Man Who Killed Son Tours Canada With “Know Your Drugs” Campaign


From the Windsor Star: “In July 2004, David Carmichael of Toronto strangled his 11-year-old son to death.

Although Carmichael was charged with first-degree murder, the courts did not find him criminally responsible: He killed his son while in a psychotic state brought on as a side effect of his prescribed use of the anti-depressant known as Paxil.

Now Carmichael is on a cross-Canada tour to urge people to be more aware of the prescription drugs they consume.

‘You’ve got to question your doctor. I think that’s really important,’ said Carmichael, 53, before his speaking engagement at Canterbury College on the University of Windsor campus on Thursday.

‘You’ve got to question, research, and report suspected adverse drug reactions.’

‘There is a lot of work that people should do, and that’s why I’m really trying to talk to the broader population, who have never thought there may be some issues about their prescription drugs.’

For the past six years, Carmichael has been involved in the Know Your Drugs campaign, which was developed by the drug awareness website

The campaign also involves the charitable organization Canadians for Vanessa’s Law, which successfully advocated for new legislation — the Protecting Canadians From Unsafe Drugs Act — to improve reporting of serious adverse drug reactions.

‘I would say (the general public) has a poor understanding of the drugs they’re prescribed,’ Carmichael said. ‘Plus, they have a poor understanding of drug interactions.’

‘The average 65-year-old is on five prescription drugs.'”


David Carmichael’s cross-Canada tour is now heading into Western Canada. The next public discussion about prescription drug safety is on June 14 in Calgary. You can support the tour by making a charitable donation to Canadians for Vanessa’s Law, anonymously if you prefer.


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  1. I found out about this guy a few years ago. As I understand it, he had a metabolic condition that prevents the Paxil from being broken down and excreted by the body, so it just kept building up. No one tests for things like that before prescribing these drugs. This was a truly awful result of that level of negligence. I think we are lucky it doesn’t happen more often, but I am sure things like this happen more often than they are reported.

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    • l_e_cox,
      You could not have said it better:
      “…As I understand it, he had a metabolic condition that prevents the Paxil from being broken down and excreted by the body, so it just kept building up…”

      If such a condition is accepted and acknowledged – what should happen next?

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  2. I am very grateful to David Carmichael for taking on board this initiative. There seems to be a tremendous lack of awareness from Legislators. Prescribers and Consumers on this subject.

    I attempted suicide several times and experienced years of neurological disability (in Southern Ireland) on Strong Psychiatric Drugs. I also suffered dreadful withdrawal Anxiety when I attempted to withdraw. But I ultimately found a psychological means of coping, and made full recovery as a result.

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