Column: The Leading Edge
Casualties of the Drug Lords
by Phillip E. Johnson
On June 27, 2004, the Boston Globe published a story about the suicide of 16-year-old Kaitlyn Kennedy, who jumped off a stool at night with a rope around her neck in despair at her inability to resolve an off-and-on relationship with a controlling 20-year-old boyfriend. She knew that the relationship was unhealthy but couldn’t bring herself to cut the tie completely.
After observing Kaitlyn’s growing depression and self-destructive behavior, her frightened parents had sent her to a therapist, who prescribed the antidepressant drug Zoloft, beginning with a minimal dose and gradually increasing it to near the maximum level. When Kaitlyn was hospitalized briefly after deliberately cutting herself to draw blood, a nurse observed that she was increasingly agitated, irritable, and anxious, but did not link her condition to the drug. The parents learned later from medical records that their daughter had talked of her plan to hang herself.
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Phillip E. Johnson is Professor of Law (emeritus) at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Darwin on Trial, The Wedge of Truth, The Right Questions (InterVarsity Press), and other books challenging the naturalistic assumptions that dominate modern culture. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.
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