1. Saw this already, yet more spurious drug blaming. Always easier to blame a pill for complex behavior.

    Young people travel most, travelers and aid workers and military take malaria drugs most, young people have experiences that get labeled ‘psychiatric’ the most, the writer of the Op-Ed can’t prove this drug ’caused’ the thoughts he declares were caused by this drug.

    Op-Ed anecdote about a malaria drug,

    When we dig into it, we see yet more blaming of complex behaviors on drugs, this time from a third hand anecdote told to a guy writing an Op-Ed, who has a book to sell whose entire premise is that this malaria drug causes all sorts of (bad) behaviors:

    “There are countless horror stories about the drug’s effects. One example: in 1999, an Ohio man, back from a safari in Zimbabwe, went down to the basement for a gallon of milk and instead put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger. Another: in Somalia in 1993, a Canadian soldier beat a Somali prisoner to death and then attempted suicide. ”

    It’s like reading about weed in the papers in the 1950s. Reefer madness becomes psychopharmaceutical madness. Pick a drug, any drug, and there will be people lining up to blame madness on it.

    ” lawyers for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians in 2012, said he had taken the drug.”

    Classy, floating excuses for mass murder.

    You know what else is correlated with being a man in uniform holding a gun in his hand who kills people? Signing up for the military.

    “We have a generation of soldiers and travelers with this drug ticking away in their systems.”

    I see the author thinks drugs stay in the human body forever. This drug is not a vaccine.

    Sounds like his entire livelihood depends on the public buying the idea that this drug did to him what he claims it did to him…


    He’s selling his book. Maybe Mefloquine made him write the book and the NYT Op Ed? Side effects include a book deal.

    Complex human states of mind are so subjective, and there are so many categories of people, young people, old people, soldiers, travelers, people who have just returned home from a pharmacy, that ‘for the first time put something new in their bodies’, that the correlation assertions could be endless. You could find a similar article for countless drugs tomorrow and the next day and the next.

    The anti vaxxers, of course, have already been blaming malaria pills for self-selected cases of bad behavior:


    On the mass murderer case:

    “Some are raising their eyebrows over another development; last Friday, the military added allegations of steroid and alcohol use to Bales’ charge sheet, which already listed 16 homicides. Why, they wonder, did prosecutors bother to pile such relatively minor charges on top of mass murder? Is there some purpose in portraying Bales as so intoxicated – and suffering from an IED concussion, and serving multiple deployments, and behaving badly back home in Washington state, and having marital problems, and being accused of fraud in a business venture, and facing mortgage foreclosure, and coping with an injured foot – that claims of a psychosis induced by a prescription drug would be easier to discount?”

    I’d say the soldier’s long history of bad behavior is a much more compelling contextual set of things than blaming the drug.

    Here’s a slogan from the anti-Larium site:

    “My travel clinic and my doctors told me nothing of the Lariam debate … nor did they encourage me to educate myself regarding this drug.”

    Here’s a quote from anti-Larium activist and the editor of the NYT Op-Ed:

    “And these drugs had been recommended to me by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ”

    Common thread, people just trusting authorities and not informing themselves.

    **Shorthand Anonymous position form guide: drugs affect mood, can be a contributing factor, are not provable to be THE cause of complex behaviors. Suspicious telltale signs you’re being told a pat story about drugs or ‘brain diseases’ causing complex human behaviors include: blaming horrible horrendous tragedies on biology and chemicals, but not resorting to such explanations for nice, happy parts of human life. Other signs include anecdotal reports, overwhelming numbers of people having taken said drugs and not killed themselves, the absence of regicidal thoughts, insecticidal thoughts being ‘generated’ by the drugs, magical stories of molecules in drugs, (the mechanism of action from molecule to shotgun is never explained), seemingly acting as demon terminators sent forth from the world of mysterious mind altering drugs to hit mankind with only horror stories. Confounds include impossible to quantify complex human behavior in groups who have taken Mefloquine at the same time as being in a war, and grieving relatives who understandably like the idea of a simple explanation for a very serious and sad tragedy in their families.

    Mood swings? yeah. Contributing factor? yeah. 100% turning human beings into automatons? Prove it.

    Not too happy to even see this reblogged at madinamerca.com, but it made me think, on the plus side, it’s been ages since David Healy’s had an article here so that gives me a reason to be happy, so it’s been a quiet season for these tedious drug blaming anecdotes. These ‘just so’ stories, that posit human = naked ape biological machine, just add pill = suicide. People who believe this, are those who are more likely to believe a drug is controlling them, any drug. The drug taker who genuinely believes he is putting his entire destiny and free will into the hands of some drug, is clearly much more likely to not be able to remain calm while drug affected. His cultural imagination in relation to the powers of these drugs, will result in a rough ride for him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_and_setting

    Every single word I just wrote, is because my mother gave me cough medicine when I was 6 that is still in my system. I can go and find some other people on the internet to back this up and we can sue Big Pharma. And if the black box warning says something is so, that’s because it’s true and it’s the government saying it, not because the pharma run FDA wants to cover their behinds for future lawsuits, and if lawsuits succeed, it is because judges are excellent judges of the science of complex human behavior, and because a science of complex human behavior even exists as a bona fide science.

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    • Effexor XR gave me brain zaps and made me bark like a dog.

      Anonymous, I don’t bark like a dog.

      And I’m not selling anybody anything.

      I acted real strange and bizarre on Effexor XR and NO – it WASN’T “unmasking” anything. It was the drug itself that was …


      Bad drug, BAD.

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      • I also took Effexor XR in very large doses and can substantiate what you’re saying here.

        It gave me brain zaps and made it easier for me to take up behaviors that I’d never have considered doing otherwise. I didn’t try to kill anyone (at least not directly by my own hand on purpose), or rob stores, etc. I guess what I’d say is that the drug seemed to engender a very frightening “I don’t give a damn” attitude about life in general.

        I would take a notion out of the clear blue, while walking to work, to step off the sidewalk and walk into traffic, just to see if I’d be lucky or if I’d be hit. Thank goodness I was always lucky. It did cause lots of screeching of brakes and lots of cursing and manipulation of the middle finger in my direction. I didn’t give a damn that I was endangering not only my life but potentially the lives of all the drivers who had to dodge me as I slowly walked across the street. It’s really a wonder that I was never hit and I’m very glad that I wasn’t the cause of terrible accidents. I’d try to pick fights on the street with perfect strangers. I’d do something to provoke them and then dare them to do something. Good grief, I was a 61 year old, short, fat, bald man for goodness sakes! I care about this now but didn’t give it a second thought at the time I was doing all these dangerous things.

        These were not my suicide attempts by the way, just things that would pop into my head for no apparent reason. It was bizarre but knowing it was bizarre didn’t stop me from the potentially destructive behaviors. I’ve never had any of these experiences since getting off of the damned toxic drug.

        I agree. It is a very BAD TOXIC DRUG!

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