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How Did an African-American Attorney End Up Riddled with Bullet Holes on the Steps of a Florida State University Library?  Why is His Legacy Now Being Perverted to Promote Psychotropic Drugs that Killed a Gifted Young Black Role-Model?

     When a twenty-five year-old white Colorado University graduate school dropout named James Holmes emerged from an Aurora, CO movie theater after killing twelve people and wounding seventy others, he was taken into custody without injury, and currently awaits trial for multiple murders.  When a thirty-one year-old black Florida State University and Texas Tech Law School alumnus and former prosecutor named Myron May emerged from a campus library in Tallahassee, FL after wounding three people, he was reportedly shot by police twelve times, his crumpled body bleeding out on the sidewalk.

     Though Mr. Holmes and Mr. May experienced vastly different fates at the hands of law enforcement, the two share something in common besides having embarked on shooting rampages – both men took psychotropic medications that the FDA warns can cause suicidal behavior, psychosis, hallucinations, mania, aggressive behavior and violence.

     While executing a search warrant on Mr. Holmes' residence, law enforcement discovered prescription bottles of sertraline (Zoloft) and clonazepam (Klonopin).  Sertraline is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that the FDA warns can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents and adults under the age of twenty-five.  During FDA hearings held in 2004 on the safety of SSRIs, experts urged the FDA to issue a suicide warning for patients of all ages, but the FDA declined to do so, setting a disputed and what some believe arbitrary cut-off age of twenty-five for the SSRI suicide warning (Holmes was twenty-five at the time of his shooting rampage).  Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine used to treat panic attacks that the FDA warns also increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.

     Admitted to the Texas and New Mexico bars to practice law and a former Dona Ana county, NM prosecutor, Mr. May returned to Florida to study for the Florida bar exam, which he was reportedly planning to take in February 2015.  Like many college students in America cramming for exams and an increasing number of adults attempting to enhance their performance in the workplace, Mr. May may have sought after a so-called “study” drug, which can only be obtained legally with a prescription, to help him perform better at work and to assist in his exam preparation.  Mr. May was given the controversial diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and was prescribed Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine).  While consumers remain largely unaware of the dangers of these so-called “study” drugs, like their chemical cousin methamphetamine, methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Methylin, etc.) and amphetamine-based (e.g. Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, etc.) psychostimulants have been known for years in the medical community to induce psychosis.  So much so that in 2006, the FDA Division of Drug Risk Evaluation (DDRE) recommended issuing a warning that any of the stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD, at regular doses, in patients with no risk indicators or prior history, can cause hallucinations (visual, audible, tactile), psychosis, mania, aggressive behavior and violence.  Based on a review of adverse event reports to the FDA and a meta-analysis of clinical trial data, an expert testified to the FDA Pediatric Advisory Committee in March 2006 that 2 to 5 out of every 100 patients taking stimulants experience psychotic adverse effects.  

     After taking Vyvanse, Mr. May reported to law enforcement in New Mexico that he heard voices coming from the walls in his residence, and that he believed that he was being targeted or otherwise under surveillance by the government.  Mr. May also experienced insomnia -- a common adverse effect of psychostimulants that can increase the risk of psychosis -- reportedly staying up for four to five days.  While paranoid psychosis is a familiar adverse effect of the stimulant drug Mr. May was taking, his experience as a profiled young black man in America may have exacerbated the paranoia he experienced on the drug.  In a Facebook post, Mr. May described three out of ten DWB (Driving While Black) profiling incidents that he indicated having experienced.  With the paranoia Mr. May experienced from Vyvanse, his interpersonal relationships unraveled, and he brokeup with his girlfriend.  In a Las Cruces police report describing an encounter with his former girlfriend during which he handed her a piece of what he believed to be a surveillance device for safekeeping, she described him as acting strangely after having been diagnosed with ADHD and taking medication for the disorder.

     On top of his amphetamine-induced psychosis, Mr. May likely felt sadness as the result of the loss of an intimate relationship.  Like an increasing number of people who start out taking a single stimulant drug for ADHD, Mr. May quickly found himself also on the antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion), an SSRI that the FDA warns can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, as well as the antipsychotic Seroquel to counter-act the paranoia arising from taking Vyvanse.  While doctors and psychiatrists around the country are increasingly prescribing multiple psychotropic drugs concominantly, none of these potentially dangerous drug cocktails has ever been tested to determine whether the drugs can be safely taken together.

     Adding to the controversy surrounding the psychotropic drugs Mr. May was prescribed, according to one media account he was prescribed Vyvanse and Wellbutrin by a psychologist, not a medical doctor or psychiatrist.  New Mexico is one of only two states including Louisiana where it is legal for psychologists to prescribe medication.  Since the passage of Louisiana's law allowing psychologists to prescribe medication, that state now has one of the highest rates of ADHD diagnosis and medication in the nation.  The problem has reached such epic proportions that Kathy Kliebert, LA Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary, has held public hearings on the issue. 
     Whereas the media has branded Mr. May as having suffered from a severe mental disorder, there is no indication in any media reports of him having any psychiatric problems prior to seeking help for distractibility at work, or prior to taking psychosis-inducing amphetamines.
     Like Mr. May, 34 year old Aaron Alexis was another successful young black man, achieving the rank of petty officer third class in the Navy and obtaining a secret security clearance.  Working as a subcontractor for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services, Mr. Alexis provided support for the Navy Marine Corps computer network.  Mr. Alexis reportedly expressed frustration to a former roommate that he had not been adequately paid for the work he performed.  Also like Mr. May, Mr. Alexis was taking an antidepressant (Trazodone) that the FDA warns increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.  Also like Mr. May, Mr. Alexis embarked on a shooting rampage, killing twelve people at the Naval Shipyard in Washington, D.C.  Two weeks prior to the attack, Mr. Alexis visited the emergency room at the V.A. in D.C. complaining of insomnia, where he was dispensed more Trazodone.  Like Mr. May, Mr. Alexis was also shot and killed by first responders.


     Despite FDA warnings of psychosis, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior associated with the medications that Messrs. May and Alexis were taking at the time of their otherwise uncharacteristic acts of violence, and rather than investigate a possible causal link between the psychotropic drugs and mass shootings, Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, a thirty-year psychologist and major recipient of pharmaceutical and mental health industry donations, has sought to exploit Messrs. May and Alexis in support of his bill, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717), which would not only involuntarily commit and medicate adults, criminals, and veterans; but also in some cases infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents without parental consent. 

     Considered by many to be a boondoggle for Rep. Murphy's pharmaceutical company patrons, the bill would provide millions in funding to diagnose infants and toddlers as young as one or two years old using the subjective, unscientific Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ); would allow minors to be evaluated, diagnosed and medicated with psychotropic drugs without parental consent; would transform the nation's prison population into a captive market for pharmaceutical companies subjected to forcible psychotropic drugging; would drug more veterans to death like Sean Gonzalez who died at Central Florida Behavioral Hospital after being administered psychotropic drugs; would fund mental health police similar to those in Midland, TX who shot and killed Rosendo Gino Rodriguez after he refused to take his medication.

     Like Messrs. May and Alexis, Messrs. Gonzalez and Rodriguez were also minorities killed by the largely white mental health industry, which once labeled the desire to escape slavery as a mental disorder called Drapetomania.  In a perverse, yet genius twist of reverse psychology, the same mental health establishment that once pathologized a black person's desire for freedom is marketing to the African-American community the notion that discrimination has deprived black children the opportunity to be diagnosed and medicated for mental disorders like ADHD on a par with white kids.  A fact check dispels the mental health racial inequality hype: 9.5% of black children are diagnosed with ADHD versus 9.8% of white children.  The cynical, yet cunning psychotropic marketing strategy has fueled new growth: a recent study revealed that poor children have experienced a 59% increase in ADHD diagnoses versus only a 10% increase for middle and upper income children.  In search of ever-expanding markets and profits, the pharmaceutical industry is stepping up efforts to fully exploit minority communities, which represent an economically important demographic to their bottom line.

      Unfortunately, talented and successful minorities are falling victim to slick Madison avenue messaging that there is a pill to cure all ills, their once promising lives cut short along with others.

     As more details of their psychiatric treatment and psychotropic drugging have come to light, Rep. Murphy's initial characterization of Messrs. May and Alexis as poster children for a supposed lack of access to mental healthcare in this country has taken a subtle twist.  Previously referring to mass shooters as “untreated,” Rep. Murphy has nuanced his remarks to reflect emerging indications that most mass shooters in recent history received more mental health treatment than the average American (e.g. Myron May, Aaron Alexis, Adam Lanza, Elliot Rodger, Ivan Lopez, etc.), now labeling these individuals instead as “under-treated.”

     Even as Murphy's bill promotes so-called Evidenced-Based Treatment (EBT), controversial due to the “evidence” being largely derived from studies primarily funded by the pharmaceutical industry, Rep. Murphy has ignored increasing evidence of a temporal, if not causal link between psychotropic drugs and high profile mass murders in America.  Ironically, under HR 3717, dead mass shooters benefit from more privacy protection than living mental health patients, whose HIPAA privacy rights the bill seeks to erode, indiscriminately granting “caregivers” access to mental health providers and records in order to ensure patients maintain medication compliance.  With the foundational psychotherapy tenet of confidentiality thrown out the window, EBT has become synonymous in HR 3717 with psychotropic drugging, suiting Rep. Murphy's pharmaceutical donors well, along with so-called “advocacy” groups funded by the pharmaceutical industry like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), and Autism Speaks.  

     Under HR 3717, the decision of whether or not to release mental health records would rest entirely upon the unenforceable ethics codes of psychologists, psychiatrists and physicians – which do not carry the force of law – rather than in the hands of the patient, as has long been the case.  Citing a controversial concept known as anosognosia, schizophrenic or bipolar patients' purported incapacity to comprehend their mental disorder or need for treatment, Rep. Murphy has attacked a long-standing common law principle that people must pose a danger to themselves or others before they can be involuntarily committed or have their mental health records involuntarily released, deriding the legal definition as being two-hundred years old.       

     Dismissing the two-century old notion of liberty as being unenlightened by the marvels of modern psychocraft as embodied in the DSM 5.0, psychiatry's voted-on, yet scientifically unmeasurable "Bible" of mental disorders, Rep. Murphy has on the other hand sought vigorously to protect the civil liberties of dead mass shooters.  On the second anniversary of the Newtown massacre, it stands as a mark of shame that during congressional hearings following the tragedy, the subject of Adam Lanza's psychotropic medication history was strictly off-limits.  In fact, an attorney for the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner successfully argued before that state's Freedom of Information Commission to keep Mr. Lanza's mental health records sealed from the public.  Attorney Patrick Kwanashie warned in his arguments to the commission that releasing Mr. Lanza's mental health records would be “harmful, because then you can cause a lot of people, um, to stop taking their medications, stop cooperating with their treating physicians, just because of the heinousness of what Adam Lanza did.”

     NRA-endorsed for his strong stance against gun control, Rep. Murphy has stated with great dramatic effect that we should be more concerned about what was in the mind of mass shooters than what was in their hand, but he has been notably silent about what was in their body.

     Rep. Murphy wants us to implicitly trust our civil liberties to the care of his profession, despite the fact that psychiatry failed to identify a homicidal maniac within its own ranks, namely Dr. Nidal Malik Hasan, the psychiatrist notoriously known as the first Fort Hood shooter; and was treating the second Fort Hood shooter, Spc. Ivan Lopez, with suicide-inducing SSRIs at the time of his more recent rampage.  Interviewed on CNN shortly after the second Fort Hood shooting in April of this year, Dr. Murphy outlined the post-mortem process: “We look at the kind of medications they were on.  Was it right?  Was it effective?”  The psychologist-cum-legislator further advised, “You also do a risk assessment to understand if that person on certain medications can increase the risk for some problems. They have to be closely monitored.”  What's that? Certain medications can increase the risk for some "problems?"  Which medications?  What kind of problems?

     Whereas HR 3717 calls out the controversial Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) by name and funds its expanded use, which many see as a license to diagnose and drug infants and toddlers, noticeably absent from Murphy's bill is any mention of a medication risk assessment, either by name or otherwise, which he himself recommended on national television.  There is absolutely no mention in the bill of the medications that, if we are to believe Dr. Murphy's comments, may not be “right” or “effective.”  Rather, his bill codifies protected class status for all antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

     Even though mental health professionals are manifestly incapable of detecting or preventing the next mass shooter, perhaps we should be comforted by psychiatry's unrivaled ability to diagnose a ham sandwich.  In a famous study, a psychology graduate student, three psychologists, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a housewife posed as mental patients.  Of the twelve times the sane impostors were admitted into mental hospitals, eleven times they were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and once with manic-depressive psychosis.  Under HR 3717, mental health professionals will without a doubt wrongly diagnose people with schizophrenia, involuntarily commit them, and forcibly medicate them.  Only there won't be an attorney standing by with a writ of habeas corpus like in the aforementioned study.

    Last year, 171,744 involuntary exams were initiated under Florida's Baker Act.  That's an average of 471 per day.  Let that number sink in a bit.  Throughout Florida, stories of wrongful and abusive commitments surface everyday.  Consider the case of former psychologist Holli Bodner, who as part of a neighborhood dispute, filed a petition to have her neighborhood foe involuntarily examined, pursuant to the Baker Act, for such offenses as "working under the table" and "swearing."  Dr. Bodner was finally forced to surrender her license years later after attempting suicide, shoplifting at Macy's, smuggling oxycodone into a Sarasota County jail in her bra for an inmate, etc.  Equally troubling is the case of David Bush, a 61 year old African-American man who was involuntarily committed by Jacksonville Sheriff's Deputies last year and later found dead while in custody at UF Health Jacksonville.



     The only thing scarier than the growing trend of mental health police forces popping up across the country is that often times the involuntary detention for examination is outsourced to private security firms with even less oversight than law enforcement agencies.  In the case of Mr. Bush, his supervision was entrusted into the hands of rent-a-cop outfit G4S.  JSO determined that Mr. Bush somehow managed to hang himself -- while subdued in a 4-point restraint.  Case closed.

     When Hispanic Gulf War veteran Sean Gonzalez was involuntarily committed and detained for psychiatric observation earlier this year at Central Florida Behavioral Hospital, he was forcibly administered psychotropic medications and later found dead.




    In the case of Rosendo Gino Rodriguez, a 49 year-old Hispanic man in west Texas, his family called police to inform them that Mr. Rodriguez was not taking his medication.  These are the so-called "caregivers" to whom HR 3717 seeks to release protected mental health records, precisely to ensure that subjects maintain medication compliance.  According to the Midland, TX police department, "Midland County mental health officials were conducting a welfare check on Rodriguez" earlier this month.  Elsewhere in the official account, the "mental health officials" are alternately referred to as "deputies."  When mental health officials aka law enforcement confronted Mr. Rodriguez for not taking his medication, he locked himself in the bathroom.  A SWAT team busted down the door and shot him dead.  The incident is currently under investigation by Texas Rangers.     


     Under HR 3717, there will surely be many more abuses.

     Lulled into complacency by the pharmaceutical and mental health industry's carefully crafted narrative exploiting mass shooting tragedies while skillfully side-stepping any responsibility, the media have largely abandoned its professional curiosity in favor of printing Rep. Murphy's words directly or endorsing them in Op-Ed pages across the state and the country.

     Meanwhile, the Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act (HR 4574), Arizona Congressman Ron Barber's Democratic alternative to Rep. Murphy's pro-Pharma Republican bill, has gained scant media attention.  Since the Democratic Congressman's bill seeks to strengthen and further invest in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its recovery programs rather than gut them as Murphy's bill would do in the name of EBT, it does not benefit from the support of the pharmaceutical lobby or its “grassroots” marketing machine, otherwise known as “advocacy” groups.  Perhaps that's why we don't hear about Barber's bill in the news as much as Murphy's.        

Big Pharma Marketing Machine/Politicians Pocketing Pharma Money Creating Faux Mental Health Crisis to Boost Rx Drug Sales

Fact-Checking Rep. Tim Murphy's Talking Points:

Claim: The mental health crisis has turned our jails into the new mental asylums.  Mentally ill are disproportionately represented in prison populations, overburdening our prisons and jails.  

Fact: "This year, 10 county jails surveyed by I-News reported that, on average in 2013, 18 percent of their inmates were mentally ill."

Fact: "Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population of the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, statistics released Friday reveal."

Fact: "FBI: Violent crime drops, reaches 1970s level.  U.S. violent crimes including murders fell 4.4 percent in 2013 to their lowest number since the 1970s, continuing a decades-long downturn, the FBI said on Monday."

Claim:  The mental health crisis has led to an increase in suicides.  If we do not reform the mental health system, the suicide epidemic will continue to grow out of control.

Fact:  The suicide rate in the U.S. is the same as it was thirty years ago, 12.5 per 100,000 in 2012 versus 12.4 per 100,000 in 1982.

Claim:  The mental health crisis has led to an increase in homelessness.

Fact:  "Despite a housing crisis, a great recession, rising income inequality, and elevated poverty, there is some good news among the most vulnerable segment of American society. America’s homeless population – an estimated 633,000 people – has declined in the last decade."