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Vicky Dunkle


Why are parents not being warned properly about drug side effects?

Why are parents being pressured from within their child’s school system?

Why do physician’s get away with off-label prescribing of dangerous drugs not FDA approved because the safety and effectiveness has not been safely tested in children?

Why are innocent children dying from mind altering drugs for a diagnoses that has never been proven?

All these questions are valid and need answers!!

I am a mother from the state of Pennsylvania working hard to make sure people are being warned properly about the inherent dangers from psychotropic drugs and the off-labeled prescribing that continues to be a trend in our society today.  Today’s educational system is also applying added pressure to make people believe their children are abnormal.

In 1999, I was told by a school psychologist that my 8 year old daughter, Shaina, couldn’t stay focused, talked out of turn, couldn’t concentrate, and had trouble staying on task.  She said that she believed Shaina had ADHD and recommended that we take her to a doctor.  We felt extremely pressured because Shaina was being made to feel different by her school.  She frequently was isolated in the hall to do her school work, and at one point her desk was dumped upside down in front of the class by her teacher because it was messy.  These experiences left my daughter humiliated and deeply hurt.  She reacted to these actions by her school by telling me she did not want to go.  She started having nightmares and started complaining of being sick to avoid going to school.  School is supposed to be the place that we, as parents, feel safe about sending our children to.  My daughter no longer felt safe.  She no longer felt secure or happy about school.  She was only a second grade student.  This type of pressure placed on us by the school led us to a psychiatrist who officially diagnosed our daughter with ADHD and placed her on one drug.  Eventually, a “medication” change was made by him from one drug to another.  This drug is known as Desipramine.  He informed us that he was placing our daughter on this drug because it was much safer than the stimulants and others used for “treatment” of ADHD.

On February 26th, 2001, at the age of 10 years old, my daughter, Shaina Louise Dunkle died. Shaina had one grand mal seizure and died within minutes in my arms,  as my husband and I watched helpless.  There was absolutely nothing we could do but watch as her life ended.   The medical examiners final report concluded that the main cause of death was DESIPRAMINE TOXICITY.  Shaina had an excessive amount of the drug desipramine in her system. She had a history of urine retention and kidney problems.   Desipramine is not to be given to children with a history of either of these.   Her body was not excreting the drug properly and was building up a toxic amount until she went into cardiac arrest.

Our daughter’s death has not only left us to deal with the guilt of believing in the so-called professional system, but anger that we were not warned properly about the drugs side effects.  We were never told that this drug  had not been approved for children under the age of 13 because its safety and effectiveness had not been thoroughly tested.

We filed a civil lawsuit in the state of Pennsylvania in the McKean County Court system on August 12th, 2002.  This lawsuit is against the psychiatrist that prescribed desipramine and the pharmacy that dispensed it.

Shaina’s story is also posted on the website in hopes that it will help others in making an educated decision when dealing with psychotropic drugs and children.  Parents are not being properly informed!  Parents are being led to believe their children are abnormal!   Parents are not being warned about very real  side effects!   Parents are being pressured by the school systems!  Parents are not told that there are other deaths of children occurring from many of these drugs prescribed to “treat” ADHD/ADD.  Parents are being led to believe they are doing good by the child.  They do not realize that they are harming them.

We need to take a stand and fight for our children. Children are sent to school for an education not to be evaluated for who’s a candidate for drugs in today’s ADHD/ADD society.

Innocent children are dying and will continue to die unless we as parents take a stand to protect them.  The so-called professionals influence you into believing that they know what is best for your child.  In  reality, it is the parent that knows his or her child best. Don’t let people influence you into turning your child into someone that they are not.   Your child has the right to be accepted for the wonderful individual that he/she is.


Children on mind altering drugs become children that their parents don’t even recognize.  As parents, let us work together to help prevent more Shaina-like tragedies from occurring.

Vicky Dunkle, State of Pennsylvania