Schoolgirl’s Death Linked To Stress Pills

April 8, 2018
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Campaigners and politicians in Scotland have called for action over prescriptions for ‘beta blockers’ after a schoolgirl Lucy Curran’s death was linked to the anti-anxiety drug.

Her death has been linked to controversial anti-anxiety “beta blocker” drugs.

Lucy Curran died due to a “suspected propranolol intoxication”, according to her death certificate.

The girl is the second teenager in as many years to have died from taking the drug.

One of Scotland’s leading mental health charities have called for urgent action amid concerns propranolol – known as beta blockers – is currently being prescribed too readily.

Lucy, 16, died suddenly and her death was initially unexplained.

It was further investigated by the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU) at the Crown Office.

The tragic case emerged two years after the death of Britney Mazzoncini, 16, who died just weeks after being prescribed the drug.

Britney’s death was also probed by the SFIU and her Mother Annette McKenzie has launched a petition in the Scottish Parliament.

Toni Giugliano, of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “It’s clear that medication for addressing common mental health problems like depression and anxiety is on the rise.

“We need to understand whether this is due to more people coming forward for help or a lack of alternative services on offer. If it’s the latter, then we have a problem.

“We would like to see a wholesale investigation of what is actually happening. How are these drugs being prescribed and is it sometimes because of a lack of alternatives?

“People should be told clearly about possible risk of side effects. But from what people tell us, that does not always happen.

“We’re also campaigning for teachers to have the right skills and training to deal with mental health issues within schools.”

The drug has also been linked to accidental and non-accidental deaths in the past.

Annette wants parents to be involved in the prescription process and alternatives to the medication to be fully explored.

She said: “Things need to change urgently. We’ve had two young people die after using propranolol – we don’t want a third.

“The fact that this is still being prescribed almost two years after Britney died – and despite my campaign against it – is extremely worrying.“Doctors haven’t learned any lessons from my daughter’s passing.

“I brought my petition to the Scottish Parliament at the start of 2017– when will they take action and do something?

“I believe a law is required which says no child is given a prescription for antidepressants or beta blockers on their first visit to a GP.

“It’s my belief that propranolol presents a significant risk to young people and the system regarding prescribing it needs to be changed.

“Our children as young as 14 can be given this powerful medication without our knowledge or consent.”

In January, a Mother spoke out after her teenage son spent New Year’s Eve on life support after taking a cocktail of drugs which included propranolol.

Genna Ross, of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, whose son Kyle Elliot, 18, overdosed, said: “I don’t want any other parent to see their child like that. “

Annette added: “This is a danger drug as far as I am concerned.

“We thought our daughter was safe but there was this danger we had no idea about.“I believe that if I had known Britney had these tablets, she would still be here today.

“There are medical guidelines that say different solutions – therapy or counselling – should be looked at for young patients before medication.”

Chris Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, said: “It is of real concern that those under 16 are being prescribed propranolol and other antidepressant drugs, particularly in high dosage.

“Also of concern is the amount of drugs prescribed after a first visit to a GP for those of a young age. There needs to a balance struck between the rights of those under 16 and the dosage prescribed.”

Scottish Conservative early years spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne MSP said: “Taken correctly, this drug, and others like it, are not going to kill you.

“But, in effect, what you are doing is giving a young person the facility to kill themselves by taking an overdose.

“The medical guidelines are that alternatives should be explored before young people are given these drugs.

“You’re actually interfering with their development.

“If a young person is so ill with a mental health issue that they need a prescription, then they need more than just a prescription.

“They need a network around them and as much support as possible – that isn’t happening.

“I have deep concerns about the wide and growing use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.

“These untimely deaths only serve to evidence that this is an area that the Government need to take seriously.”A Crown Office spokesman said: “The investigation into these deaths, under the direction of the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, are complete.

“After careful consideration of facts and circumstances, the procurator fiscal concluded that no further action was required in either death.”

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