March 15, 2018

Alert 34 : Dr. Oz asks on TV, “Is There a Link between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence?” and Sort-of Lets Me Answer.

On Wednesday March 14, 2018, one hour before my Dr. Peter Breggin Hour went on the radio airwaves, I watched myself flicker across the screen of a Dr. Oz television show titled, “Is There a Link between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence?” Oz gave me a few seconds to say that the FDA confirms that antidepressants cause “hostility and aggression,” and then cut me off mid-sentence before I could continue saying that the FDA specifically warns against “violent behavior” in the Medication Guides for antidepressants.  I went immediately from watching Oz to starting today’s Dr. Peter Breggin Hour, and so my radio show opens with me passionately, and with some frustration, expressing my limited satisfaction and enormous disappointment in the Oz show I had watched moments earlier.  

Oz did not let me talk about all the science that demonstrates a causal relationship between psychiatric drugs and violence. He had me on film making the case, but did not use it. He did not let me prove that Eric Harris, the Columbine Shooter, was taking antidepressants up to his death. Instead, Oz kept repeating, “Antidepressant treatments work,” while denying the existence of evidence proving they cause violence.

Not long after I finished my radio hour, I watched the Oz show a second time, now with my wife Ginger, and we realized that in many ways it belonged among the highlights of my reform career. Most important, Oz raised the whole issue on national television with the very title of his show, “Is There a Link between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence” and then he identified me and marvelous psychiatrist Kelly Brogan as confirming that antidepressants cause violence. The entire show was an attempt to rebut my books, especially Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Violence, Suicide and Crime,  as well as my scientific articles, and recent blogs (see Alerts 31, 32 and 33). Yet Oz allowed the thoughtful viewer to see there was probably fire under all that smoke. Most dramatically, Dr. Oz held up a lengthy list of school shootings and other recent mass murders, with highlighting that showed that most were “associated with” psychiatric drugs. That’s a visual demonstration that will stick with millions of viewers.

Then, as glorious fate would have it, my guest for my own show following immediately after Dr. Oz was Thomas Moore, one of the world’s premier experts on the scientific study of adverse drug effects, and the author of key studies on violence induced by prescription drugs.  Our dialogue is packed with real scientific information about prescription drugs and violence.  This is a don’t-miss episode of the Dr. Peter Breggin Hour

Peter R. Breggin, MD