Shooter Gavin Long speaking as his online persona Cosmo Setepenra on social media (AP/YouTube)

Shooter Gavin Long speaking as his online persona Cosmo Setepenra on social media (AP/YouTube)

Was Baton Rouge cop killer Gavin Long protesting police brutality by murdering three policemen, or was it yet another result of psychiatric drug side effects?

This young veteran told his relatives and friends that he had post-traumatic stress disorder, and according to a CNN article from July 20, as recently as June he had filled a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug Ativan. 1

Here are some of the mental side effects of Ativan:

  • Confused
  • Aggression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Depression
  • Hallucination
  • Delirium
  • Easily angered or annoyed
  • False sense of well-being
  • Loss of One’s Own Sense of Reality or Identity
  • Over-excitement
  • Paranoia2

The CNN article reported that Long’s prescriptions also included Valium and Lunesta.  Valium’s possible side effects reads as another laundry list of dangerous behavior, including confusion, problem behavior, depression, hallucination, aggression, over-excitement and paranoia.3

Sleep aid Lunesta may also cause aggression, confusion, agitation and hallucinations. 4

Living in a Psychiatric Drug Nightmare

The likelihood that Gavin Long’s world was a nightmare of paranoia, aggression and depression is high. Possibly he also experienced some of the severely incapacitating physical symptoms that commonly accompany the ingestion of these psychotropic drugs, like muscle weakness, dizziness, lack of coordination (from Valium and Ativan), and morning drowsiness, headache and dizziness (from Lunesta).

Understanding the possible mental and physical anguish caused by the psychiatric drugs Long was taking opens up an understanding of why this decorated war veteran, a recipient of the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, might resort to violent behavior.

Why are these Dangerous Drugs still Prescribed for our Veterans?

The Army Surgeon General’s office long-term policy of endorsing that troops take psychotropic drugs for PTSD has been reversed, particularly regarding two major offenders, Xanax and Valium.

An April 10, 2012 a memo signed by Herbert Coley, civilian chief of staff of the Army Medical Command said “a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which include Xanax and Valium, could intensify rather than reduce combat stress symptoms and lead to addiction.”

Mr. Coley also warned service clinicians against prescribing second generation anti-psychotic drugs like Seroquel and Risperidone for PTSD.

Dr. Grace Jackson, a Navy psychiatrist who resigned her commission simply because she  “…did not want to be a pill pusher” has her own thoughts on the reversal of policy. According to her this demonstrates “they are finally admitting to some problems associated with at least one class of psychiatric medication.”  However, her praise was guarded, since the Army did not address the situation with antidepressants and SSRIs such as Prozac in PTSD treatment. Dr. Jackson asserts that clinical studies show these drugs are “no better than placebos” and are dangerous in treating PTSD.5

Brigadier General Dr. Stephen Xenakis, chief psychiatrist at Fort Hood in the 1980s asserts that “The pharmaceutical companies’ influence is so strong, as are the pressures from Congress to keep things just the way they are. Congress is lobbied heavily by pharma. It makes it difficult to get any endorsement or enthusiasm for any non-pharmaceutical types of treatment.”6

An Unpunished Crime

The irrationality of allowing Big Pharma to continue abusing our veterans is obvious;  this moral crime is only perpetrated by psychiatrists who bend over backwards to accommodate such greed.

Gavin Long’s crime has devastated the lives of his victims’ families and increased the bitterness of those who believe that racial strife is at the root of the recent police killings.

Meanwhile, those in the business of pushing psychotropic drugs to addict and damage our veterans rub their hands in anticipation of an ever-increasing bottom line. Once again, the real criminals have gotten off scot-free.

 

1     http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/20/health/gavin-long-ptsd-baton-rouge/

2    http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6685/ativan-oral/details/list-sideeffects

3    http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-11116/valium-oral/details/list-sideeffects

4    http://www.lunesta.com/possible_side_effects.html#.V5zEr6IdyUk

5    http://veteransforcommonsense.org/2012/04/27/army-warns-doctors-against-using-certain-drugs-in-ptsd-treatment/

6    http://www.ibtimes.com/medicating-our-troops-oblivion-prescription-drugs-said-be-endangering-us-soldiers-1572217