Juan Torres didn’t believe that his son, Army Reservist Juan “John” M. Torres, had killed himself in Afghanistan just weeks before he was to return home in July 2004. He figured that John, 25, was murdered because of his opposition to the reportedly rampant heroin trade around the base.
So Torres, an Argentine immigrant who works in food service in the Chicago suburbs, launched his own investigation. Now, he is convinced that his son did indeed kill himself. But he blames Lariam, a drug taken by tourists, Peace Corps volunteers and troops to prevent malaria. An Army psychiatrists report also suggests the medication was a factor in Torres’ suicide.
Controversy swirled around Lariam in 2004 after a UPI-CNN investigation linked it to the suicides of six Special Forces soldiers, including three murder-suicides at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg in the summer of 2002.
… The Food and Drug Administration’s Web site warns of anxiety, hallucinations and other side effects, and says: “Some patients taking Lariam think about killing themselves, and there have been rare reports of suicides. We do not know if Lariam was responsible for these suicides.”
The Pentagon launched an investigation into the drug in 2004, but it is still regularly prescribed for troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other regions.
Now, Torres, 53, is asking for congressional hearings and is demanding a moratorium on Lariam pending more investigation and stricter oversight of the drugs used by troops.
via Washington Post: Family Blames Soldiers Suicide on Anti-Malaria Drug