Category: Editorial

Mental Health Records Matter in Mass Shootings

May 19, 2022
Editor’s Note: Indian River News is not responsible for the contents of this Opinion Article. The author has agreed to assume all responsibility for its contents. The contents are not to be taken as medical advise.

Another crazed, gun-toting kid wantonly, tragically kills ten and wounds three innocent people in a small upstate New York town. We’ve heard this scenario played out time and again. Is it really that simple? Another crazy kid spewing hate, remedying his discontent in a hail of bullets. Maybe. But why not conduct a complete investigation, including releasing the shooter’s psychiatric drug “treatment?”

Law enforcement, lawmakers and media pundits whip out the same tired script, focusing on the killing weapon…the gun, while completely ignoring another possibility for the murderous madness – mental health psychiatric drug “treatment.” How many more must die before an open, honest, dialogue takes place about the serious adverse events associated with mental health “treatment?”

What is known so far is that Payton Gendron, 18, has a mental health history. How far back this history goes may never be released. But we do know that he was investigated in 2021 just prior to his graduation from High School for making what then were taken as threatening comments to classmates.

The then 17-year-old, reported by school officials, was taken into custody by the New York state police and admitted for a mental health evaluation. The 17-year-old was evaluated for about a day and a half and released. Police Commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia, did not describe the findings of the mental health evaluation nor what, if any, drug “treatment” was provided. Why?

Certainly, authorities can’t be falling back on the privacy protections provided under the HIPPA. Those privacy protections effectively went out the window with the COVID-19 pandemic. The minute the emergency vaccines were instituted, health privacy meant nothing when government entities decided that the health and welfare of all far outweighed the privacy of a few.

Where does this deliberate refusal to release the mental health history, including all prescribed psychiatric medications, come from? Is it really about protecting the medical records of the accused shooter or, perhaps, is it really about protecting the mental health regime and pharmaceutical giants from failed diagnoses and murderous treatments?

What, exactly, was the result of Gendron’s mental health examination? Was Gendron provided a psychiatric diagnosis and “treated” with psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs? Was Gendron requested to attend mental health anger management classes? Was there follow up after the evaluation, which included his parents ensuring their son was taking his drug “treatment?” No one knows and it appears that the authorities don’t seem to think that it matters. But it does matter.

Take for instance, that it is not widely known that despite a litany of antidepressants on the market, only Prozac has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children. All other antidepressants are prescribed by doctors “off-label” to children. According to the adverse events listed by the drug companies, antidepressants can cause the following adverse effects: Mania, Psychosis, Abnormal Behavior, Anxiety, Violent Behavior, depersonalization, hallucinations, hostility, and delusions to name a few, and come with an FDA Black Box Warning for causing Suicidality – the FDA’s most serious warning before removing a drug from the market.

Given the adverse events listed above, would not the public be better served if it knew less about the make and model of the killing weapon and more about the shooter’s possible psychiatric drug use and mental health status? One could argue that it couldn’t hurt to know all the information about these shooters…something along the lines of informed consent. Ablechild, perhaps, came very close to getting the reasoning behind law enforcement and lawmakers’ reluctance to release mental health “treatment” data. During a 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Hearing – Ablechild vs. Chief Medical Examiner which was seeking information about Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza’s mental health records, the attorney for the Office of the Attorney General, Patrick Kwanashie, argued that release of Adam Lanza’s records to the public “can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.” Bingo! More frightening to the pharmaceutical industry and mental health regime, though, is that one might also argue that if the mental health drug “treatment” information of all shooters was made available to the public, maybe people wouldn’t take the psychiatric drugs at all…ever. The documentation supporting a connection between school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence and those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, resulting in 162 wounded and 72 killed, is readily available.

Unfortunately, while the information, if made available, won’t bring back those so wrongfully harmed by the brutal actions of these shooters, but having the mental health data and drug “treatments” prescribed to them may lead to a better understanding of the role psychiatric drugs may play in these shootings.

Maybe. Just maybe. If parents are made aware of the possible adverse events associated with the psychiatric “treatments,” and if they are made aware that too many of the shooting incidents that occur are carried out by those who are on or are withdrawing from psychiatric drug use, maybe they may opt for, even insist upon, a different treatment plan.

It’s time to consider that there is more to these random crazed kid shooters. Afterall, there seems little doubt if the shooter had been on an illegal substance, such as Fentanyl or Meth, authorities would have released that information to the public. Why, then, are the prescribed psychiatric mind-altering drugs used as “treatment” given a protected status?

The answer may be very frightening to the mental health industry. Maybe. Just maybe, mental health “treatments” don’t work and sometimes they may actually put the public at risk of great bodily harm. If the powers that be really want to end this senseless violence, they have to start asking the right questions and providing the public with all the information.

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