Making a Killing: the Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging

Making a Killing: the Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Copyright 2009
DVD 90 minutes plus bonus footage
Rating: M (recommended for mature audiences of 16 years and over)
Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights
Available from

“We don’t have any blood tests or other tests that are definitive for any mental illness whatsoever.” – Psychiatrist

So begins a slick expose of psychiatry produced by Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) – a non-profit organisation established by the Church of Scientology in 1961. Since that time the organisation has worked to support victims of psychiatric abuse. In New Zealand, the organisation was vital in exposing the shocking treatment endured by child patients at the infamous Lake Alice Hospital.

This DVD is a wake-up call to anyone who has been unaware of the risks of psychiatric drugs. It is an important tool that should prevent many unsuspecting people from becoming the next victims of this conscienceless industry. Make no mistake, psychiatry is a killer – 3000 people a month are estimated to die as a result of these medications. In the USA, it has been estimated that half all all Americans who commit suicide are taking psychotropic prescription medications at the time.

When someone who has been diagnosed as having depression or some other “mental illness” takes his or her own life, their death is commonly attributed to their poor mental health status. In some cases, this may be true. However, as Making a Killing demonstrates, people who have no history of depression who have been prescribed powerful mind-altering drugs for other reasons – such as sleeping difficulties – have killed themselves as a result of becoming mentally unbalanced due to the effects of the medication.

One such case was that of Beth Winter, described by her bereaved family as a kind and loving person who would never do anything to hurt anyone. Beth was prescribed Paxil after she consulted a doctor because she had been having difficulty sleeping. Her personality began to change from the first day on the medication. After just over a week of taking the drug, she hanged herself.

Self-inflicted violence is not the only potential consequence of taking psychiatric drugs. The DVD features a special bonus section entitled Psychiatry’s Prescription for Violence. This section of the DVD includes a conversation between a police operator and a father:

Father: I just killed my two daughters.
Operator: Sir?
Father: Yeah
Operator: Tell me what happened…What’s going on right now?
Father: I just freaked out and killed them
Operator: Are you on medication, Sir?
Father: Yes
Operator: What sort of medication are you on, Sir?
Father: I’m on antidepressants

It probably goes without saying that this section of the DVD isn’t for the faint hearted, not that watching Beth Winter’s bereft parents and siblings recount her final days is exactly a walk in the park. However, if you do watch this special bonus section of the DVD, you may be struck, as I was, with the tone of the female police operator’s voice as she asks the caller if he is taking medication. The words trip off her tongue so automatically that it appears that she has either been trained to routinely ask such a question, or she had simply learned to do so because she encountered reports of medication-related crimes so frequently.

Readers may remember the case of American mother Andrea Yates who became internationally infamous for drowning her five young children. Andrea Yate’s husband stood by his wife as she became the most vilified woman in the world. He blamed the medications that she had been prescribed for post-natal depression for her murderous behaviour.

How, you may ask, have drugs that can have such deadly side effects come to be so widely prescribed?

According to the CCHR, the drug-induced carnage is the result of decades of planning, dating back to 1967 when a group of psychatrists met in Puerto Rico and determined to develop an armoury of drugs with which they could influence human moods and behaviour.

“[We] see a developing potential for nearly a total control of human emotional status, mental functioning, and the will to act,” wrote psychiatrist Wayne O. Evans in a publication developed by the group titled: Psychotropic Drugs in the Year 2000 – Use by Normal Humans.

Since that time, leaders of mainstream psychiatry have worked hand-in-glove with the pharmaceutical industry to turn their dystopic dream into a reality.
They have enlarged the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) from a 130 page page booklet listing 106 “disorders” (in 1952) until the latest edition is now 886 pages and includes 374 sets of symptoms that are now classified as mental health “disorders”.

In the USA, psychiatrists are able to use the codes for these “disorders” to extract 72 billion dollars from private insurance companies and government agencies. However, there is nothing scientific about the DSM. The only criteria for the establishment of a new condition is for a list of symptoms to be created and a majority of psychiatrists to vote for it into the DSM. (Yes, these are the same people who are legally empowered to determine whether other people are sane or insane and can sign documents requiring compulsory detention in psychiatric “hospitals”, and in New Zealand may legally administer both disabling medications and brain-damaging electroconvulsive “therapy” to people without their consent or even against their expressed will.)

Over the past several decades, psychiatry has redefined huge numbers of normal human behaviours or emotions as “mental illness”.

Take shyness, for example. A few years ago, no one would have dreamed of defining anyone who was shy (whether occasionally or usually) as mentally ill. However, shyness is now listed in the DSM as “Social Anxiety Disorder”, or SAD for short – a condition that can be treated with medication.

Look through the DSM and you may well find that you’re mentally ill! (One amusing part of the DVD involved an experiment in which a group of volunteers of all ages and ethnicities living healthy, normal lives were asked to take on-line tests designed to screen for various mental illnesses. Half of the group received a diagnosis of some sort of mental illness. Some seemed bemused, others reacted with amusement. One young woman appeared surprised to find out that she was mentally ill and said she’d go to her doctor to get it sorted with some “meds or something” – presumably the producers of the film enlightened her about why that would be a bad idea.)

So-called “mental health” screening can have devastating effects, however. Making a Killing highlights the case of Alaiah Gleeson, a vivacious, healthy and happy eleven year old African American girl who was administered a “teen screen” test at her school. The results of the test apparently showed that she was “suicidal” triggering a months-long nightmare for Alaiah and her family. Alaiah was removed from her family home put into a mental hospital and drugged. At first she took the medications compliantly, as she was told if she did so, she could see her parents. However, as time went by and this promise was not fulfilled she refused to take the medication. The reaction of the staff was to restrain her and forcibly administer medication. Over the course of her incarceration in the mental hospital, she was restrained more than seventy times and prescribed 22 different drugs. At times she was so heavily sedated she could not even walk. To add insult to injury, two months into this terrible ordeal, Alaiah was told that her parents – who had been trying frantically to locate her, without success – didn’t want anything to do with her anymore. It took six months before Alaiah was finally reunited with her parents.

“I was a good child,” weeps Alaiah, now aged seventeen, on the DVD. “I didn’t deserve that. And it messed up a lot of things.”

Alaiah’s experience is an extreme example of psychiatric abuse of a healthy child, and by extension, her parents and other family members. However thanks to the assiduous efforts of the upper eschelons of the psychiatric profession, and Big Pharma, most people who are prescribed psychiatric drugs get their toxic medication(s) from their local physician, not a psychiatrist. Disturbingly, many people being prescribed psychiatric drugs may not even realise that this is what they have been prescribed. As drugs go out of patent, they are frequently re-named and marketed to a new population. Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) infamous for increasing the risk of suicide and other violent acts, has been re-branded “Sarafem” and aggressively marketed for “Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder” (PMDD) – pre-menstrual mood changes.

Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) promoted as a stop-smoking aid is simply the antidepressant Wellbutrin re-packaged for a new market.

If you read the datasheet for Zyban on the website of New Zealand pharmaceutical drug regulator, Medsafe, you will find the following among adverse effects for the Zyban:

“Seizures (See Special Warnings And Special Precautions For Use), insomnia, tremor, dystonia, ataxia, Parkinsonism, twitching, incoordination, concentration disturbance, headache, dizziness, depression, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, anxiety, irritability, hostility, depersonalisation, abnormal dreams, memory impairment, paraesthesia, aggression, restlessness, delusions, paranoid ideation.”

It’s worth noting that these side effects are only those that relate to the possible effects of the medication on the central nervous system. There are many other side effects that may affect other body tissues and organs.

(Earlier this week I noticed that there is an advertisement playing on primetime on New Zealand television for another drug that purportedly helps people quit smoking. As the TV personality extolls the benefits of Champix (varenicline) a warning in fine print runs along the bottom of the screen that states in part: “Some people have had serious changes in behaviour, mood or thinking including self-harm or harming others. If you or your family notice changes in your behaviour or mood, stop taking Champix and see your doctor.”)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of smoking. However, smoking tobacco products generally takes decades to kill its victims. To my mind, prescribing any drug that may provoke suicidal or homicidal behaviour to a smoker who wants to quit is another example of Western allopathic medicine peddling another “cure” that’s potentially worse than the condition that it purports to treat.

Perhaps one of the worst aspects of the psychiatric industry is how powerful medication that may be used by thousands of unlucky individuals for years and years are released onto the market with inadequate testing, In the early 1990s, the FDA required almost two years worth of evaluation of new psychiatric medications before they could be marketed. Pressure from industry to “fast-track” drug approval subsequently eroded the nearly two years long evaluation to six months and the number of new drugs on the market doubled. That was wonderful for Big Pharma, but terrible for the population at large who were (and still are) essentially acting as medical guinea pigs for poorly tested medications. Many psych drugs that will be used for years by people are “mentally ill”, according to the latest definition, have been taken by clinical trials participants for as little as 4-8 weeks.

What’s more unfavourable data in clinical trials may be ignored and the drug marketed anyway. According to Making a Killing, this was the case for Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride). Cymbalta is currently being marketed for depression, anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder – GAD), diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia. In one trial of Cymbalta in non-depressed people, there were eleven attempted suicides and four “completed suicides”. The drugs was approved anyway. The active ingredient of Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) is now also been rebranded as “Yentreve” and marketed to people (chiefly women) suffering from stress urinary incontinence.

Making a Killing blames the revolving door between the pharmaceutical industry, drug industry regulators, academia and private practice as contributing to a situation where dangerous drugs can be gain marketing approval. Almost all panelists involved in psychiatric drug assessment have ties to the drug industry, according to the DVD. However, even if personnel involved in drug regulation were not so frequently ethically compromised, it is clear that the pharmaceutical industry has no intention of investing a lot of time and money developing new drugs unless they can get marketing approval. Former drug research chemist at Eli Lilly, Shane Ellison explains that drug companies put trial data through a process of “statistical contortionism” to “skew the numbers” for the purpose of hiding the “bad numbers”.

Children are increasingly being targeted by the manufacturers of mind altering drugs. One way in which this is accomplished is for pharmaceutical companies to start phony patient advocacy groups designed to create a demand for medications for psychiatric disorders. The DVD reveals that “Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder” (“CHADD”) is one such organisation and has an interview with a former employee who explained how he was fired from the organisation because he helped parents find successful drug-free treatments for their hyperactive children. He had advised the children’s parents to take them to a doctor for tests to determine the causes of their condition.The parents took his advice and reported that their children’s behaviour normalised within several weeks.

One of the most damaging trends in psychiatry is the diagnosis of major mental disorders in preschool children. In a depressing example of how one individual can make a truly dreadful difference, the DVD describes how psychiatrist Dr Joseph Biederman (a paid speaker, advisor and researcher for twenty-five different pharmaceutical companies) virtually single handedly popularised “juvenile bipolar disorder”. As a result of Dr Biederman’s efforts there has been a 4000% increase in diagnoses of bipolar disorder in children and a five fold increase in the prescription of antipsychotic medications to children. (Interesting, children who have been diagnosed as being “bipolar” are now being re-labeled as having “Temper Dysregulation Disorder” or TDS – I kid you not, you can read all about it at the following link:

A diagnosis of juvenile bipolar disorder can have tragic consequences, as is illustrated in the case of preschooler Rebecca Riley who died after being prescribed four different psychiatric medications. Although to any sensible observer, Rebecca was obviously excessively medicated (she was so heavily sedated that the teachers at her preschool rang her psychiatrist begging for her medications to be reviewed) Rebecca’s doctor was not help accountable for her death since the treatment that Rebecca received met the generally (medically) accepted “standard of care” for her (alleged) condition.

Psychiatry is now a $330 billion per year industry that doesn’t allow patient well-being to interfere with its profits.

Given the litany of very literal sins of the psychiatric establishment, what are the alternatives for people who are suffering from symptoms such as anxiety, depression (or even hallucinations) who want (or need) help? Making a Killing points out that there are many medical problems that can cause “psychiatric” symptoms, and suggests that a first step for anyone who is concerned about their well being is to visit a doctor who can undertake a thorough health assessment to first determine the cause of the symptoms, and then institute appropriate treatment(s). This is good advice. However, many people in the community are already taking some sort of psychoactive pharmaceutical. It’s very likely that many people on these drugs will not have been properly informed by their doctor about the huge range of potential side effects, will be shocked by what they learn by watching the DVD and will be motivated to stop taking them. For this reason, I think that the DVD makers should have included some sort of warning to people who are currently taking psychiatric medications not to discontinue them without medical advice since many create physical dependence and sudden discontinuation of these medications can potentially precipitate very serious withdrawal symptoms including risks of harming oneself or others. However, this corollary aside this is an excellent DVD that deserves the widest possible audience.

Discussion: Wholistic Treatment Options for “Psychiatric” Disorders

A number of different therapies can help people suffering from mental/emotional distress. In some cases depression or anxiety have a physiological basis such as mercury poisoning, or vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies, for example. A comprehensive health assessment to determine any possible causes of mental/emotional distress is a useful first step.

If there is an obvious precipitating cause for symptoms (such as someone who feels anxious after being assaulted) wholistic medicine can help with symptom relief. Homoeopathy can help reduce trauma related symptoms and Traditional Chinese Medicine which recognises the interrelationship of body, mind and spirit can also be helpful in this regard. Acupuncture can stimulate endorphin release which can boost mood, while needling of key points may result in the release of suppressed emotions, thus promote healing. Herbal medicines (whether Western or Chinese) can also be useful treatments for anxiety or depression.

A good family reference that provides useful information for home treatment of many minor physical and emotional problems is Practical Homoeopathy: A Complete Guide to Home Treatment by Beth MacEoin. This book has sections on homoeopathy for grief as well anxiety, depression and insomnia as well as common illnesses. It includes useful guidelines about when a problem is not suitable for home-treatment and a health professional should be consulted, but it appears to be out of print. However, Beth MacEoin, has a new book called Homoeopathy: A Practical Guide for the 21st Century which appears to cover many of the same topics.

Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections by William Philpott MD and Dwight D Kalita PhD is another excellent book. Dr Phillpott, a psychiatrist abandoned the use of toxic drugs and electroconvulsive therapy and began to study nutritional and environmental medicine. He developed protocols to help people suffering from schizophrenia and other seriously disabling conditions, including autism. (Dr Philpott would have been one of the first physicians in the world to use therapeutic doses of vitamins and minerals to treat autistic children as well ensuring that foods to which they were allergic and intolerant were removed from their diets. Brain Allergies sumarises his work and gives protocols for physicians who would like to emulate Dr Philpott’s success. If you visit googlebooks site, you can read the preface to this book.)

The link below is to a story from Cosmopolitan magazine in 1977 in which the reporter investigates the then newly emerging field of orthmolecular psychiatry.

The link below includes information a press released from the Orthomoelcular News Service that includes the sort of nutritional supplement regimen programme typically prescibed by physician practising orthomoledular psychiatry. Below the the press release is a story contributed by a grandmother who helped her grandson recover from years of psychiatric drugging with the help of nutritional supplements, a good diet and loving care and encouragement.

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