By Dr. Peter Breggin
Jail Sentence Shortened Due to Role of Prozac in Causing Murder
Final sentencing for the teenager who inexplicably murdered his friend while on Prozac occurred November 4, 2011. The case involved a Winnipeg, Canada teenage high school student with no prior history of violence who, while chatting in his home with two friends, abruptly stabbed one of them to death with a single wound to the chest.
Judge Robert Heinrichs gave the boy a three-year sentence, less time already served, so that he has only 10 months remaining in jail. The judge additionally required community supervision for four years.
This author was the psychiatric expert witness for the defense. The judge’s opinion is a landmark legal confirmation of the scientific fact that the newer antidepressants like Prozac, including the SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, can cause violence and even murder.
I testified that the boy’s primary care physician and his parents alerted the prescribing psychiatric clinic to his deteriorating condition, which included agitation, anger and mood swings. But the clinic continued the Prozac and then doubled it. Seventeen days later, the teen knifed his friend to death.
Provincial court judge Robert Heinrichs read my report and listened to my expert testimony in court. In his written opinion, Judge Heinrichs found “Dr. Breggin’s explanation of the effect Prozac was having on C.J.P.’s behaviour both before that day and in committing an impulsive, inexplicable violent act that day corresponds with the evidence; as Dr. Breggin states in his report, there was no significant deliberation or organization by C.J.P. that afternoon.”
Earlier in the year on September 16, 2011 Judge Hendrichs issued his opinion that the 16-year-old should be tried as a youth instead of an adult. The judge found that “his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac.” Also confirming my detailed report and testimony, the judge found, “He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence. The prospects for rehabilitation are good.”
I explained in my report and testimony that the boy’s symptoms were consistent with a Prozac (fluoxetine) Induced Mood Disorder with Manic Features and that he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant. I also testified that the teen had improved dramatically when removed from the Prozac after a few months in jail and that he was no longer a danger to himself or others. My scientific articles concerning antidepressants can be found on my website at: http://www.breggin.com.
The defense attorney in the case was Greg Brodsky of Manitoba.
Originally published in The Huffington Post.