Newtown: And One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,

Three geese in a flock. 
One flew east, 
And one flew west, 
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.
In September 1959, a recent University of Oregon graduate, Ken Kesey, enrolled in the Creative Writing program at Stanford University. To earn money he worked the night shift at a nearby mental hospital, and at the same time volunteered for the psychology department as a test subject in experiments with hallucinogenic drugs. He began to hallucinate during his shifts at the hospital, and imagined he saw an Indian sweeping the hospital floors at night. This hallucination became ‘Chief Broom’ Bromden, the narrator of his project novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest". Written partially under the influence of peyote and LSD, the book was an instant success among baby-boomer college students, and remains a classic to this day.
Publication of Kesey's novel in 1962 corresponded closely with John F. Kennedy's introduction of and the ultimate passage of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963. This legislation marked the beginning of the de-institutionalization of the mentally-retarded except those deemed incapable of interacting in public society. The legislation provided for establishment of facilities for dealing with mental patients on an outpatient basis and society changed forever. Asylum's were now in the past and the retarded were returned to not-quite-competent familial care.

Suddenly a whole new medical practice, expanding exponentially, drew the brightest of doctors and scientists to assist in getting psychotherapy off the ground.  America's drug companies jumped into the mix as well. Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, tells the story of how drug therapy was developed under an argument that sounds something like "fevers are caused by too little aspirin!"
When it was found that psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, as evidenced mainly by the levels of their breakdown products in the spinal fluid, the theory arose that the cause of mental illness is an abnormality in the brain's concentration of these chemicals that is specifically countered by the appropriate drug …
That was a great leap in logic … It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely)."
Eli Lilly first presented Prozac, a selective saratonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) anti-depressant, to the FDA in 1977 and approval was obtained for the drug in 1987 - and now big problems have been recognized. Episodic depression has now been replaced by chronic depression among SSRI users and the relapse rate for the drug is 85%.

But the really bad news about the SSRI anti-depressants is summarized in one sentence:
These drugs have given rise to hundreds of legal actions following suicides and homicides, one of which the Tobin versus SmithKline case resulted in a first ever finding against a pharmaceutical company for a psychiatric side-effect of a psychotropic drug.
There is a website,, that has a database of some 4800 incidents of violence that most likely resulted from SSRI drugs.
66 School Shootings/Incidents Involving SSRIs: Most of the stories on this site describe events that occurred after the year 2000.  The increase in online news material and the efficiency of search engines has greatly increased the ability to track stories.  Even these 4,800+ documented stories only represent the tip of an iceberg since most stories do not make it into the media. There are 115 cases of bizarre behavior, 66 school shootings/incidents, 68 road rage tragedies, 19 air rage incidents, 101 arson cases, 70 postpartum depression cases, over 1,000 murders (homicides) or murder attempts, over 300 murder-suicides (30% committed by women) and other acts of violence including workplace violence on this site.  There are also over 100 Journal Articles and FDA reports listed in the Index.  They are at the top of the Index immediately below the 66 school shootings/incidents and the 29 "won" criminal cases. 
Scary stuff and it just happens that Adam Lanza, the Newtown, CT elementary school shooter suffered from Asperger's Syndrome which most certainly suggests that he was a regular user of SSRI drugs. There have been Senate hearings on this problem but the subject is immediately dismissed in recent media write-ups on the school shooting - simply because the media and liberal politicians want to cripple the Second Amendment which permits private gun ownership.

  • Gadfly:
    Funny thing, I was talking to Wifey about Kesey and "One flew Over..." the other day...right AFTER the shootings.

    And the main reason that Dr. Jose Delgado LEFT the US when he proved that people could be "controlled" by electrode implantation (behavior modification) and later electromagnetic frequencies, was due to the advent OF all those (wonderful?) drugs that came about in the early 1960s.
    Drugs were deemed "safer" than all the other therapies (electtro-shock and lobotomies being the most prevalent at the time)

    Seems no one stopped to ponder what SIDE EFFECTS were to be manifest, either short OR (especially) LONG-term.

    And that brings us to today's center of the shrubbery maze, doesn't it?

    It would appear that many questions were already answered WAY back when the COMMUNITY MNETAL HEALTH ACT of 1963 was implemented.

    Another excellent post (and great links)

    Stay safe out there.