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Deadly Spiral
 
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COVER REPORT

The aftermath of “Happy Town”


James Goodwin, M.D.
Crime Doubles in Washington Town
Research found that between 1988 and 1991, attempted suicides, rapes and assaults more than doubled in Wenatchee, Washington, where a doctor “single-handedly raised the average serotonin level in the small town” with one drug.

 T
he town of Wenatchee, Washington, provides another graphic and tragic example of how the use of SSRI drugs contributes to crime.

Previously known for its choice apples, as reported in The New Republic, a change came to Wenatchee when the “pied piper of Prozac,” James Goodwin, M.D., “single-handedly raised the average serotonin level in the small town.” Goodwin, who himself took Prozac (the first SSRI on the market), began encouraging its use in 1989 and soon had between 700 and 800 patients in Wenatchee taking it, leading the media to derisively dub the village “Happy Town.”

Graph showing Crime Doubles in Washington Town
Research found that between 1988 and 1991, attempted suicides, rapes and assaults more than doubled in Wenatchee, Washington, where a doctor “single-handedly raised the average serotonin level in the small town” with one drug.

According to research by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, the SSRI may not have made the town quite as happy as media portrayed. In 1988, the year before Goodwin’s prescribing binge began, the town reported 19 attempted suicides, 9 rapes and 208 assaults. By 1991, with the drug in broad use for two years, those figures jumped to 43 attempted suicides, 20 rapes and 508 assaults. While the town experienced almost no increase in population during this period, each category of violent crime more than doubled after Wenatchee was turned so “happy.”

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