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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.