Rants & Essays
The Cult's War On Psychiatry
By Thomas M. Burton
L. Ron Hubbard long harbored a profound hatred for
psychiatrists. Still waging war on psychiatry, a Scientology-founded group
called the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights has targeted Prozac, the
nation's top-selling anti-depressant. The group is calling it a "killer drug"
that drives people to murder or suicide. Campaign tactics include press
releases, talk show appearances and lobbying with Congress and the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) to ban Prozac.
To the dismay of some doctors and the drug's manufacturer,
Eli Lilly and Co., the campaign has had some success. Prozac's share of the
anti-depressant market has slipped to 20 percent from a high of nearly 25
Like all anti-depressants, Prozac does have side effects,
including nervousness and sleeplessness. But Lilly says it has no evidence that
the drug can turn patients either murderous or suicidal. Neither does the FDA,
which last August rejected Scientologists' call to ban the drug. Furthermore,
Prozac has been known to dramatically relieve depression and improve the lives
of patients. "For many," says Dr. Fredwick K. Goodwin of the Alcohol, Drug
Abuse and Mental Health Administration, "Prozac has truly been a miracle, the
first medication to rescue them from the living hell we call depression."
Yet at the St. Vincent Stress Center in Indianapolis,
severely depressed patients were frightened enough by one Scientology
official's remarks on television to stop taking the medication. They
deteriorated rapidly. "I have people ending up in the hospital," says Dr. Paul
Riley, the medical director. "I'm very angry about this. Somebody's going to
end up dead from coming off Prozac."