Kids and Antidepressants: A Growing Problem
No. 3 of the Top 10 Stories of 2004: The FDA warned of a drug-suicide link this year. Are we rushing to medicate our kids or rushing to judgment about drugs that may truly help some of them?
By Neil Osterweil
Reviewed By Michael Smith
On Feb. 2, 2004, Mark Miller of Overland, Kan., spoke at a public forum in the nation's capital, uttering words that no parent should ever have to speak:
"This is important for you to know," he told an FDA advisory committee. "Matt hung himself from a bedroom closet hook, barely higher than he was tall. To commit this unthinkable act, something he had never attempted before, never threatened to any family member, never talked about, he was actually able to pull his legs up off the floor and hold himself that way until he lost consciousness and forced himself to leave us."
Matt Miller was 13 when he took his own life in the summer of 1997.
"He died after a psychiatrist we did not know gave him three sample bottles of a pill we had never heard of, for a perceived illness that his doctor could only guess at," his father testified. "We were advised with great authority that Matt was suffering from a chemical imbalance that could be helped by a new, wonderful medication called Zoloft. It was safe, effective, only two minor side effects were cautioned with us: insomnia, indigestion."