Elspeth RitchieOn Tuesday Seattle Weekly’s Nina Shapiro crafted a post about former

Elspeth RitchieOn Tuesday Seattle Weekly’s Nina Shapiro crafted a post about former top military psychiatrist and current chief clinical officer for the District of Columbia’s mental health department Elspeth Ritchie and her questions about the military’s continued use of the anti-malarial drug Lariam. These questions are especially pertinent in the wake of the recent Afghan massacre allegedly carried out by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. As Shapiro noted, Ritchie has no proof that Bales was given Lariam (known generically as mefloquine), but, as she initially told Seattle Weekly in late March, she suspects that Bales had a psychotic episode given how out of character the massacre seemed to be. And Lariam, Ritchie says, has been associated with psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, which might have led Bales to believe he was shooting enemy combatants rather than women and children.Commenter Bonnie Toews provides some background, urging the U.S. military to pursue safer alternatives when it comes to battling malaria. The problem has always been that no one understood how the neurotoxicity worked or that it even existed until recent years because the U.S. Army originally developed it to combat the mass number of military casualties due to malaria. To them the risk was worth it. To those who suffered the adverse effects, the risk was never worth it because perfectly healthy people, civilians as well as soldiers, have had their lives ruined after taking even the first dose of this drug. In the early 90s, Canada’s Airborne were disbanded because of peacekeepers’ violent behavior toward the local Somali villagers — included torture and murder — only to find that they were issued double the recommended dosage in an experiment that was never documented nor tracked until CTV exposed the agreement between Health Canada, Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces in 1997. There are safer alternatives albeit more expensive and a hassle to administrate. All our military deserve the best care, NOT what is most expedient!

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson. File photo.
Auburn police officer’s story conflicts with eyewitness account

Jeffrey Nelson faces trial in the killing of Jesse Sarey.

The former Econo Lodge in Kent is a King County Isolation and Quarantine Facility for COVID-19 patients. FILE PHOTO, Kent Reporter
Man dies at Kent COVID-19 isolation and quarantine facility

Found dead in room at former hotel during routine medical staff check

Inquest hearing for Kent man fatally shot by Seattle Police set for March

Four officers to testify in April 2017 shooting that killed Damarius Butts, 19

Seattle East DDC facility front (Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Seattle East DDC facility front (Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene urges Postmaster General to reconsider closing Eastside mail facility

Workers at the East DDC in Redmond are concerned about how the closure would impact mail service.

K9 Beny stands before the 75 pounds of pills found in a vehicle on Jan. 14. Photo courtesy of the California Highway Patrol
Federal Way woman arrested in record-setting fentanyl bust in California

Driver and passenger found transporting $3M worth of pills.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, who pushed for broadband funding in Washington schools. (Screenshot from murray.senate.gov)
American Rescue Plan Act funding approved for broadband investments in WA schools

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray pushed for the funding, which will benefit several King County school districts.

Courtesy photo
State offers free at-home COVID-19 tests

You can order the tests through the state’s new online portal.

Sen. Mona Das, D-47
Kent Democratic Sen. Mona Das proposes 1% cut in state sales tax

Starting in 2023; Republicans voice support for Senate Bill 5932

Federal Way police arrest suspect in fatal carjacking

35-year-old Tacoma man charged with murder in “random, brutal and senseless carjacking,” prosecutors say.

Most Read