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The Stuart News
October 31, 2000
Author: Jacques Billeaud Associated Press writer
Note: Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, director in the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, confirmed through a family friend of this boy that he was on Effexor at the time of his death. The girl was on Prozac and the other boy’s death was never investigated beyond learning he was drinking alcohol at the time of his death. So, at least two out of the three teen suicides in this small Arizona town were confirmed SSRI suicides.
Parents and officials worry that the deaths could prompt others to take their lives in this city of 60,000.”We are kind of walking on egg shells in not knowing what to say and how to say it,” said Mayor Joe Donaldson.Investigators haven’t confirmed that the girl’s death last Thursday was a suicide, but she had told a counselor she had tried to kill herself with a drug overdose. The two previous deaths were ruled suicides, but police are not sure whether the teenagers knew one another.
At the schools the dead teenagers attended, Sinagua and Flagstaff, students have seen classmates crying in the hallways.
“You have time to prepare for it when they are sick,” said Tiffany Dausend, 15, who knew two of the teens. “But when they kill themselves, you can’t prepare.”
On Oct. 15, a man found his 17-year-old son dead in his bedroom of a self-inflicted rifle wound. Authorities said a suicide note was found in his room but have not released it.
Later that day, another boy lay down on a railroad tracks, put his hands in his pockets and waited for one of the more than 80 trains that run through the city daily. It was his 17th birthday. The boy had lain on the tracks two weeks earlier and had talked to a friend about suicide, police said.
Eleven days later, a few miles away, the 14-year-old girl stepped from behind a parked boxcar and stood facing a train approaching at about 55 mph.
Police reported she had told a school counselor that she had tried to kill herself the night before with an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant. She was not treated for the overdose.
The counselor called the girl’s mother, who took her daughter home and called the girl’s psychologist. But the girl ran away and was later found on the tracks.
Deborah Gagna, the mother of an 18-year-old girl who knew all three teens, said her family participated in one of the counseling sessions at high schools last week.
“I sat down with all three of my kids and tried to explain to them that things aren’t ever that bleak,” Gagna said.
Record Number: 102B88426082F2A9