Director Tony Scott had Antidepressant – Not Cancer – at Time of Suicide


The Los Angeles County coroner’s department reported yesterday that Tony Scott, the  director of films such as “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” had the antidepressant mirtazepine (Remeron) along with a sleep aid (Lunesta) in his system at the time of his death by suicide.  Reports of cancer at the time were not supported by the results of the autopsy.

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Of further interest:
Antidepressant, Sleep Aid Found in Director Tony Scott’s Body (Daily Beast)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Sad suicidal people in the western world most likely to jump off bridges are also likely to be using western biological psychiatry. Newsflash.

    Kermit are you just cherry picking the news for suicides and financially distressed child murderers from Canada who also happen to be engaged with western biopsychiatry and giving the impression that the drugs caused these horrible tragedies?

    I leave for a few weeks I come back to find an array of extreme drug blaming.

    It’s ridiculous, of course the western world’s most unhappy and under pressure people are going to likely be imbibing some of psychiatry’s snake oil.

    It doesn’t change the fact that throughout the history of large metropolis’ with large span bridges, the most unhappy and under pressure people have jumped off them.

    If simply telegraphing stories about psychiatric graft and medicare fraud would be pointless cherry picking with a smear agenda, how is this, and the Canadian child murderer news story grouping, any different?

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    • You are right that not everyone who commits suicide while on anti-depressants does so because of the drug. But it is worth pointing out instances when the two go together (which they often do without notice) as long as PhARMA, with its $60 billion/year promotions budget and its lap dog press, continues to pump out ad copy that anti-depressants prevent suicide. Do you write equally negative comments to PhARMA and the press every time they lie to the public with claims that PhARMA’s own clinical trials (manipulated as they are) show to be untrue?

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  2. I’m just thinking back now, writing a list, of all the bad things I felt, thought or did, even mean and inconsiderate things, during my years on psychiatric drugs.

    Apparently all I have to do is start my own website, slap a few Breggin and Healy quotes on there, and tell my story, and I get to blame the drugs. To some people, that is an offer they can’t refuse.

    What a great deal! Paint yourself as an automaton and just blame drugs! Everyone will believe you too.

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  3. Anonymous, I’m grateful for your involvement on this site and I’m grateful for you pointing out the supremacy of personal responsibility over what you call “drug blaming”. Yet, you were on these drugs for 6 years. You know they are dangerous. You know that they adversely affected your mental as well as physical health. Give the drugs an ounce of credit for helping people to self-destruct!

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  4. Anonymous, you’ve said (correctly) many times that nobody can know for sure whether drugs caused or added to a situation where someone commits a violent act or criminal act. I don’t think there’s a lot of disagreement there. You also say correctly that a drunk person is still responsible for their behavior when drunk. Also a given, which I don’t think anyone’s going to argue with.

    I think there are a couple key points that go beyond what you’re saying, though. This is not just about people trying to evade criminal responsibility through drug blaming (though of course, there will be folks who will jump on that bandwagon if they think it will get them off – remember the “Twinkie Defense?). It’s about establishing some honesty about the true side effect profile of these drugs so that people can truly make informed decisions BEFORE taking these drugs.

    Take your alcohol example: most people are well aware that alcohol reduces inhibitions, that people sometimes do really stupid things when drunk, and that alcohol does not do anything to heal your brain or address any physical or mental illness (except to the extent that a small amount seems to have a positive impact on circulatory health). They aren’t given a prescription and told they need to drink every day to maintain their mental stability. So the person who drinks is making an informed decision to poison his/her body with something s/he knows could cause trouble.

    The difference with the antidepressants is that people are lied to. They are told that these are helpful drugs that are needed to heal their brains from chemical deficiencies. They are told that the side effects are “generally mild and usually go away after two or three weeks.” They are told that the drugs DON’T decrease the recipient’s inhibitions and that the stories about suicide/homicide/violence resulting from antidepressant use are either made up or are “a consequence of the condition,” as you yourself show in the article you quote.

    I don’t think people here are trying to say that antidepressants can be definitively shown to make a particular person kill who otherwise would not have, or that there is any way to even make that determination. I think what folks want to say, and the reason these articles appear, is that antidepressants ARE associated with increased violence and aggression and suicidal acts, that they DO, in fact, decrease SOME people’s inhibitions, and that it is LIKELY that SOME PEOPLE commit crimes that they otherwise would not have if not on the antidepressants, just like SOME BAR FIGHTS would not have occurred if the participants were sober.

    The people who were drinking at the bar knew the dangers when they started drinking. They knew they were poisoning their brains and continued to do so of their own free will. The same cannot be said for the vast majority of people who take antidepressants. They are intentionally deceived, and often don’t find out the truth until after someone is already dead. I think it is very legitimate to show examples of where antidepressants MIGHT have been a contributing factor as a means of establishing some social agreement and awareness that these drugs are not benign “chemical balancers,” but can in fact create extreme reactions in some people that can result in tragedy.

    I have to believe that you’d agree with that general message.

    —- Steve

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