Melinda Harris — (1991 FDA Hearings)

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Department Of Health And Human Services Public Health Service Food And Drug Administration

FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Hearings

Friday, September 20, 1991

DR. CASEY: Melinda Harris, please?

MS. HARRIS: Melinda Harris. Let me state one thing, that listening to the opposition has made me stronger — hopefully I won’t cry.

I’m not against all psychiatric drugs, all antidepressants, but I’m against Prozac because it killed my father.

I am an airline secretary, part-time model, sales rep, and a maid. My father took Prozac.  He started taking it around May of 1990.  September of 1990 something very, very bad and very violent happened. A lot of the people that I’ve talked to that have taken Prozac start out feeling a good perky upbeat feeling.

Then a terrible change starts to occur.  Unfortunately, with my dad we didn’t have time to notice too many changes, except that he became withdrawn and agitated. But by that time it was too late. He got up at 9 o’clock in the morning, took a 12-inch butcher knife out of the kitchen drawer and stabbed himself violently in the abdomen once and then proceeded to do it twice.

His girlfriend’s son caught him in the process and dialed 911. My dad suffered three miserable months in the University of Michigan with wounds so severe that he had tube stuck in all pertinent areas of his body. My father told the nurse he was sorry he did it.

I know my dad was sorry he did it. I know my dad did not want to die. All his medical records say that he was not suicidal and had no thoughts in that way. My dad did not like pain. If my dad ever wanted to die, I know he would have done it in a quiet, easy way.

To watch an 8-inch-long wound about 3 or 4 inches wide heal from the inside out is something most common people don’t see. They had a sheet of plastic over his wound and I could see his intestines. Did it scare me? No. When you love someone, nothing matters.

I will talk any time about Prozac negatively and I will do anything I can to help put a stop to this drug. You may think my talk is rather morbid or radical but it is not.  It is plain fact and truth and my testimony to make you people realize what a dangerous drug this is. I have talked to numerous people about this drug and no one except maybe 5 percent has anything positive to say about it.

If Prozac were ever to stay on the market, it would have to stay in the hospital, with patients under constant supervision.

Someone made a statement to me the other day about Prozac and said what if Prozac got out on the streets and drug users on the street starting take it. That thought scared me almost more than anything in my entire life.   People on the streets taking double and triple doses and becoming  violent, aggressive, and cutting people up?   Can you imagine?

I thought maybe if Prozac was monitored it would be okay. But, no, I am sorry, my neutral attitude has withered, I have heard too many stories, There is a lady, Marilyn, in Michigan, a couple of towns from me. Marilyn was too sad to come today. Her husband had no previous mental or emotional illness. He suddenly got depressed and went to the doctor and the doctor  said, “I have a miracle drug for you.” Three weeks later her  husband shot himself and suffered for five weeks. Marilyn and I were not alone, and I’m sure there are many more people like us. That is why I came today, to meet other people who know  the pain, and to put a stop to the pain Prozac creates.

I believe Prozac does alter the mind. I also know people have picked at the Scientologists, since they are against psychiatric drugs. I am not a Scientologist, but I do hate Prozac. You cannot label the Scientologists anymore, because there are many others who hate the drug, too.

No one can bring my father back at the young age of 54 but I can help others live and I can talk about it. I know my dad would have liked me coming here today and he would have said, “That’s daddy’s little girl.” No one can justify the violent suicides and murders Prozac has provoked. This is a real story, and God bless the people who believe and understand that Prozac does kill. Thank you.