27 Year Old Man Overdoses on Meds

Fifth paragraph from the end reads: "At the time of his death, Keith Milano was taking the antidepressants Wellbutrin and Effexor. This was shortly before federal advisers recommended putting a label on nine antidepressants, including the two Milano was taking, warning of increased suicidal thoughts and actions in adolescents. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will examine if the drugs affect adults the same way."

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lisuic043994459oct04,0,1935125.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

Shedding light on suicide fight, a step at a time

BY DAWN MACKEEN
STAFF WRITER

October 4, 2004

In an almost silent procession, the mourners walked through Old Westbury Gardens yesterday. Amid the red roses and winding green foliage, the faces of the dead stared out from buttons, T-shirts and signs.

Keith Milano smiled in one such photo. Found overdosed on his medication less than a month ago. Twenty-seven years old.

There was also Jimmy Carriddi. Killed himself on Christmas Day – his 47th birthday – last year.

The pain was so raw, even for Leonard Beaumont, who lost his son, Brian, a decade ago. Brian was 18 when he shot himself in their garage.

"It's devastating," said Beaumont of Bethpage. "Over time, you learn to deal with it, your coping mechanism kicks in, but nothing changes. The pain is still there."

An estimated 600 people gathered for Long Island's first Out of the Darkness Walk, organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a Manhattan-based nonprofit. They were united by grief and by their will to prevent others from enduring what they did. In 2001, there were 30,622 deaths classified as suicides nationwide, according to the most recent numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"It's unreal to think that everyone that you walk by has a missing piece of their heart," said Denise Milano Sprung, 30, of Oakdale, Keith's sister. "I don't feel so alone."

Alone is what she has felt ever since 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, when her brother Keith, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was found in his bedroom. Nearby, a suicide note said, "NONE of you could have done BETTER than what you've done. Especially you MOM. Just couldn't take the pain anymore."

At the time of his death, Keith Milano was taking the antidepressants Wellbutrin and Effexor. This was shortly before federal advisers recommended putting a label on nine antidepressants, including the two Milano was taking, warning of increased suicidal thoughts and actions in adolescents. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will examine if the drugs affect adults the same way.

"I don't think it's just the adolescents, I think the adults are also being affected by this," said Keith's mother, Nancy Milano. But many psychologists say not treating depression can carry an even greater risk.

Though Diane Carriddi's husband, Jimmy, struggled with depression for 17 years, she says his symptoms escalated when he changed his medication the month before he died. And she still struggles because she didn't recognize the signs.

"I believed if he couldn't get up or wasn't showering or eating, that's when I needed to worry," said Diane, 44, of Lynbrook.

"He wasn't doing any of that. Depression affects many people in different ways. There's no clear formula."