New Information About Adam Lanza’s Mental Health Treatment Reveals Multiple Drugs

March 11th, 2014 | Breaking News

New information regarding Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, has recently been made public, adding to the already growing list of questions surrounding the Newtown shooting incident and Connecticut’s subsequent rush to increase mental health services.

With the March 10th release of The New Yorker article, “The Reckoning: The Father of the Sandy Hook killer searches for answers,” by Andrew Solomon, serious questions have been raised about the State Police investigation and the statements provided by personnel of the Yale Child Study Center, where reportedly Lanza was last treated.

The Reckoning author, Andrew Solomon, reports the following:

“Kathleen Koenig, a nurse specialist in psychiatry at Yale, gave some follow-up treatment. While seeing her, Adam tried Lexapro, which Fox had prescribed. Nancy reported, “on the third morning he complained of dizziness. By that afternoon he was disoriented, his speech was disjointed, he couldn’t even figure out how to open his cereal box. He was sweating profusely…it was actually dripping off his hands. He said he couldn’t think…He was practically vegetative.” Later the same day, she wrote, “He did nothing but sit in his dark room staring at nothing.”  Adam stopped taking Lexapro and never took psychotropics again, which worried Koenig. She wrote, “While Adam likes to believe that he’s completely logical, in fact, he’s not at all, and I’ve called him on it.” She said he had a biological disorder and needed medication. “I told him he’s living in a box right now, and the box will only get smaller over time if he doesn’t get some treatment.”

Remember that, until 2007, Lanza’s primary psychiatrist was Dr. Paul Fox who, in 2012, accused of having sexual relations with his patients, surrendered his license to practice medicine in New York and Connecticut, destroyed his records and moved to New Zealand.

Now Solomon is reporting that Dr. Fox had prescribed the antidepressant, Lexapro, and reportedly was working with the Yale Child Study Center’s Kathleen Koenig on Adam’s case.  Nancy Lanza apparently was very concerned about what appeared to be an adverse reaction to the mind-altering Lexapro and wrote copious notes about Adam’s behavior while on Lexapro.  More importantly, Solomon is reporting, apparently based on information gleaned from his extensive interviews with Peter Lanza, that Adam never took psychotropics again.

This important information does not jibe with the information Yale’s Kathleen Koenig provided to investigators and made public in the State’s Police Report of the shooting incident. Most importantly, the public only now, 15-months after the fact, is being made aware of a second psychiatric drug prescribed to Lanza and a second adverse reaction.

Five days after the shooting incident, investigators interviewed Kathleen Koenig. According to the police summary of Koenig’s interview the following was revealed.

“Koenig prescribed medication: Celexa – antidepressant/anti-anxiety.”

“Koenig recommended Adam Lanza participate in follow-up visits.”

“Koenig described Nancy Lanza’s response to her recommendations as “non-compliant.”

“Specifically, immediately after prescribing a small dose of Celexa to Adam Lanza, Koenig received a phone call from Nancy Lanza which reported her son was “unable to raise his arm.” Nancy Lanza was reporting her son was attributing this symptom to the medication. Nancy Lanza stated due to her son’s symptoms, he would be discontinuing use of the medication. Koenig attempted to convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing any purported symptoms which Adam Lanza might be experiencing. However, Nancy Lanza was not receptive to Koenig’s reasoning. Nancy Lanza missed at least one scheduled appointment (unknown date) and failed to schedule subsequent appointments for Adam Lanza. Koenig did contact Dr. Paul Fox and agreed that his behavioral-based therapy would remain the primary course of treatment for Adam Lanza. She stated that Adam Lanza never returned for follow-up visits.”

According to the State Police Report, Koenig acknowledges that she had prescribed Adam Lanza the mind-altering drug, Celexa, and that Nancy Lanza had “immediately” reported what she believed to be serious adverse reactions to the drug. This is where it gets interesting.

If Lanza never returned to the Yale Child Study Center for follow-up visits and Koenig believed Nancy Lanza was “non-compliant,” when was the Lexapro prescribed?  Based on Solomon’s reporting it certainly appears that the Lexapro had been prescribed while Adam was being treated at Yale, yet the Lexapro incident apparently was not reported to investigators by Koenig.

Additionally, Koenig was advised on two occasions that Lanza had adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs prescribed to him – the Celexa and Lexapro. Why was information about the adverse reaction to Celexa provided to State investigators and not the adverse reaction to Lexapro?

On both occasions, when confronted with Nancy Lanza’s report of an adverse reaction to a drug, Koenig apparently pooh-poohed these concerns stating, “he had a biological disorder and needed medication,” and she “attempted to convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing any purported symptoms which Adam Lanza might be experiencing.” Ultimately, it seems that Koenig labeled Nancy Lanza “non-compliant,” when in reality it appears this mother was acting responsibly.

One has to wonder how informed Koenig is when it comes to psychiatric drugs.  First, there is no medical/scientific evidence to support Koenig’s claim that any psychiatric disorder is “biological.”  Secondly, the information provided by Nancy Lanza about the adverse reaction to the Celexa actually is one of the serious side effects of the drug – “stiff, rigid muscles.” Adam had complained that he could not lift his arm. And Nancy Lanza also told Koenig that Adam was “sweating profusely.” This also is an adverse side effect of Lexapro.

Unfortunately, Solomon did not provide information in his article about the date the Lexapro was prescribed.  However, because Solomon wrote that “Adam stopped taking Lexapro and never took psychotropics again, which worried Koenig,” we can assume that it was during the time that Adam was receiving treatment at the Yale Child Study Center.

Based on the fact that Adam did not “participate in follow-up visits” to the Yale Child Study Center after the Celexa incident, then the above information seems inaccurate. According to Koenig’s statement to police, Celexa was the only drug that Adam received and that was the end of the relationship with the Yale Child Study Center.

Beyond the fact that the data provided by Solomon about Koenig’s statements appears to be contradicting the State Police Report, what also becomes abundantly clear is that Koenig appears to be completely unwilling to accept, as real, Nancy Lanza’s reports about the medication.  Koenig does not recommend discontinuation, nor does she recommend that the adverse reactions be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch drug reporting system.

More bizarre, though, given that the Yale Child Study Center appears to be pivotal in Lanza’s mental health care, is that Dr. Ezra Griffith (a psychiatrist) of Yale University was chosen by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy to sit on the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which is tasked with making recommendations about mental health care in the state. Furthermore, the Yale Child Study Center testified before the Advisory Commission.  Is this not a serious conflict of interest?

Nevertheless, the point is, of course, that there is a problem with the information about Adam Lanza’s mental health care.  Specifically, when did Adam Lanza stop taking psychiatric medication? In fact, what medications had Lanza been prescribed throughout his life?  Why has no information about Lanza’s mental health for the last five years of his life been made public? Did Nancy Lanza uncharacteristically decide to stop providing mental health treatment for Adam after his negative experience at the Yale Child Study Center?

No one knows. And that is why all of Lanza’s mental health records need to be made public. Until that time, more information about Lanza’s mental health treatment and prescribed drugs will surely leak out. In the meantime, though, important mental health decisions, affecting the entire country, will be made by lawmakers.

As often is the case when it comes to these tragic school shootings, lawmakers irresponsibly act first then, maybe, consider the facts later.  What Ablechild is learning, though, is that the “facts” of this incident keep changing, making it all the more important for the public to demand absolute transparency of all information regarding Lanza’s mental health records.

It is no secret that almost immediately Lanza’s mental health treatment was questioned.  Specifically what mental health disorder(s) did he suffer from and what “treatment” and medications had been prescribed over the course of his life.

Given that most of the psychiatric drugs available at that time had not been approved for children and that they also carried serious FDA “black box” warnings for serious behavioral adverse reactions, these questions are not unimportant.

In fact, without this information no governing body can responsibly claim the need for “increased mental health services” based on the shooting incident at Newtown.  Without knowing Lanza’s mental health history, lawmakers are subjecting the public to unnecessary and costly mental health services with zero information to support the action.

 

 

 

 

 

Federal MedWatch System Rejected in Connecticut Public Safety and Security Committee

February 21st, 2014 | Breaking News

Federal MedWatch System Rejected in Public Safety and Security Committee

 Ablechild’s legislative efforts to bring awareness to consumers of Connecticut about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch System have been shot down before ever getting off the ground. It is an odd story, but one that seems to be standard operating procedure for the state’s legislative body.

On Tuesday, February 18th, Ablechild co-founder, Sheila Matthews, drove thru a snowstorm in order to personally testify before the Public Safety and Security Committee regarding two legislative measures: an Amendment, which would include training law enforcement personnel about the existence, and availability of the MedWatch System, and also a new bill requesting that February 14th of each year be recognized as MedWatch Awareness Day.

Ablechild also submitted the two requests electronically prior to the 18th and checked in with the Committee clerk prior to the public hearing.  Ablechild was assured its request was received prior to the deadline of 2/20 for Committees to raise bills.

Ablechild was advised by the Public Health Committee that the appropriate committee for such legislative requests would be the Public Safety and Security Committee.  Apparently there is some kind of legislative shuffle happening in Connecticut because the reason provided to Ablechild for rejecting the two legislative measures was because the legislation “should have been filed with the Public Health Committee.”

But that isn’t the only oddity. Ablechild was shocked to learn that, despite going to great lengths to be present for the public hearing on February 18th, its testimony was mysteriously missing from the committee’s website – not so much as a mention of Ablechild’s appearance before the committee. Upon inquiring about this “lost testimony,” Ablechild was told that, basically, accidents happen. What are the odds that Ablechild’s testimony for both legislative measures would go missing?

The bigger question, though, is what part of Ablechild’s legislative Amendment is not concerned with Public Safety?    SB 98 would provide training to law enforcement as part of the “drug detection and gang identification process…”

The reason behind SB 98 is backwash from the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Everyone is concerned about safety in schools because of the deadly incident, but few realize that Nancy Lanza reported to the Yale Child Studies Center that Adam Lanza was experiencing an adverse reaction to a drug prescribed to him.  Despite raising legitimate concerns, Yale did not provide Nancy Lanza with information about how to report the adverse event to the FDA.

The MedWatch System is set up by the FDA in order to allow consumers the opportunity to report adverse reactions to prescription drugs. Given that 70 million Americans currently are taking prescription mind-altering drugs (many of those live in Connecticut), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a staggering 27,000 unintentional overdose deaths are ascribed to prescription drugs, wouldn’t the committee take this information into consideration as a Public Safety issue?

The MedWatch System is about Public Safety.  The reporting of adverse drug events plays a huge part in ensuring that the public is safe from drugs that may be harmful and this information can only be obtained if consumers are aware of the MedWatch System.

While Ablechild is shocked by the committee’s blatantly sloppy mishandling of its testimony, the larger issue is the committee’s unwillingness to consider legislation that actually may protect public safety, especially in light of the fact that there is no funding request associated with either piece of legislation.

Seems like a no-brainer.  Training law enforcement about a federal drug reporting system that, if used, could help saves lives and at no cost to the state.  Thanks to the short-sightedness of the committee, its inability to recognize what could have been a win-win for the state and consumers, this important legislation has been relegated to the trash bin.

Not surprisingly, though, the pharmaceutical-funded National Association of Mentally Ill (NAMI) did not experience the “accidental” loss of its testimony nor was it rejected for consideration. NAMI, and other like organizations who submitted testimony to the committee, are fighting for increased access to mental health (prescription mind-altering drugs) in an already over-prescribed market, while Ablechild is committed to providing informed consent and MedWatch would have been a step in the right direction of protecting parental informed consent.

While Ablechild was willing to work with other organizations to help ensure public safety, it appears that SB98 does nothing to ensure parents rights and, therefore, Ablechild is unable to support this legislation.

 

Ablechild Submits Legislative Requests in Public Safety and Security Committee

February 16th, 2014 | Breaking News, Legislation Alerts

Ablechild Submits Legislative Requests in Public Safety and Security Committee

In response to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s announced funding in the state’s mental health budget, Ablechild has introduce two pieces of legislation with the Public Safety and Security Committee, that would provide informed consent and consumer access to the FDA’s MedWatch adverse drug event reporting system.

It is no secret that prescription mind-altering drugs are linked to a number of violent incidents across the country. It also is no secret that the use of psychiatric drugs is increasing at startling rates. For example, currently 70 million Americans (one in five) is taking a mind-altering drug.

In 2010, alone, more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written for Americans and ten percent of high school children are prescribed prescription psychiatric drugs to “treat” ADHD. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that there is a greater risk posed by prescription drugs than illicit substances.

As is well known, Ablechild sued the State to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records and toxicology report in order to learn whether Lanza had been prescribed psychiatric drugs and whether those drugs may have played a role in his violent behavior.

Although the state refused to make public Lanza’s mental health records and complete toxicology report, what is known is that Lanza had at least been prescribed the antidepressant, Celexa, in 2007. Immediately after taking the Celexa, Nancy Lanza reported to the Yale Child Studies Center that she believed Adam was having an adverse reaction to the drug.

Despite Nancy Lanza’s concerns about the drug, mental health practitioners at Yale did not make Lanza aware of the FDA’s MedWatch System in order that she could report the adverse event, nor is there any information provided in the State Police Report of the shooting that Yale made any effort to report the adverse event to the FDA.

Ablechild has submitted to the Public Safety and Security Committee an amendment to Raised S.B. 98 to include training of the MedWatch System to security personnel. The amendment would make it mandatory to provide verbal and written information to parents of children who are flagged in the drug detection and gang identification process.

Ablechild’s second legislative request to the Public Safety and Security Committee is to make February 14th of each year MedWatch Awareness Day, which would acknowledge the important role the MedWatch System plays in protecting the health and well-being of the State’s consumers.

“Both of these legislative measures,” said Ablechild co-founder, Sheila Matthews, “are an important part of informed consent.  This is about public safety, and it’s about making sure that parents know that they can directly report adverse drug events to the FDA. The system is completely private and there is no cost associated with it.”

“Less than one percent of the actual adverse drug events are reported to the FDA,” explained Matthews “because people are not aware that the system exists.” “These legislative initiatives,” said Matthews, “would be a great help to Connecticut consumers and, ultimately, help the FDA decided when action needs to be taken on a drug.”

Both legislative requests have been sent to the Public Safety and Security Committee and Ablechild looks forward to the upcoming public hearings to gain support for the measures.

 

 

Is Lanza’s Psychiatrist’s Drugging Indicative of Connecticut’s Mental Health Services?

February 6th, 2014 | Breaking News

Is Lanza’s Psychiatrist’s Drugging Indicative of Connecticut’s Mental Health Services?

In today’s Connecticut News Times there was a brief article spelling out the State’s legislative agenda, including efforts to block the right of the public to have access to information on homicides.  This legislative measure is in response to the State’s continued unwillingness to make public the mental health records of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza.

The obvious point of having public disclosure of Lanza’s mental health records is two-fold. First, it is important to know whether Lanza was prescribed any psychiatric mind-altering drugs that may have played a part in his violent behavior. The disclosure of these records also is necessary in order for lawmakers to make informed decisions about costly, mental health legislation.

Ablechild has, for more than a year, used every legal means available in order to persuade the State to release Lanza’s mental health records.  Apparently, the State is using Lanza as the backbone of enormous legislative efforts to increase mental health funding and services within the State, yet there is no evidence that Lanza used any State mental health services.  All available information reveals that Lanza’s mental health was paid for by private insurance.

Based on the State Police Report, no mental health records are available for Lanza after 2007 when he was 15-years old.  Additionally, Lanza’s apparent primary psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, surrendered his license in June of 2012, destroyed his patient records and move to New Zealand, making it impossible to obtain Lanza’s mental health records from the primary source.

Whether Lanza had been prescribed psychiatric mind-altering drugs is extremely relevant to understanding his uncharacteristic violent behavior.  Furthermore, it is important to remember that Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, during the Ablechild FOIA hearing, revealed that the reason for not divulging the identity of the antidepressants he (Lanza) was taking was because it would “cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Based on this information, it certainly seems that Lanza had been prescribed, at a minimum, antidepressants. However, Ablechild has been contacted by a mother whose young son also had been a patient of Dr. Paul Fox and, based on this child’s medication record, one could easily question whether Lanza’s mental health “treatment” included just antidepressants.

For example, this unidentified ten-year old child began receiving “treatment” from Dr. Fox in 1998 for an apparent diagnosis of Asperger’s and, from what has been made public, Lanza also was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of five or six.

Between January 1998 and March of 1999 (14 months), Dr. Fox prescribed to the unidentified ten-year old the following antidepressants: Celexa, Remeron, Effexor and Wellbutrin.  Additionally, Fox prescribed Neurontin, an Antiepileptic; Buspar, an Antianxiety; Zyprexa, an Antipsychotic; and Adderall, an Amphetamine.

recordsRecord2

As if prescribing eight mind-altering drugs to a ten-year old during a 14 month period isn’t outrageous enough, Dr. Fox prescribed these drugs as cocktails.  The safety and efficacy for all of these drugs have not been established for pediatric use, nor are there any clinical trials showing safety and efficacy for pediatric use in any of these drug cocktail combinations.  The majority of clinical trials last a few weeks or months. In other words, Dr. Fox doesn’t know how these drugs adversely affect a child’s developing brain when prescribed in combination, let alone singularly.

One daily drug regimen for the unidentified ten-year old includes the following:

8AM        1 Celexa (20mg)

4pm        1 Neurontin (300mg)

6PM        2 Buspar (15mg) each

8PM        1 Neurontin (300mg)

10PM     1 or 1/2 Remeron (15mg) if trouble sleeping.

Dr. Fox’s drug “treatment” regimen seems more in line with a chemical lobotomy, especially in light of the patient’s age.  But there also is the added concern of adverse reactions associated with the mind-altering drugs prescribed.

For example, each of the Antidepressants carry the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Black Box Warning.  This is the federal agency’s most serious warning, which includes increased suicidal thinking and suicidality.  More importantly, all of the Antidepressant drugs listed report adverse reactions such as “mood and behavior changes, anxiety, agitated, hostile, aggressive and hallucinations” to name a few.

Recall that Adam Lanza received the same diagnosis as our unidentified ten-year old. Is it possible that Dr. Fox chose a similar, or worse, drug “treatment” regimen for Adam Lanza?   Who knows? The State of Connecticut apparently doesn’t want the public to know and is doing everything legally and legislatively possible to block access to Lanza’s mental health records.

After reading the list of mind-altering drugs prescribed to our ten-year old unidentified child, the State should be asking Dr. Fox some serious questions. And rather than spending so much time and effort trying to convince the people of Connecticut that increased mental health (which equates to increased drugging) is the answer to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to investigate the outrageous psychiatric drugging of the state’s children?

If Dr. Fox’s drug “treatment” regimen is indicative of the type of mental health being provided by the State of Connecticut, increasing services does not bode well for its children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will The Governor Include MedWatch Training To Proposed Mental Health Initiatives?

January 27th, 2014 | Press Releases

Will The Governor Include MedWatch Training To Proposed Mental Health Initiatives?

Sandy Hook Shooter Proves Need For Inclusion

In an apparent response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Connecticut Governor, Dannel P. Malloy, has announced increased funding in the state’s mental health budget. Why?

If shooter, Adam Lanza, had been a product of the state mental health system there may be some evidence to back up such broad changes, and this increased spending may make sense. But, to date, there is no evidence that Lanza received any state mental health assistance.

In fact, based on what little information has been made public about Lanza’s mental health treatment, it appears that, beyond school recommendations to the family, the father’s private insurance was used and the family did not depend on state sponsored benefits.

Of course, the last publically known mental health treatment Lanza received was from the Yale Child Study Center, which, oddly enough, provided information to investigators about an adverse drug event Lanza was experiencing from the prescribed antidepressant, Celexa.

According to the State Police investigation of the shooting, Yale Child Study Center Registered Nurse, Kathleen Koenig, prescribed Celexa to Lanza and was “immediately” contacted by Nancy Lanza, who reported that her son was “unable to raise his arm.”

Did Koenig recommend discontinuation of the antidepressant?  No. In fact, Koenig told police investigators that she tried to “convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing any purported symptoms which Adam might be experiencing.”

Koenig’s response seems questionable.  First it is important to point out that Celexa has not been approved for use by children, so the prescription was written “off-label” when Adam was 15 years old.  More importantly, though, the “serious side effects” include: “call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as: very stiff (rigid) muscles.”

To the layman, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Lanza, unable to lift his arm, may have been experiencing one of the serious side effects of the antidepressant.  In fact, a quick perusal of the internet reveals many reports of similar complaints associated with Celexa.

Is it possible that Koenig was unaware of the specific side effects associated with Celexa?  Did Koenig review the possible adverse side effects of Celexa before providing her medical advice?

Koenig further reports to investigators that “Nancy Lanza was not receptive to Koenig’s reasoning,” and that Nancy Lanza “missed at least one scheduled appointment…and failed to schedule subsequent appointments for Lanza.”

Again, given Koenig’s response to Nancy Lanza regarding what very likely could be a serious adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, is it so tough to understand why Nancy Lanza decided to end her son’s relationship with the Yale Child Study Center?”

It is interesting to note, however, that investigators do not mention whether Koenig reported this adverse drug event to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch System. Nor do investigators mention whether Koenig advised Nancy Lanza that she could report the adverse event to the FDA herself.

Ablechild believes that the MedWatch System is an important, no-cost, tool that is necessary for the FDA to make safety recommendations and post warnings to consumers about drugs. In an effort to provide consumers with this important information, Ablechild is lobbying State lawmakers in an effort to have information about the MedWatch System made part of any new mental health training among educators and mental health care workers.

Given that the Yale Child Study Center receives state mental health funding, it seems appropriate that Governor Malloy might consider it important for organizations, such as the Yale Child Study Center, be made aware of the availability to consumers about the MedWatch System.

It’s only speculation, but it would appear that Nancy Lanza’s reporting of the adverse drug event her son was experiencing was a perfect time for an organization, such as Yale Child Study Center, to take advantage of the FDA’s MedWatch System.

 

 

 

 

The Hunt For Lanza’s Mental Health Records Becomes Embarrassing For the State

January 24th, 2014 | Breaking News

The Hunt For Lanza’s Mental Health Records Becomes Embarrassing For the State

According to media reports today, Peter Lanza, father of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, has had a conversation with the Chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, Scott Jackson, regarding Lanza’s willingness to provide the much needed and, frankly, necessary mental health records of his son.

Oddly enough, it appears that Lanza is the only person who truly understands how important this information is and relayed through Jackson that “he (Lanza) believes that retroactive psychoanalysis is fraught with danger.”

In other words, any psychological autopsy done without having all his son’s medical/mental health  information is nothing but speculation and certainly not worthy of building recommendations for sweeping changes within Connecticut’s mental health services programs.

The joke is that Lanza gave up these records to the police immediately following the shooting and this is reported in the State Police Report. Not only did the police have the information, so did the FBI and the state’s attorney, Stephen Sedensky.

Additionally, medical/mental health records were taken from Nancy Lanza’s home immediately after the shooting. Clearly, it is no secret that investigators have these records. Why then hasn’t the commission requested the records from the investigative bodies?

It is incomprehensible to think that Jackson is forced to go begging to the father of the shooter for these records when they were in the hands of the investigators almost immediately.

More distressing is that fact that the state’s attorney knows much more than has been released. Recall that as a result of Ablechild’s law suit to obtain Lanza’s mental health/full toxicology records, we were told by the State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, that the reason for not releasing Lanza’s medical records was because it would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Where did Kwanashie get that information?  What medications would people “stop taking” if Lanza’s records were made public?  And, in fact, is it because of the medications that Lanza had been prescribed that there appears to be an effort to suppress this information?

Furthermore, recall that the state Office of the Child Advocate was tasked with investigating the deaths at Sandy Hook and requested “any and all records, and all communications Newtown School personnel and any and all entities.”  After having issued a subpoena to obtain those records, there is no follow-up as to whether the Office of the Child Advocate ever got them.  But, it is one more avenue that the commission may take advantage of.

What is certain is that at least the last five years of Lanza’s mental health records are unaccounted for and they are absolutely necessary if the commission is to make any recommendations about the State’s mental health care system.

What also is certain is that the “hunt” for Adam Lanza’s mental health records is becoming embarrassing.  Ablechild would suggest that the commission talk to the investigative bodies, Dr. Robert King of the Yale Child Study Center, Dr. Paul Fox, the Office of the Child Advocate, and the Assistant Attorney General, Patrick Kwanashie.  The records exist. Finding out why they are being treated as a “State Secret” is another matter.

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

January 18th, 2014 | Breaking News

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

Today’s Hartford Courant reported two important pieces of information. First, Peter Lanza, apparently is willing “to turn over at least some of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s treatment records.” And, secondly, the Courant apparently interviewed Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, Chairman of the Yale Child Study Center.

While Ablechild earlier applauded Peter Lanza for his willingness to provide the all important information about his son’s mental health treatment, to learn now that only “some” of the records will be made available seems an enormous waste of time. Seriously, what good to anyone is a partial record of Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment?

In fact, the State Police Report of the shooting incident also provided only partial records of Lanza’s mental health treatment and now the Commission set up by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, to make recommendations about possible changes to the State’s mental health system, still is going to be left with partial information.

Recall that the State Police Report only provided spotty information about Lanza’s mental health treatment up to the age of 15, leaving out Lanza’s 2005 admission to the Danbury Hospital.  Five years, from age 15 to twenty, are missing. What happened to those records? Why didn’t investigators think those records would be important?

The last known treatment for Lanza was from the Yale Child Study Center, and that was not a positive outcome. Nancy Lanza reported to Yale that Adam was experiencing an adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, Celexa,  prescribed by Yale. Nancy Lanza apparently did not return to the Yale Child Study Center after that incident.

The point of the Commission contacting Peter Lanza was to get a complete picture in order to make informed decisions.  Now to learn that only “some” of the records will be provided leaves more questions than answers.  Is it possible that the Commission can make informed decisions based on partial records? No, of course not. So why the dog and pony show?

Furthermore,  one has to wonder why anyone from the Yale Child Study Center is involved in any part of this discussion.  Given that this outfit apparently provided the last known mental health treatment to Lanza, doesn’t this seem like a conflict of interest?

After all, according to the State Police Report, it was Dr. Robert A. King of the Yale Child Study Center who indicated “that serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) agents such as Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro or Paxil, are useful in reducing these symptoms, sometimes in conjunction with a low dose of an atypical neuroleptic such as Risperidone.”

This is the question. Was Adam Lanza prescribe drugs other Celexa by the Yale Child Study Center. More than that, during the course of Adam’s life, what psychiatric drugs was he prescribed?  What is known is that Adam was treated over many years, by many mental health care practitioners, for his disorders.

Adam’s primary psychiatrist was Dr. Paul Fox, who, in 2012, surrendered his license to practice in Connecticut and New York, destroyed his records and moved to New Zealand.  Clearly, Dr. Fox cannot provide the Commission with any records, which then puts greater burden on Peter Lanza.  Why?

The State Police Report lists medical records for Adam, which were taken from the Lanza home immediately after the shooting incident.  Is it possible that Nancy Lanza had in her possession no records for Adam’s mental health treatment for the last five years of his life?  Common sense says no.

Where are these records, and  why hasn’t the Commission contacted the State Police requesting all the records that were taken from the Lanza home?  One would think that Governor Malloy, if he’s serious about instituting new mental health regulations, would have some pull in this request.

With every new article written about the Commission’s efforts to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records, the story gets crazier. The Commission must be able to review all of Lanza’s mental health records or what’s the point?  It still is only a partial picture. Making recommendations based on “some” of Lanza’s mental health records isn’t serving the State.

 

 

 

Lanza’s Medical Records Too Many Unanswered Questions

January 11th, 2014 | Breaking News

Lanza’s Medical Records Too Many Unanswered Questions

The Hartford Courant reported today that the father of the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, is willing to release his son’s medical records to the Commission tasked with making possible changes to the State’s mental health services.

While Ablechild applauds Peter Lanza’s willingness to assist the State, the offer, and reporting of it by The Courant, raises important questions.  It also, unfortunately, reveals big, Grand Canyon size, holes in the official investigations.

As is well known, Ablechild spent the last year mired in State stall tactics in response to the organization’s request for Adam Lanza’s medical/mental health/toxicology records, which are key to understanding the motive for the tragic assault at Sandy Hook, and also whether any changes need to be made to the State’s mental health services.

The result of Ablechild’s exhaustive efforts was the State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, explaining that the reason for withholding Lanza’s medical records was because it would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.

Really, which “medications?”  Clearly, the State has information, and great concerns, about medications Lanza had been taking. Why else would the Assistant Attorney General make such an astonishing statement?

Ablechild publicly released this information, as did other news organizations. However, despite what can be called extensive coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting incident and its aftermath by The Courant, the news organization apparently did not find the information important enough to report it to its readers, let alone do any follow-up.

This is odd given The Courant’s inside knowledge of Lanza’s medical records.  In June of 2013, six months after the shooting incident at Sandy Hook, (about the same time Ablechild began making official requests for Lanza’s records) The Courant ran a piece title, Adam Lanza’s Medical Records Reveal Growing Anxiety.

According to the article, “The Courant obtained exclusive information from medical and school records that have for months been kept secret by agencies investigating the shootings.  The documents span Lanza’s life from birth to age 18, including a September 2005 medical summary of the Danbury Hospital emergency room visit.”

The Courant’s admission of having inside information about Lanza’s medical records is extremely important now that both the State’s Attorney General and State Police have issued their respective reports on the shooting incident.

Most important is the fact that neither of the official reports mention Lanza’s 2005 Danbury Hospital emergency room visit, leaving one to question why this particular information would be left out of official investigative reports, especially in light of the fact that The Courant already had made it public.

In fact, no medical/mental health information about Lanza is provided in either report after 2007, when Adam would have been fifteen years old. The last acknowledged mental health treatment was provided by the Yale Child Studies Center when Adam was fifteen years old, abruptly ending in February of 2007. Apparently, Nancy Lanza had reported to Kathleen Koenig that there had been an adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, Celexa, Adam had been prescribed by the Yale Center.

Neither of the investigative reports mention any mental health treatment after this Yale incident for the five years leading up to the shooting.

Having announced that the newspaper was in possession of Lanza’s medical records until the age of 18, the question, then, is what additional information does The Courant have regarding Lanza’s medical/mental health treatment?  The Courant reports to having three years of information beyond what has been made available by the official investigations.

Furthermore, according to the same article in The Courant, it “obtained exclusive information from medical and school records that have for months been kept secret by agencies investigating the shootings.”   The Courant appears to be reporting that the investigative agencies were in possession of this “secret” medical information but, apparently, failed to make it part of either investigation? Why?

Beyond what, if any, additional information The Courant may be able to provide about Lanza’s mental health treatment, one also has to wonder why the Commission is left begging the father of the shooter for information that should have been made public as part of the investigation.

Certainly, one would expect that, in order to form a legitimate, informed, opinion about what may have been the motive for the attack, both of the official investigations would have requested and then were provided all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records. One might assume this information is the “secret” records that The Courant reported.

And, in fact, both of the investigative reports reveal that medical/mental health records were obtained from the Lanza home and also from Peter Lanza directly after the incident.

Why, then, is this State sponsored Commission getting the run-around?  Either both official investigative teams asked for, and received, all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records, or they didn’t.  Has the Commission even asked this question?  Has The Courant asked the question?

Additionally, Ablechild spent three full days reviewing every single sheet of paper made available in the State Police Report. Yes, it was frustrating.  Due to the extensive duplication of documents and heavy redactions, the report provided little in the way of answers, but nothing so difficult as to require the assistance of a law firm.

More to the point, the law firm that apparently is tasked with making sense of the documents for the Commission, very likely could have a major conflict of interest.  According to the attorney for the Commission, Daniel J. Klau, his law firm, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, is working on the documents.

Klau’s law firm represents no less than 19 pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Novartis, Abbott and Johnson & Johnson.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume the Commission obtains all of Lanza’s medical/mental health records and they reveal that Lanza had been prescribed one or several drugs, including a drug produced by one of the pharmaceutical companies Klau and his law firm represent. That clearly would be a conflict of interest.  Will Klau (and his law firm) recuse himself?

In fact, because State’s Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie has made it abundantly clear that “medications” are involved in this case, it would seem logical to request that the entire Commission disclose all personal and professional ties to the pharmaceutical industry and, if appropriate, remove themselves from the Commission.

Frankly, an investigation that provides no medical/mental health information about the last five years of the shooter’s life is embarrassing.

The fact that Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, Dr. Fox, destroyed his records and fled the country is, at best, suspicious.

That the official investigative reports did not make public Lanza’s medical/mental health records is a scandal.

The fact that the State created Commission, tasked with making recommendations about the future of State mental health services, is left relying on the shooter’s father for medical/mental health data, is also a scandal.

It is time for full disclosure in every aspect of this case and Adam Lanza’s medical/mental health/full toxicology reports must be made public.

The victims, their families, and the people of Connecticut deserve all the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor’s Newtown Panel Stymied by Lanza’s Missing Mental Health Records

January 6th, 2014 | Blog

Sandy Hook Advisory Committee Stymied by Lanza’s Missing
Mental Health Records

Say it isn’t so.  The Chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Committee, Scott Jackson, doesn’t have the medical/mental health records of Adam Lanza, which are necessary for his committee to make appropriate recommendations for changes to the State’s mental health system.

This is really old news to Ablechild.  Having spent nearly a year utilizing every legislative and legal avenue available to make public the toxicology, medical and mental health records of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, Ablechild was stymied by State officials at every step.

Yes, Ablechild is empathetic to the difficulties Jackson is having obtaining this important information, which is key to making – or not making – changes to the State’s mental health system.

Interestingly, Jackson has hired a law firm to comb through the thousands of pages released by the State Police. What law firm and at what cost to Connecticut taxpayers?  It only took Ablechild three days to review the redundant and heavily redacted documents within the State Police Report.  Nevertheless, Jackson apparently has read enough of the report to start asking questions.

According to Jackson, “one of the things that we really talked about quite a bit was that we need to understand the story of Adam Lanza and Nancy Lanza and we really don’t have it.” In particular, Jackson said “in order to understand how we got to where he was from a treatment standpoint, they’re going to need a little bit more.”

“A little bit more?”  With all due respect, the Committee needs more than a “little bit” of information.  Other than providing a few psychiatric diagnoses, and the mention of one psychiatric drug prescribed to Lanza, there are no specifics provided about the shooter’s mental health treatment.

In fact, it’s fair to say that more is known about the mental health records that were destroyed by Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, than what mental health treatment Lanza received.  Worse still, the last five years of Lanza’s mental health services is nonexistent.

According to the data provided by both the State Attorney’s office and the State Police Report- literally thousands of pages – there is zero mention of any mental health services provided to Lanza after 2007. Why?

And, with what little information is provided, why are physician treatment “summaries” provided in the recently released State Police Report?  Wouldn’t the actual comments of those psychiatrists treating Lanza be of more help to the Committee than a detective’s summation?

Dr. Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist and member of the Committee, understands the importance of hearing directly from the “horse’s mouth.”  “It’s better,” said Schwartz, “than nothing to have these summaries, but these summaries are not by clinical people.”

Schwartz opines that it may be necessary to contact the shooter’s father, Peter Lanza, to obtain the necessary records.  Why?  Wouldn’t the investigative bodies already have requested and obtained these records?  If not, it seems odd that both investigations would conclude they were unable to find a motive for the attack without first having considered Lanza’s complete mental health treatment record.

Additionally, in May of 2013, Peter Lanza signed a PeterLanzaConsent PeterLanzaConsent form allowing the State Medical Examiner to make public his son’s toxicology report.  Why, then, has the full toxicology report been withheld?

Furthermore, it may serve the Advisory Committee members well to speak with Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, who explained during the Ablechild Freedom of Information hearing that the reason for withholding Lanza’s toxicology report was because it “would cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

Sounds like Kwanashie has the inside track on Lanza’s mental health records.  But if that avenue fails to produce results, given that it was his idea to set up the Advisory Committee, perhaps Governor Malloy could pull some strings with his own agencies.

The bottom line is that without reviewing Lanza’s complete mental health record, there is no way the Advisory Committee can, or should, make any decisions about instituting changes to the State’s mental health services.

 

Presidential Executive Orders in Mental Health: A History of Failures

December 26th, 2013 | Breaking News

Numerous Presidential Executive orders and millions in appropriations for Mental Health in Connecticut have produced nothing but failure and may actually be harmful. Hundreds-of-millions more tax dollars have been promised with no hope of real change.   Despite the enormous amount of money being funneled into mental health, the big return seems to be little more than semantics – merely changing words rather than policy.

The State of Connecticut was one of 13 States to receive a federal “mental health transformation” grant under President Bush. The grant was issued as an executive order to “transform” the broken mental health system and was funded through 2010.  And, what was the return on the investment?  Connecticut suffers the largest mass murder/suicide in United States history within years of this “new improved mental health delivery system.”

Patricia Rehmer, the Commissioner of Mental Health in Connecticut, touts on her resume the fact she had oversight of the $13.7 million granted to Connecticut to then revamp the mental health delivery system.  Ablechild participated in all the committee hearings on that grant and called for disclosure to the consumer on the link between the increased risk of suicide, violence and psychiatric drugs.  Ablechild encouraged the State to educate the public on the MEDWATCH program, and to provide alternatives to psychiatric drugs and forced mental health services.  Ablechild also wrote to then Governor Rell requesting an accounting of how the funds were distributed and whether the public would be advised of the results. The Governor denied Ablechild’s request.

Despite tens-of-millions poured into the State’s mental health system with little or no accountability as to how those funds were spent, in the wake of Sandy Hook, President Obama has promised another $100 million thru an executive order to “make it easier to access mental health services.”  That’s great. But what happened to the $13.7 million from President Bush’s grant?

Are you doing the math?  Are you following the insane process?

On December 20, 2012, within weeks of the Sandy Hook shooting, Senator Scott Frantz stated on WCBS to Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau that mental health providers will get a “slight boost” in the wake of the shootings and will have no funding cuts despite the fact that, “it has not been determined if there was direct connection between that and the massacre.”

Recall that Lanza’s mental health, educational records, and full toxicology report are being withheld from the public by the state of Connecticut.

The push, apparently, is to use this $100 million dollars to improve access to mental health services. However, according to the Hartford Courant’s article of June 20, 2013, Adam Lanza’s Medical Records Reveal Growing Anxiety” Lanza did have access to mental health services for many years. Lanza had been “screened” and released as not being a harm to himself or others.

Ablechild is taking the lead in calling for Lanza’s records to be made public, which will be crucial during the upcoming Connecticut legislative session.  The goal is to protect public safety and stop the mismanagement of taxpayer funds.  Is the increased mental health helping or hurting the public? Not everyone is convinced that more money spent on mental health access will have a positive effect – at least, to date, the State cannot prove that the tens-of-millions spent so far has shown any improvement.

For example, Dr. Hank Schwarts, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Institute of Living in Hartford said in regard to mental health issues, “to write a report now, with what we have, would almost be embarrassing.”http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-state-police-drag-feet-on-newtown-report-20131224,0,6056179.story

 

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