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November 9, 2002

Our Exploding Guinea Pigs Abroad

Posted by Mike on November 9, 2002 2:29 PM

United Press Internation reports on issues over the Army's report on the murder outbreak around Ft. Bragg. At the center of UPI's report is a drug called Lariam, which has been identified in a number of incidents involving soldiers, airmen, and Marines suffering hallucinations and (non-sanctioned) homicidal impulses:

"Lariam's label warns of psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, aggression, tremors, confusion, abnormal dreams and rare reports of suicide. It also says mental problems can last long after taking it. "

Despite this, soldiers continue to receive it, as do Peace Corps volunteers.

UPI offers some firsthand accounts:

"Roche's 1994 safety report cites a 26-year old American woman who experienced 'aggression, compulsion to ('stab') attack boyfriend and to use obscenities;' a man who destroyed a hotel room and window while psychotic and in the grip of a paranoid 'fear of Nazis' that led to him being imprisoned and hospitalized; and another case described as, 'psychosis -- hospitalization required, endangering himself and others.' "The 1994 Roche safety report includes a reference to a patient 'in U.S. military/Somalia' who was hospitalized suffering from 'psychosis, confusion, depression, fatigue, hostility, agitation' and paranoia. "UPI has interviewed a number of soldiers who say Lariam has given them long-term mental problems since the U.S. military began widely using the drug on over 20,000 troops deployed to Somalia in the early 1990s. U.S. Army officials told UPI they never saw evidence of any problems with the drug there.

"'There is so much darkness in your brain and so much violence. And you know what you are capable of,' said G. Mayes, a member of the Army reserves who was called up in 1993. Mayes said that while she suffered no mental problems before then, the Lariam the Army gave her brought on hallucinations, confusion, depression, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and even thoughts of homicide that she struggles with to this day.