Assailant Pleas, ‘The Drugs Made Me Do It’

March 23, 2008 01:12 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Defendants have claimed in a number of cases involving violent crime that antidepressants were to blame. An assault in Indiana is the latest example.

30-Second Summary

An Indiana man, Leo Wantuch III, arrested for assaulting a friend, allegedly told police he did it to draw attention to the effects of the antidepressant Paxil.

The attack is the latest in a long line of crimes involving such drugs. Another family says Paxil and a number of other medications are the reason David Ragsdale stands accused of killing his estranged wife earlier this year.

Paxil isn’t the only antidepressant or medication that has been implicated in violent episodes. A South Carolina boy was sentenced to 30 years in prison after his lawyers argued that he killed his grandparents in a psychosis induced by Zoloft.

Though some disparage the antidepressants and their manufacturers for the drug's ineffectiveness, problem side effects and a lack of available information, others worry these “Paxil defenses” will frighten people away from taking a legitimately useful medication.

Pharmaceutical companies have responded to these legal cases, in some instances, by helping prosecutors and even creating guidelines for them to use.

Millions of people take antidepressants every day. While the medications are useful to some, a writer for Slate tried Paxil to research an article and regretted the decision: “In retrospect, it was a bad idea to screw with my brain chemistry and possibly inflict lifelong damage just for the sake of experiment.”.

Headline Links: ‘Man Claims Devil Inspired Attack’

Reaction: ‘Paxil Defense’ has worrisome implications

Background: Pharmaceutical companies get involved, antidepressants criticized

Related Topic: Experimenting with Paxil


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