Chicago-area event aimed at stopping the medication merry-go-round — (The Gurdon Times)

SSRI Ed note: Young woman, 20, in Paxil withdrawal kills herself by setting herself on fire.

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The Gurdon Times

By Jessica Young

Posted Jan. 11, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Western suburbs, Ill. – Gwen Olsen’s 20-year-old niece, Meg, lit herself on fire with lantern oil, committing suicide. And Olsen, who was in pharmaceutical sales for 15 years, had no doubt in her mind that antidepressants caused the suicidal tendency in the young woman’s life.

Olsen began to reassess society’s communal medicine cabinet and, awakened to dangers lurking there, decided to pen the bestseller “Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher — God’s Call to Loving Arms.”

Several local chiropractors, moved by her story and mission after meeting her at a health conference, asked Olsen to participate in “Maxed Out: A Life-Saving Evening,” as the keynote speaker. The program, set for Jan. 19 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, will focus on the adverse effects of psychotropic drugs.

“(Attendees) will benefit through learning the facts about the dangers of the typical treatment approaches and how to implement the natural, safe alternatives that exist to help many people,” said Dr. Paul Stoetzel, an event coordinator and chiropractor with Planet Chiropractic in Lemont.

Having worked at Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbott Laboratories, Olsen offers much insight into the drug industry, which has taken hold of Americans.

“America has more depressed, unhappy and unfulfilled people than any other advanced nation. And what is it that most people turn to for help? Typically, it’s prescription medication,” Stoetzel said.

It rarely even occurs to people that there may be other solutions — just as effective — for depression, anxiety, stress and health problems, he added.

According to Dr. Ashly Ochsner, contributing author of “Maximized Living Manual” and chiropractor at Health From Within in Orland Park, the goal is not to deny there are problems but to encourage people to reconsider their options before automatically filling their prescriptions, which often have perilous side effects.

“In my opinion, as a society, we’re overly medicated,” said Ochsner, who also will speak during the conference. “We’re often throwing pills at people rather than finding the root causes of the problem. We treat the symptoms rather than the source.”

There is a pharmaceutical backlash movement gaining momentum, and many physicians are pulling back on the reins, he added.

And Maximized Living, a national network of chiropractors concentrating on wellness with a ministry foundation, is in the forefront. Nearly 20 local physicians will attend, including Dr. Charles Majors, featured speaker and co-author of “Wake Up! Live The Life You Love,” of Romeoville; Dr. Matthew Milonas of Naperville; Dr. Richard Hyde and Dr. Mark Myers, both of Wheaton; Dr. Tim Weselak of Lombard; Dr. James Judge of St. Charles; and Dr. Nathan Conroy of Geneva.

“We all share the same philosophy,” Ochsner said. “Drugs have become so ingrained in our culture and we’re programmed to resort to them any time anything comes up, so the number one thing we hope to achieve is to encourage people to wake up and think harder.


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Ann Tracy, Ph.D., Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, confirmed that this young woman was in Paxil Withdrawal at the time of her suicide.

Ms. Megan Leslie Blanchard

Born: June 14, 1984

Died: December 2, 2004

Memorialized by: Cook-Walden Chapel of the Hills Funeral Home, Austin, TX


Megan Leslie Blanchard, age 20, of Cedar Park, Texas, passed away on December 2, 2004. Megan was formerly of Nineveh, Indiana and had been a resident of Cedar Park for four years.

Megan was a 2002 honor graduate of Brown County High School and studied pre-med at Indiana University. She attended the Unity Church of the Hills in Austin, Texas.

Those left behind to cherish Megan’s memory are her mother, Michelle Blanchard of Cedar Park, TX; father Daniel Scott Blanchard of Austin, TX; sisters Hayley and Peyton Blanchard of Cedar Park, TX; maternal grandmother Dolores Leslie Mobley of Nineveh, IN; maternal grandfather Arthur J. Leslie of Las Vegas, NV; paternal grandfather Jack E. Forrester of Opopka, FL; aunt Gwen Olsen and uncle Rodney Olsen of Cedar Park, TX.

A celebration of Megan’s life will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 7, 2004 at Unity Church of the Hills, 9905 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, Texas 78750.

In lieu of flowers, Megan’s family requests that memorial contributions in her honor be made to the Depression Support Group of the Unity Church of the Hills.

Arrangements under the direction of Cook-Walden Chapel of the Hills Funeral Home, 9700 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, Texas 78750. 512-335-1155