depression in Children and Young People.” It advised “all antidepressant drugs have significant risks when given to children and young people” and instead, they should be “offered advice on the benefits of regular exercise,” “sleep hygiene,” “nutrition and the benefits of a balanced diet.”

September 29: The FDA directed Eli Lilly & Co. to revise Strattera labeling to include a boxed warning about the increased risk of suicidal thinking in children and adolescents taking it.

September 29: The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency issued a press release that it had begun a review of the risks of Strattera in light of the FDAs direction.

October: The sales and marketing of the stimulant Cylert were stopped in the U.S. because of the risk of liver damage that could lead to death.

October 17: The FDA ordered Eli Lilly & Co. to add a warning to the packaging of its antidepressant Cymbalta, that it could cause liver damage.

October 19: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that atypical (newer) antipsychotic drugs could increase the risk of death in elderly people.

October 24: The FDA withdrew Cylert from the market because of its “overall risk of liver toxicity” and liver failure.

November: The FDA approved updated labeling for the antidepressant Effexor XR which noted that this antidepressant can cause homicidal ideation.

December 1: Researchers found that 18% of nearly 23,000 elderly patients taking the older antipsychotics died within the first six months of taking them.

December 8: The FDA warned that Paxil taken by pregnant women in their first trimester may cause birth defects, including heart malformations.

2006

January 5: The FDA said it had received reports of sudden deaths, strokes, heart attacks and hypertension (high blood pressure) in both children and adults taking “ADHD” drugs and asked its Drug Safety and Risk Management advisory committee to examine the potential of cardiovascular (heart) risks of the drugs.

February 4: A University of Texas study published in Pediatric Neurology reported cardiovascular problems in people taking stimulants.

February 5: An analysis of World Health Organization medical records found that infants whose mothers took antidepressants while pregnant could suffer withdrawal effects.

February 6: A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine determined that nearly one-third of newborn infants whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy experienced withdrawal symptoms that included high-pitched crying, tremors and disturbed sleep.

February 9: The FDAs Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee urged that the strongest “black box” warning be issued for stimulants, including Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta and that they may cause heart attacks, strokes and sudden death.

February 11: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration announced it would review the FDA advisory committee recommendation for stronger warnings against stimulants.

February 20: British authorities warned that the “ADHD” drug Strattera was associated with seizures and potentially lengthening period of the time between heartbeats.

February 25: A study in the journal, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and reported in The Washington Post revealed that seven million Americans were estimated to have abused stimulant drugs and a substantial amount of teenagers and young adults now appeared to show signs of addiction.

March 10: Health Canada issued a warning that pregnant women taking SSRIs and other newer antidepressants placed newborns at risk of developing a rare lung and heart condition.

March 22-23: Two FDA advisory panels held hearings into the risk of stimulants and another new “ADHD” drug called Sparlon. Between January 2000 and June 30, 2005, the FDA had received almost 1,000 reports of kids experiencing psychosis or mania while taking the drugs. The first panel recommended stronger warnings against stimulants, emphasizing these on special handouts called “Med Guides” that doctors must give to patients with each prescription. The second committee recommended not to approve Sparlon, which the manufacturer, Cephalon, estimated would lose them $100 million in drug sales.

March 28: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration announced its review of reports of 400 adverse reactions to stimulants in children taking them. CCHR had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the TGA to obtain the reports and released this to the media that ran the story internationally.

May 1: An American Journal of Psychiatry study revealed that elderly people prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are almost five times more likely to commit suicide during the first month on the drugs than those given other classes of antidepressants.

May 3: FDA adverse drug reaction reports linked 45 child deaths to new antipsychotic drugs. There were also more than 1,300 reports of other potentially life-threatening adverse reactions such as convulsions and low white blood cell count.

May 12: GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, sent a letter to doctors warning that its antidepressant increases the risk of suicide in adults. It was the first warning of its kind by a manufacturer.

July 19: The FDA said antidepressant packaging should carry warnings that they may cause a fatal lung condition in newborns whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy. Migraine sufferers also need to be warned that combining migraine drugs with SSRIs could result in a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome.

August: In August, the Archives of General Psychiatry published a study by Mark Olfson, MD, MPH; Steven C. Marcus, PhD; David Shaffer, MD, on Antidepressant Drug Therapy and Suicide in Severely Depressed Children and Adults. The study determined that children taking antidepressants were 1.52 times more likely to attempt suicide and 15 times ore likely to succeed in the attempt than those not taking the drugs.

September: A study came out in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal. The study was done by psychiatrist David Healy and his team of researchers. The study found that the psychiatric drug Paxil raises the risk of severe violence in a small percentage of people. The researchers looked at clinical trial data from the manufacturer of the drug, GlaxoSmithKline, and found a higher rate of hostile behavior (0.38 percent to 0.66 percent) in patients taking Paxil than in patients taking other antidepressants.

October: A study was published in Behavioral Neuroscience entitled Differential Responsiveness to Fluoxetine During Puberty, which involved injecting “adolescent” and adult hamsters with varying doses of fluoxetine (Prozac), found that even on low doses, 40% more likely to become aggressive than those on placebo.

October: The journal Pharmacotherapy published a study entitled Illicit Use of Specific Prescription Stimulants Among College Students: Prevalence, Motives, and Routes of Administration, about illicit use of stimulants among college students. Researchers at Northeastern University, led by Northeastern University Pharmacy Professor Christian Teter, found that 8.3% of students had abused prescription stimulants sometime during their life and 5.9% within the last year. Nearly 40% of the students that abused stimulants reported they snorted prescription stimulants. About of the students who abused stimulants in the last year had abused Adderall while the rest had abused Ritalin or drugs in the same class as Ritalin. In the press release that ran in Newswise (news release website), Professor Teter stated that one possibility for the overwhelming prevalence of illicit Adderall use may be the fact that it is the most commonly prescribed brand-name stimulant in the U.S. Stories on this article ran in several news sources, including a United Press International wire.

October 12: The New England Journal of Medicine published study, Effectiveness of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs in Patients with Alzheimers Disease, found that antipsychotic drugs used to control agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimers disease are no more effective than placebos for most patients, and put them at risk of serious side effects, including confusion, sleepiness and Parkinsons like symptoms.

October 18: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (equivalent to the FDA) ordered manufacturers of ADHD drugs, Ritalin, Strattera and dexamphetamine to add stronger warnings to their information packaging, because of complaints that Ritalin caused headache, nausea, anorexia, somnolence and depression; Strattera caused aggression, and dexamphetamine caused agitation, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hypertonia (abnormally tight muscles), hyperkinesia (muscle spasm) and insomnia.

October 23: Dr. Peter Schlegel presented a study at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in New Orleans that determined that while two men were taking antidepressants, their sperm counts dropped dramatically to almost zero, but recovered to healthy levels whenever their drugs were suspended.

October 25: The FDA and Wyeth, the manufacturer of the antidepressant Effexor, announced that doctors should limit the number of Effexor pills they prescribe patients to reduce the risk of overdose. Overdosing on any antidepressant can be fatal but there may be a greater risk of deadly overdose associated with Effexor than with other SSRI antidepressant.

November: The British Journal of Psychiatry published a new analysis of new antidepressant trials lasting 8 to 12 weeks involving children and adolescents suffering severe depression. Researchers found that 5% of children taking new-generation antidepressants were involved in self-harm or suicidal events, compared with 3% cent of those taking placebo. Dr. Bernadka Dubicka of the University Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital, and others conducted the study.

November: The journal Epidemiology, published a study entitled Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital [defects from birth] Malformations. Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark found that pregnant women who take the newer type of antidepressants, such as Prozac, are more likely to have babies with birth defects than mothers who dont take these drugs.

November 6: The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, announced that it was updating the product information for methylphenidate (Ritalin to advise about serious cardiovascular adverse effects and to recommend that methylphenidate not be used in children or adolescents with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities.

November 27: The FDA has issued a public health advisory which warns that people receiving treatment with methadone have died and suffered life threatening side effects because of overdoses, including slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heart beat that may not be felt by the patient.

November 30: The obstetric (Obstetrics is the branch of medicine which deals with pregnancy and child birth) practice committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Gynecologists are doctors that specialize in the female reproductive system and disorders that can occur with it) issued a statement that pregnant women and those who plan to become pregnant should avoid taking the antidepressant Paxil if possible because of the risk of birth defects.

December 13: The FDA held a hearing into the relationship between antidepressants and suicide in those 18-25 years of age (young adults). The FDA Psychopharmacological Committee heard testimony from about 75 people who slammed the FDA for having the information 15 years ago about suicide/violence risks and failed to act. The committee voted to extend the black box warning to ages 18 to 25.

2007

February: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a report (from data collected by the Drug Abuse Warning Network) that determined that among other prescription drugs, anti-anxiety drugs have high overdose rates. From 2004 to 2005, overdoses involving tranquillizers such as Xanax and Valium rose 19%. Overdoses from methylphenidate, a stimulant and the primary ingredient in Ritalin, doubled between 2004 and 2005.

February 21: The FDA directed ADHD drug manufacturers to distribute “patient friendly” guides to consumers warning about serious psychiatric and cardiovascular problems, including stroke, heart attack, sudden death and psychotic reactions caused by ADHD drugs.

February 23: Health Canada advised consumers not to use a product called Sleepees, because it was found to contain an undeclared drug estazolam, which can be habit-forming when used for as little as a few months. Estazolam belongs in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (minor tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax). [i] The side-effects associated with the use of products containing estazolam vary according to the individual and can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, depression, loss of memory and hallucinations.

March: The New Zealand Intensive Medicines Monitoring Programme (New Zealand government drug surveillance program, the New Zealand equivalent of the FDA) urged health professionals to monitor patients on the anti-psychotic drug Clozapine after a review found five people have died after taking it.

March 15: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University issued a report on youth drug abuse. The report concluded that hundreds of thousands more students are abusing prescription drugs including Ritalin, Adderall and OxyContin than were during the early 1990s.

March 14: The FDA announced that all sleeping pills, including Ambien and Lunesta, can cause the dangerous side effect of “sleep-driving,” which is driving while not fully awake and having no memory of doing so, and may also cause life-threatening allergic reactions. The FDA told manufacturers to write letters to doctors to notify them of the new warnings, and all prescription sleeping pills now will come with special brochures called “Medication Guides” that spell out the risks for patients in easy-to-understand language.

April: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an Adverse Reactions Bulletin stating that atypical antipsychotics may cause neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). They had received 85 reports of NMS for Clozapine, 49 reports for Olanzapine (Zyprexa), 45 reports for Risperidone and there were another 46 reports for other anitpsychotics.

April 5: The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA, Australian equivalent to the FDA) requested that the makers of the sleeping drug Stilnox (known as Ambien in the United States, strengthen the current warning about mixing the medicine with alcohol. This request comes in the wake of more than 500 complaints about Stilnox including reports of sleepwalkers crashing cars, falling off balconies, smoking, painting and having sex after popping a pill.

April 18: Health Canada advised consumers not to use a product called Eden Herbal Formulations Serenity Pills II, because it was found to contain an undeclared drug estazolam, a habit-forming psych drug when used for as little as a few months. Estazolam belongs in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Eden Herbal Formulations Serenity Pills II is promoted as a herbal product to relieve sleeping difficulty. [ii] The side-effects associated with the use of products containing estazolam vary according to the individual and can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, depression, loss of memory and hallucinations.

April 25: In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued a warning to doctors about prescribing the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor), recommending its use only after two other antidepressants had been used and failed.

April 25: Doctors were warned to be aware of the higher risk of fatal overdoses, cardiotoxicity, and potentially intolerable side effects in patients taking the serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (antidepressant). For new patients, Effexor should be considered only once two other antidepressants have been tried. In all cases, GPs must ensure hypertension is controlled before prescribing Effexor, and patients on the drug must receive regular blood pressure checks and monitoring for cardiac dysfunction. The drug is contraindicated in patients with a high risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias and recent myocardial infarction. The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA) warned that fatality rates in single overdose cases range from 10% (according to the drug’s manufacturer) to 27% (reported to the UK ADROIT database). Fatal doses have been as low as 2 grams, involving seizure, coma, or cardiac effects. The percentage of overdoses involving more than one drug range from 57-67%. The MHRA also could not rule out drug-induced suicidality, particularly for 18-29 year-olds. Effexor may be associated with a higher rate of some side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, headache and withdrawal reactions.

May 2: The FDA officially extended the age group for the black box warning about antidepressant inducing suicide from 18 to 24.

June 14: Health Canada further advised consumers not to use Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM or BYL SleePlus, because the products contain clonazepam, habit-forming within a few months of use. Clonazepam is like Valium and is a benzodiazepine. [iii] The side-effects associated with the use of products containing clonazepam vary according to the individual and can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, depression, loss of memory and hallucinations.

June: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an Adverse Reactions Bulletin stating that a range of cardiac disorders are associated with the use of the antipsychotic, Clozapine. A boxed warning alerting prescribers has been placed on the product information. Prescribers have been warned that potentially fatal myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) may develop after commencement of Clozapine.

July 9: “Cures killing hundreds” was the headline in The Daily Telegraph in Australia, which reporting that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia’s equivalent of the FDA) has revealed that hundreds of Australians have died and thousands more suffered gruesome side effects after taking anti-psychotic drugs. An Australian law firm is taking on drug giant Eli Lilly in a class action for a group of Australians who suffered side effects after taking the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa. The article cites CCHR ally lawyer Simon Harrison, stating, “We are now in the double figures with clients from Zyprexa and we are seeing a number of alleged problems� The problems vary from inadequate policing of the medication to the alleged side effects of the medication not being conveyed.” [iv]

July 18: Health Canada is advising consumers not to use the sleep supplement product Optimum Health Care Sleep Easy, because the product contains the undeclared drug clonazepam, a tranquilizer. Health Care Sleep Easy has a different name but has the same formulation as Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM and BYL SleePlus, which were the subject of a Health Canada public advisory issued on June 14, 2007. All of these products are promoted as sleeping aids and are not authorized for sale in Canada. [v] The side-effects associated with the use of products containing clonazepam vary according to the individual and can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, depression, loss of memory and hallucinations.

August: The Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an Adverse Reactions Bulletin about newer antipsychotic agents can cause extrapyramidal side effects, EPS (involuntary movements and muscle rigidity). There had been 3,775 reports for Clozapine and 1,203 reports for Olanzapine (Zyprexa). About one third of patients experiencing EPS had not recovered.

[i] “Health Canada advises consumers not to use herbal sleep supplement Sleepees which contains a habit-forming drug,” Health Canada Advisory, 23 Feb. 2007.

[ii] “Herbal sleep supplement found to contain habit-forming drug,” Health Canada Advisory, 18 April 2007.

[iii] “Sleep Supplements Found to Contain Habit-forming Drug,” Health Canada Advisory, 14 June 2007.

[iv] Clare Masters, “Cures Killing Hundreds,” Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2007

[v] “Sleep Supplements Found to Contain Habit-forming Drug,” Health Canada Advisory, 18 July 2007.

A Prescription for Teen Suicide

October 31, 2007 2 comments

Julie was in her final year of high school and looking forward to her plans for life, which included marriage and children. When she began having trouble at a new school after a bout of insomnia, she became withdrawn and quiet. A psychiatrist prescribed her an antidepressant. One week later, her father walked into his garage and found his daughter had hanged herself from the ceiling.

12-year-old Caitlin hanged herself using shoelaces in a school bathroom stall. Only two months prior, she had been labeled as depressed and prescribed an antidepressant, which led to prescriptions for three other psychiatric drugs. Her father stated: She wasn’t in control of the drugs and they were driving her feelings to the point where she couldn’t stand it anymore.

After moving to a new neighborhood, Matt’s parents noticed he was a bit sullen. Teachers recommended that Matt, aged 13, get professional help. A psychiatrist gave him a free sample of an antidepressant. Seven days later, Matt’s mother went to collect the laundry from her sons room and found he had hanged himself inside his closet.

Over 100 children have committed suicide while taking antidepressants like Prozac, prescribed for what their parents were led to believe was a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, little did they know that this was a drug company-marketing scheme designed to increase the sales of antidepressants. This admission by several executives of the American Psychiatric Association was made in 2005, some 18 years after Prozac came on the market.

Facts:

  • Unlike medical diseases, for which physical tests exist to diagnose, no such test exists for any mental disorder. The director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health testified before Congress that not a single cause or cure has been established for any mental disorder.
  • Drug companies produced new antidepressants with claims that they could correct a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes depression despite no test existing to prove this. The FDA there to protect the health of American citizens did not require any proof of this theory either. Investigative journalists determined drug company scams to get psychoactive (mind altering) drugs approved, reporting:
  • Drug companies fund studies that show the drugs efficacy in treating an obscurely known mental disorder in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders the billing bible of psychiatry.
  • Prominent psychiatrists are recruited to publicly affirm the malady as a huge problem.
  • PR firms (for the drug companies) launch campaigns to promote the new disorder, using dramatic statistics from corporate-sponsored studies.
  • Patient groups subsidized by drug makersare recruited or invented to serve as the public face for the disorder, supplying quotes for the media.
  • The drug gets approved for use in this now epidemic problem.
  • They said drugs would make you cool… video

    October 27, 2007 Leave a comment

     

    They said drugs would make you cool…

    You have to watch this video.

    Joints

    They said drugs would
    make you cool…

    Kids, on Drugs

    October 27, 2007 2 comments

    The Truth About Drugs

    A public service short film from Kids on Stage for a Better World.

    Written and Directed by Laurie Bartilson.

    Why is Cocaine so Addictive?

    October 26, 2007 2 comments

    Of all drugs, cocaine creates the greatest psychological dependence. It stimulates key pleasure centers within the brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria. However, an individual quickly develops a tolerance to the drug, requiring higher dosages and more frequent use in order to get the same effect. Cocaine cravings can be so strong that just the memory of the euphoria associated with use of the drug can trigger the desire to use it again, even after long periods of abstinence.

    Deadly combinations of drugs.

    Cocaine is sometimes taken with other drugs, including tranquilizers, amphetamines, marijuana and heroin. Such combinations greatly magnify the danger of using cocaine. In addition to the likelihood of developing a two-drug habit, one can easily create a mixture of narcotics that proves fatal.

    Hashish: A dangerous road toward cocaine addiction

    A hashish or marijuana user is ten times more likely to become a cocaine or heroin addict than a cigarette smoker is to develop lung cancer.

    “I had no more future. I did not see how I could escape my cocaine dependence. I was lost. I was ‘exploding’ and unable to stop myself from continuing to seriously abuse cocaine. I had hallucinations that animals were crawling under my skin. I felt them each time that I shot up and scraped myself with the point of my syringe until I started bleeding in order to make them leave. I was once bleeding so heavily from this I ended up in the hospital.”

    Cocaine causes heart, kidney, brain and lung damage. What are the sort-term effects of cocaine? All drugs are poisons. The amount you take determines how a drug will effect you. A small amount can make you feel euphoric, energetic, talkative and mentally alert. Larger doses put you to sleep. An even larger dose can kill you. This is true of cocaine or any drug.

    Initially, a cocaine high may last from 15 to 30 minutes, but as one’s tolerance to the drug increases, the high may last only 5 to 10 minutes, requiring increasingly larger and larger amounts of the drug to get the same effect.

    Quantities of several hundred milligrams or more intensify the user’s high, but lead to bizarre, erratic and violent behavior. A person on the drug can experience tremors, dizziness, muscle twitches and paranoia. The drug can react on the heart, resulting in heart attack, seizures and failure in breathing.

    What are the long-term effects of cocaine?

    The phrase “dope fiend” was originally coined many years ago to describe the negative side-effects of constant cocaine use. As tolerance to the drug increases, it becomes necessary to take greater and greater quantities to get the same effects. Prolonged daily use causes sleep deprivation and loss of appetite. A person can become psychotic and begin to experience hallucinations.

    Coming down from the drug causes severe depression, a state that becomes deeper and deeper with each repeated use of the drug. In this condition, a person will do almost anything to get it, including commit murder. And if one cannot get cocaine, the depression can deepen to such a degree that he or she becomes suicidal.

    “Don’t touch cocaine. I spent two years in jail because I took this drug. And when I got out, life was so hard I started taking the drug again. I know ten girls who became prostitutes because of coke. It’s much more extreme and degrading than we believe. At the time we take it, we don’t realize to what degree it is destroying us.”

    The effects of cocaine and crack

    Physiological Effects

    • increased heart rate and breathing
    • increased blood pressure
    • heart palpitations
    • weight loss, loss of appetite
    • uncontrollable tremors
    • insomnia
    • rapid breathing
    • muscle twitches
    • fever
    • pale, sickly complexion
    • impotence
    • dilated pupils
    • cold sweats
    • fatigue
    • constipation
    • headaches
    • blurred vision
    • seizures
    • nasal congestion

    Changes in Personality/Behavior

    • lying
    • stealing
    • loss of ambition
    • short temper
    • irresponsibility
    • inability to hold a job
    • depression
    • feeling confused
    • prone to accidents
    • hallucinations
    • anxiety
    • paranoia
    • fits of panic
    • poor concentration
    • loss of interest in sex
    • dulled emotions
    • suicidal tendencies

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    A Deadly White Powder

    October 26, 2007 Leave a comment

    Cocaine is one of the oldest and most dangerous drugs known to man. It is highly addictive and once a person begins taking it, it is almost impossible to free oneself from its grip. Today, cocaine is a world-wide, multi-billion dollar enterprise. Once considered a “rich man’s drug,” a young person today can buy a few grams of cocaine for little more than the cost of a movie ticket.

    “You believe that coke will increase your perceptions, that it will allow you to surpass yourself, that you will be able to control things. It’s bloody nonsense. Soon you won’t pay your bills, you won’t bathe anymore, you give up your friends, your family. You will become defenseless and alone.”

    But cocaine is very addictive. It can cause death from respiratory failure, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage or heart attack. Babies born to cocaine-addicted mothers are born addicts themselves. And many suffer birth defects, irreversible genetic damage and many other problems.

    Cocaine use continues to flourish, even though the drug is so dangerous. Perhaps this is due to the large amount of false information about the drug that results in increasing numbers of people becoming trapped in the grip of addiction, unable to escape.

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