Editorial: Accutane not linked to suicide

The mother of 15-year-old Charles Bishop announced Tuesday that she plans to sue the company that produces Accutane, an acne drug, for her son’s dramatic and highly publicized suicide. However, this claim is unfounded and dubious. The family, surely upset by Bishop’s suicide, is looking to the wrong places for comfort and answers in this lawsuit.

On Jan. 5, Bishop crashed a stolen plane into Tampa’s downtown Bank of America building. Shortly after, his suicide note surfaced and so did speculation about the possibility of a drug-induced depression or suicide risk. A prescription for the acne medicine Accutane was found in Bishop’s room. The drug has been linked, but not proven, to cause suicide and depression.

However, there is no evidence that Bishop ever took Accutane. Tests conducted during his autopsy showed no traces of Accutane, alcohol or any other drug. Only a small amount of caffeine was detected. According to The Tampa Tribune, the examination performed was a liquid chromatography test that is used to detect several types of substances, including over-the-counter medicines and serious drugs.

Thus, with no physical evidence that Bishop even took Accutane and that he had none in his system when he died, the boy’s family appears to be grasping at straws. Surely, Bishop has psychological problems – his suicide note is evidence of that.

Stating that “Osama bin Laden is absolutely justified” in his Sept. 11 attacks are the words of a deeply troubled youth. He understood what he was doing and did not appear depressed in his note. Instead, he seemed angry and out to prove something.

Bishop’s death was a tragedy, but equally tragic is his family’s attempt to ignore the problems he was having in his life. However, Accutane was not the source of his suicide, according to the medical examiner’s report, and it is wrong for his family to think that filing this lawsuit will bring answers or closure.